Thursday, July 07, 2005

Musical Beds

One of the (gazillion) weird things about kids is their mix of utter fluidity and absolute rigidity. Examples abound. Jonah loves peanut butter toast right now; it's all he'll eat. Breakfast, lunch, dinner = peanut butter toast, cut into 4 squares. He even had it in lieu of cookies the other day.

But this is a recent development, maybe 4 months old. And next week he could change to something else. Overnight he could switch from peanut butter toast to egg salad sandwiches and we would be powerless to stop it. Plus, my kitchen would stink.

Sam, on the other hand, likes hot dogs for lunch. Except when he doesn't. So we make them for him every day, and he either shrieks and attempts to throw it or eats the whole thing in less than a minute.

(Note: there is absolutely zero philosophical discovery or larger point here. This is just an observation.)

Given this, the sleeping arrangements in our house have been remarkably stable. Stephen and Jonah sleep in a double bed in one room; Timothy and Sam sleep in another room, Sam in a crib and Timothy in the top bunk of an otherwise empty bunkbed.

This configuration came about due to several factors:
  • Timothy likes to sleep alone
  • Stephen and Jonah do not like to sleep alone
  • Sam used to cry a lot at night
  • Timothy can sleep through anything, Stephen and Jonah cannot
The previous setup was Timothy on the top bunk, Stephen on the bottom, Jonah in a double bed in another room that he shared with Sam (who slept in a crib). But Jonah and Stephen would not stay in place. Stephen would climb up and get in bed with Timothy (after he was asleep and couldn't therefore complain), or else go get in bed with Jonah. Or Jonah and Stephen would both end up in the bottom bunk, which would mean that someone was falling out of bed in the middle of the night.

It was madness, plain and simple. Okay, scratch that. It was actually okay, except that Timothy was getting miffed about invasions of his personal space, and I like to know where the kids are in case of a fire, etc.

So we sat and thought and came to the present arrangement, which has been in place for more than a year.

But recently Sam has been showing signs of wanting to sleep in the big bed with Stephen and Jonah. He's in there with them for nighttime stories and prayers, and it has been very difficult to get him out of there for the past few nights.

So we thought we'd switch things up: Sam and Stephen in the big bed, Jonah on the bottom bunk in the other room with Timothy, our rock of Gibraltar, our immovable object up in his top bunk.

Why not Sam and Jonah in the big bed? Are you insane? With sufficient cause, both of these guys could stay up until 2 AM and any one of them can destroy a room without batting an eye. They're like two barely sub-critical masses. We don't put them together.

And if we put Stephen in the bottom bunk by himself, we knew it would be about 8:05 before he was somewhere else.

So how did it go? To be brief, it was awful.

Sam, exuberant in his newfound freedom, was out of bed every 3 minutes. Several spankings later we had convinced him to stay in bed, where he turned his attention to Stephen, who then started getting out of bed every 3 minutes to come tell us that Sam was bothering him. Sam of course followed and would stand behind Stephen, smiling. Cheap grace, indeed.

In the other room, Jonah was bringing Timothy up to speed on everything in the world. Timothy, unused to conversations at night, kept calling out to us to do something about it. Jonah, who had not gotten out of bed and was not jumping on it, could not understand why he was in trouble.

After a while, we attempted to switch Jonah and Sam, which was a disaster. Jonah wanted to stay "with Timothy." Sam would not go back into his crib without much shrieking.

Eventually, after much cajoling and promises of various treats, everyone ended up in Timothy's room. Timothy on the top bunk, Sam in his crib, Jonah and Stephen in the bottom bunk. Thankfully, nobody fell out of bed.

The next night, everything was back to normal. We'll try it again later, I guess.


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