Thursday, March 15, 2007

The More Things Change . . .

. . . the more proof there is that you have children.

For the past few weeks, Jonah has been sleeping in the top bunk, by himself. He started out slowly, trying it once and then moving back down when Sam pitched a fit.

For a while Jonah would lay down (lie down?) in the bottom bunk until Sam went to sleep, and then move up to the top bunk. Because Jonah would also fall asleep, this led to interesting events at 3 AM. One morning, when I went in to get the big boys up for school, Jonah woke up and began crying because he hadn't woken up and climbed up top before the morning.

Then Lottie came over, and she and Jonah took turns sleeping solo in the top bunk. Then Jonah alternated, one night on the bottom bunk with Sam, the other night on the top bunk alone. It helped that on the night Jonah slept up top (which Sam hates), Sam got to pray first (which he loves).

But now Jonah just sleeps up there every night. Sam has gotten somewhat used to it, in that he no longer cries at bedtime, pleading with Jonah, or Stephen, or Timothy to come sleep with him. That was a rough week, because both Timothy and Stephen are such tender-hearted guys that we had to hold them back from Sam's siren song. Plus, one of them bunking with Sam would leave the other one alone in their own bed (we draw the line at 2 per twin mattress), and neither of the big boys is too keen on solo sleeping.

And so, for the past couple of weeks, it's been Timothy and Stephen in their own double bed, Jonah on the top bunk alone, and Sam on the bottom bunk alone.

(Jonah still leans over the edge and talks to Sam, and they manage to keep each other awake just as effectively as when they shared the bottom bunk. Kids.)

One side effect has been that Sam, when he wakes in the night, now wakes up by himself. And so, as 3-year-olds are wont to do, he cries. (Please note: this was my original purpose for doubling up the kids in beds, to prevent nighttime crying. It was not a cost-saving measure, as has been posited by some folks. Ahem.)

And when Sam cries, I do what I always did with Timothy. I go climb in bed with him until a) he stops crying (i.e., falls asleep) and I can go back to my own bed or b) I fall asleep and wake up the next morning in the bottom of a twin bunk, which is not a comfy at 35 as it was at 29, and is in no way as cool as it was when I was 8.

But the other night, it was Jonah who woke up after having a bad dream. And because he was alone (a real-life example of sleeping in the bed you have made for yourself) he was scared. So he came into our room and climbed in bed with us. I know this because I woke up with his elbow in my ribs and with his feet kicking places that heretofore had remained unkicked since my last bout of bunking with Stephen (he's a kicker, that one).

After a discussion with my wife the next day (after my voice had reduced to a somewhat more commanding tone), it was decided that Jonah would no longer be allowed to come hop in bed with us after bad dreams. We could go comfort him and pray with him, but he would stay in his bed and we would stay in ours.

This new system was put to the test the very next night (what had he been watching?), when I got up at about 4 to go calm him down and pray with him. After the crying stopped, and after the praying, he said, "I should have taken 3 drinks of water."

It being 4 AM, I let that pass.

The next day I asked Jonah what he meant by 3 drinks of water, and he said that Stephen had told him that if he took 3 drinks of water he would not have bad dreams. Stephen says stuff like this pretty frequently, and we're trying to decide whether he's playing tricks on other people, or whether he thinks these things are true and is just trying to pass along helpful information.

Regardless, the next night as I was putting Jonah to bed he jumped down after prayers and said, "I need to take my 3 drinks of water so that I don't have nightmares." I said, "But we've prayed about your nightmares," to which he replied, "I know, but Stephen said to drink 3 drinks of water so that you won't have nightmares."

He drank, and there were no nightmares.

Syncretism ahoy!


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