The Family Bed

posted Thursday January 30th, 2014


It begins before I’ve opened my eyes in the morning.

“Mommy. Mommy. MOMMY,” Sophie stagewhispers from a few inches away, as she pulls my blanket over herself.

(Unintelligible mumbling from me, something worse from Ray’s side of the bed.)

“Mommy, can I sleep in your bed tonight?”

As the Meanest Mom in the World, I have banned any and all questions before 8 a.m., but that doesn’t stop them from coming, and even though, invariably, she’s in my bed as she’s asking the question, it’s the number one concern on her mind — even more important than whether she can have Minute Rice with butter for breakfast or if her boobs have grown overnight.

It’s sweet. Sophie is a pack animal, she wants to be with us.

It’s annoying. She kicks, she claws, she pinwheels in the bed.

It’s frustrating. Nothing seems to work — she insists her bed is not comfortable. Even the purchase of a new bed, a fancy trundle, hasn’t changed her unwillingness to be in her room at night. I stare at the open closet door and think of “Bedtime for Frances,” one of my all-time favorites, and try to remember how the hell those badgers convinced Frances there wasn’t a monster inside, that she should sleep in her very own bed. All. Night. Long.

Sophie’s not afraid of monsters. She just wants to cuddle. Even more than that, she just wants what she wants.

The truth is that both Ray and I are easily worn down. (Me more so, I’ll admit.) She’s allowed in several nights a week and when she’s not, I’ll let her sleep on the couch and crawl in with us later.

From time to time my husband and I turn to one another and ask, “Will this be happening when she’s 30?”


This morning I was folding laundry in my bedroom and caught an unguarded glimpse of the bed — Ray and my pillows pushed to the edges, Sophie’s fuzzy Monster High pillow and her stuffed Piglet (and the back-up Piglet) right in the center of the bed.

“Hey,” I thought. “What happened? I’m the queen of the bedroom.”

It might be time to take back the night.


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