Legend has it that I might not have been the best tempered baby to ever come into the world. The allegations are that I cried a lot. Furthermore, I apparently took up a lot of the time that I should have been sleeping and eating with the aforementioned alleged crying. Testimony suggests that the only time I would actually sleep was when I was being held or when I was being driven around endlessly by my parents while snuggled in the back seat near the engine of their Volkswagon Bug.
It is also alleged that I willfully refused to sleep in my own bed and that I didn’t actually sleep through the night until my parents signed me up for swim team when I was about seven years old.
As a matter of fact, my mother claims that she thought something was terribly wrong with my younger brother when he came along: All he did was eat, sleep and poop and that couldn’t possibly be normal.
My mother also gleefully recounts one evening—actually I think it was more like the wee hours of the morning—when she and my dad lay in their bedroom listening to my screeching wails. My mother was apparently on the verge of totally losing it when my dad said, “Just think, if there’s any justice in the world, she’ll have children of her own that do this to her one day.”
Yes, it was that promise of Karmic retribution that threw my mother a lifeline and spawned one powerful hex: My loving mother fervently wished children upon me that gave back what I so innocently and unknowingly gave.
Tacky, n’est-ce pas?
I have to admit, my mother gave me fair warning about the hex waaaaay before I had kids. One of her favorite subjects in life is to talk about what an abhorrent little baby I was. Nonetheless, in spite of the full disclosure, I couldn’t help but have my own precious little tykes.
The hex was quick and strong.
Baby Belle 1 hit the scene and she earned the nickname “The Howler Monkey” before we even left the hospital. I have to admit, she didn’t have too many crying jags where I couldn’t get her to stop. No, she was actually a pretty good little sleeper...as long as you didn’t put her down.
The one thing I really couldn’t fathom was how the unconscious little buzzard somehow—through some sixth sense, I suppose—knew where she was being put down. If I put her down on our bed, she just kept on sleeping and didn’t make a peep. If I tried to put her in her crib—bing—those pretty little blue eyes popped open and all hell rained down.
I furthermore regret to disclose that Baby Belle 1 hasn’t improved all that much in the sleeping department. When we give guests a tour of the house she walks into me and Scott’s bedroom, points to the left side of the bed and says, “That’s where Daddy sleeps,” then she’ll point to the right side of the bed and say, “that’s where Mama sleeps,” and then she points to the middle of the bed and says, “and that’s where I sleep.”
Baby Belle 1 is perfectly aware that she has a bedroom, but it’s really just where she keeps her stuff. Scott has considerably more backbone than I do when it comes to the wails and tears that bedtime elicits, but all attempts thus far have met the same fate: Swift and total annihilation. She sleeps just like a dog in that she scoots right up under you and, every time you move for a little bit of space, she’s right back next to you to the point that you find yourself being “snuggled” our of the bed. Also—like a dog—she somehow gains about forty pounds of dead weight when she falls asleep and she’s nearly impossible to move.
Baby Belle 2’s arrival was a completely different story. Scott and I would lay her down in her crib and she would sleep for appreciable lengths of time. Rather than walk away and take advantage of the break, we would just stand there and stare in awe at the tiny little baby who so simply accomplished what her big sister could not. For a while there, Baby Belle 2 wasn’t all that much of a snuggle bunny. If she did sleep with me, she kicked and thrashed and slept both sideways and upside down on the bed and I usually woke up with little baby feet propped up on my head. It really seemed as though she preferred her own space in her crib.
I don’t really recall the catalyst, but things changed in the Council House. Maybe Baby Belle 2 got old enough to realize that Baby Belle 1 was sleeping in our bed and damned if she didn’t deserve equal rights! Unionize!
So began the four person occupancy of our king sized bed. We tried to put the Baby Belles in the middle, but they really don’t snuggle together very well. Then, everything went to hell in a hand basket when they both decided that they wanted to snuggle Mama. I really can’t explain the reason for my popularity other than a vague monkey see/monkey do hypothesis or the Darwinian seeking out the weakest willed in the pack theory. What I do know is that Mama finds herself in the middle of the bed in between two Baby Belles who are tired and cranky and are therefore sparring with each other.
I have become a nighttime nomad. In a desperate bid for sleep, I can seek out and slumber solidly in any nook, cranny or cave. We have four bedrooms and it’s a total crap shoot as to where I will wake up on any given morning and whether I’ll be with my husband, the Baby Belles, the dogs or any combination thereof—not unlike college for some of you more sporting individuals out there.
We were talking with some friends of ours who have two little girls the same age as ours and the same quadruple occupancy issues as well. The dad said that he doesn’t feel right in the morning if he wakes up and his arm isn’t asleep because he’s half off the bed. I suppose this snuggly hex will come to an end eventually. On the bright side, if it doesn’t, there’s no way in hell the Baby Belles can sneak in past their curfew if they have to climb over us to get in bed.