I had a surprise waiting for me last night when I went to bed. A four foot, bed hogging miniature version of myself snoring loudly right where I was prepared to lie down. Normally these types of late-night shenanigans would be frowned upon, an admonishment about staying in her own room followed by a march back across the hall.
Instead, I let her sleep.
Alaina has always been surprisingly easy at bedtime. She drags her feet a bit, makes up silly excuses to stay up, and is sometimes reminded that if I can hear her singing she obviously isn’t brushing her teeth, but there really aren’t that many nights that she gets back up after storytime and lights out.
Last night was different, a full-scale meltdown occurring because I refused to let her trade out one of her stuffed animals for a Superman fighter jet that she insisted on sleeping with instead. A fighter jet with sharp wings that, like any rational parent, I was convinced that sharing a bed with would lead to her poking her eyes out. Why parents have this completely irrational fear of our kids poking their eyes out I can’t explain. In my (several) years on this planet, I don’t believe that I have ever encountered somebody that actually poked one of their eyes out as a child, but the certainty that our diligence is the only thing keeping it from happening is a common bond that all parents share.
I let her stay because when I left her room she was a blubbering mess, unable to deal with life’s unfairness and the terribly mean father that she had been burdened with. The kind of mess that had a high potential of leading to an equally unpleasant morning when this little bundle of emotion needed to get up and get ready to face a full day of schooling.
I also let her stay because I really didn’t mind, either the room intruder or the tantrum thrower. She’ll be turning six in a few months and I’ve been increasingly cognizant of the fact that my little girl really isn’t all that little anymore, that I’m closer to the end of things like tuck-ins, bedtime stories and arguments over the appropriate number of stuffed animals than I am to monitors and waking up my wife for 2 AM feedings. It was nice to see her acting like an overtired, spoiled little five year old, as weird as that may sound.
I let her stay and today have the puffy eyes, bruised spleen, and crick in my back that comes with sharing my bed with a cover stealing, leg kicking little cuddle monkey that left me approximately six inches of room on our super king sized bed. She’ll be back to sleeping in her own bed tonight, Superman will stay in his box with the rest of the superheroes, and I’m not in the mood for any crap.
This post was previously published on ThirstyDaddy.com and is republished here with permission from the author.
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Photo credit: Jeremy Barnes