Saturday, September 29, 2007

This kid thinks she owns the place!

Published September 27, 2007
St. George Spectrum & Daily News

The other morning, I had a dream I was in Salt Lake City, riding the Trax light rail train. I stood quietly as I watched homes and businesses whip by me out the window. Then someone kicked me in the stomach. I looked down to see who the offending person was and found myself staring into the eyes of my daughter, Evelyn.

"Evelyn," I said in confusion, "what are you doing in my dream? You weren't here a minute ago." She smiled sweetly up at me and then kicked me in the stomach again. At this point, I realized what was going on and the dream Sarah gave way to the groggy, real life Sarah. I opened one eye to see a dark blond head of curls on my pillow just before receiving a third kick to the stomach.

At that point, there was only one thing I could do. I reached out in the darkness for my cell phone, clicked to the "Memo" option and recorded the following in a drowsy voice: "Column idea. I've got this whole big, giant, king-sized bed...and she always wants to sleep right next to me."

I don't know if I'd call that a universal truth of motherhood, but it's right up there with, "She has a whole, big, giant plate of food, and she always wants to eat from mine." or "We've got this whole, big, giant house with two bathrooms, and she always wants to go in mine...while I'm in there...using it."

Maybe it's more like the Murphy's law of motherhood. It's, "Why would I want to drink my perfectly good soda for which I begged until I cried when I can have yours?" or "Why would I want to eat my own perfectly good bowl of popcorn to watch the movie when I can steal yours?"

You get a special set of boundaries when you become a mom, by which I mean, you have none. I'm not really sure we can blame our kids, though. It's not like we moms don't encourage it. We let them camp out in our bellies for nine months, completely taking over our bodies like something from "Alien," then the moment we get our bodies back, we use them to feed our babies around the clock for months on end. Can we really blame them for thinking they own the place?

If I'm completely honest with myself, I'd say that I don't really mind it. It really doesn't bother me that Evelyn finds her way into my bed in the middle of the night and decides, given all the space from which to choose, to cuddle up to me. I know that means she loves me and likes feeling secure and safe by my side. I just don't like getting kicked in the stomach.

I'm working on some strategies for getting more sleep. Last night, I made a nifty boundary marker out of blankets pillows down the middle of my bed, sprawled out on my half and left the other half open for my late night visitor. She took the bait and we both slept well. A quick glance at my bed as I write this tells me tonight will be much the same. At some point, I'll need to wean her from my bed completely.

If she gets married by the time she's 25, life will be grand.