I slept on the floor on Sunday night. Not because I have a bad back and not because I was in trouble with my wife. (That would never happen anyway.) I actually volunteered.
And I've never felt better after such a bad night's sleep.
We all got to bed later than usual that night because we were enjoying our annual block party. Peanut didn't get to bed until 9:30 pm. And I had a hunch...
I thought she might not sleep well because the kids watched Monster House on a big sheet hung between two trees while the parents sat around the firepit. My wife and I knew she would be scared. And she was. She cuddled on the lap of one of our neighbor's older daughters during the movie. We've relaxed our standards a bit, but are still careful with which movies she watches to begin with. And this isn't one we would have chosen. But, we made an exception based on the circumstances.
Peanut woke up crying at around 11:30. As my wife consoled her, I grabbed two pillows, laid out her sleeping bag, and got as comfortable as could be under her Elmo blanket on the floor for the rest of the night. After all, it was our fault she was having bad dreams. And this, to me, was a better solution than her sleeping in our bed. (Never.)
She woke up three more times, crying or whimpering. The third time she actually fell out of the bed. It was more comical than scary; and she was fine. (Incidentally, she now denies this ever happened.)
|My sleeping arrangements (recreated the next evening)|
I often get instantly annoyed at things like this. But not this time. The thought didn't even cross my mind, which is huge for me. I never once worried about how much sleep I was getting, or losing. That I had to wake up at 4:30 am for work. I didn't even have an alarm clock. (I figured my alarm would wake up my wife and she would come get me - passive aggressive.) Actually, she came to get me at around 3 am. I went back to our bed since Peanut hadn't woken up for a couple of hours.
This is my job as a dad. Especially since she was having bad dreams because of a decision I had made.
I am the keeper of my daughter's dreams, no matter how outrageous they are. It is up to me to help nurture and support her dreams. The opposite goes for nightmares. It's my job to protect her from those. Especially when I cause them. And if I can't protect her from the nightmares, it's up to me to be there for her. To comfort her. Hug her and reassure her.
We all got to bed early the next night to catch up on sleep. Sweet dreams, Peanut.