Words to make your heart melt. However it can often feel like a real chore to lie down with your child at night. When you put your little one to bed – you want them to stay there. It is not hard to lie down with them. They love the security of it. But you don’t want to set a habit that is very hard to break. And a routine that is disruptive to your night.
However if you do lie down with your child then you are no doubt faced with the same mission each night.
‘Successful self-extraction from bed without waking child.’
You lie next to your baby and you watch them fall asleep. You try not to doze off yourself. You hold their hand under the pillow. And you look into their eyes. You tell yourself that you are so lucky. That they are so cute. That you love them so much. You forget that 10 minutes earlier you wanted to strangle them.
One minute passes. Two. Three. Five minutes and you watch their eyes start to droop.
You intentionally adjust your position – just slightly. To gauge their level of sleep. Heavy eyes open to check you are still there but quickly close again.
They are fighting the inevitable. Sleep is coming.
8 minutes. 9. 10…11…..1……………………………
25 minutes later you wake up.
Damn. I didn’t want to sleep – too much to do.
With your head on the pillow and your eyes on the sleeping child you decide it is time to make the move. You slowly and deliberately begin to ease one leg off the bed. Your toes walk themselves off the edge off the mattress. Your foot now hangs off the bed as you slide your lower leg then knee off with it.
Eyes never leaving the sleeping one. The top half of your body is rigid. You want to do nothing to disturb this child. There should be no chance of an awakening or it would be back to square one.
You now have one leg off the bed propped on the floor by your big toe. Time for the other leg.
You freeze. There is movement. Did I move too quickly? Have I woken them? To your relief it is just a minor head movement but no – oh no – they have thrown their arm over your head. Disaster. You will have to deal with that later.
You manage to get the second leg out of the bed. Your top half remains motionless while your bottom half hangs out at an awkward angle. The throbbing from your toes is masked by the pain in your hips.
Like a snake you begin to gently wriggle your upper body off the bed. Head remaining in the same position. Eyeballs still fixed on the sleeping child. If they open their eyes they will see you – that illusion must remain until the very last second.
As your semi-limp body lies outside of the bed in a stress position Guantanamo Bay would be proud of you delicately lift their little arm off your head. You try to release your now numb hand from your child’s and drag it out from under the pillow. It tingles and throbs as it moves. You are one big ball of pain.
But you will do whatever it takes not to wake this child.
You are free. From the bed. You realign your deformed body and slowly stand. Every nerve ending screaming out in relief from the cramped and contorted position it was recently in.
It is dark in the room. There is a minefield of lego, toys and squeaky floorboards between you and freedom.
Your face turns violet as you stand on the sharpest piece of lego that the stupid company makes. You grit your teeth, take a deep breath and continue.
The door handle is near. You reach for it and you open.
The bright light from the hallway fills the room and you curse yourself for not thinking that through. You quickly push the door closed and turn back to check that your child is still sleeping. They are out for the count.
You open the door ever so slightly and squeeze yourself out through the narrowest of openings. Finally out of the room you feel great. A successful mission. Usually it is not quite so easy.
You continue on with the evening happy that the house is now quiet.
Your phone rings in the distance and you walk to the room to get it.
But it hits you like a tonne of bricks.
It is a school boy error. You curse yourself.
You open your child’s door. They are awake again. Your phone flashing, vibrating and ringing on their bedside table.
“lie down with me daddy”.