On toddlers, sleep, and lightning storms

We’ve had a couple days of nearly continuous heavy rain. Meteorological activity culminated last night with a heavy thunderstorm that pounded our area from about 1 AM to 4 AM. It was one of those that probably scraped away all of the grass seed I put into our lawn this weekend and I am surprised to hear birds chirping in the trees this morning. I was certain they had all been peeled off of their branches and washed down the storm drains. In fact, if it had been a little windier, I would have been worried about waking up in the Land of Oz.

Our child has been sleeping through the night in his own bed for a long time. Last night, he crawled into our bed to seek refuge from the driving rain pounding on our home’s walls. I had gotten up to get a little water when I realized that his bedroom door was open. I must have made some noise, because my wife asked me where I was going.

“Just going to check on our boy. I think he may have wandered off.” I answered.

“He’s in here.” She whispered.

“Where? On the floor?”

“In our bed.” She sounded a little exasperated.

He had snuck in like a ninja. I’m so proud of him. He was also securely ensconced between our two pillows. I have no idea how I had missed him. Since he was quiet, and apparently asleep, we let him stick around for a little bit.

Then it began.

Thump. Thump. Thump,Thump,Thump. Ba-bump! Little feet began flailing around. Soon fingers began poking hither and tither. Our little one was quite clearly not sleeping, and rapidly getting bored.

“Alright kiddo, off to bed.” My wife hauled him up and tucked him into his own sleeping spot.

Ah, sweet oblivion, take me…what? He’s back. The door to our room slowly creaks open. It’s like something out of a horror movie. Little feet pound rapidly on the floor, and with one epic bound he lands squarely into the middle of the bed where he scurries up to his little hiding spot between the two of us.

The storm is still going. I guess we’ll give him another few minutes. Then I bring him to bed.

This scene plays out three more times. By the last, the storm has abated, and it is calm outside. Yet, I have come to fear the rapid pitter-patter of little feet sneaking out of their bedroom. Somehow, they portend an extended period of poking, prodding, and babbling that are magnified far beyond the expansive bounds of our king-sized bed. I’m not quite certain by what manner of metaphysical magic that our kid is able to take up so much room that neither of the two adults have any option but to dangle precariously near the edge of the bed, one breath away from teetering over the abyss.

I finally give up and move into the guest room. That gives my wife and our temporarily elephant-sized toddler the place they need to get a few winks. I may even have gotten a bit of sleep, too.

Parenthood is all about knowing when to pick your battles. I’m going out to the hardware store and buying some sandbags and barbed wire. The next time there’s a storm, there’s no way the little ninja is getting into our room.

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