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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Tuesday, March 31, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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The Full Suburban: Cuddles cramp mom’s sleeping style

By Julia Ditto For The Spokesman-Review

All of my children have gone through a phase, usually around the age of 4, where they will come down to our room in the middle of the night, creep up to my side of the bed, loom like a disembodied specter until I jolt awake in terror, and then ask if they can climb into bed with us to snuggle.

I am overall much more patient with this process than is my husband, even though I’m the one who always ends up sandwiched between the unstoppable force (kid flopping around like a dying fish) and the immovable object (grizzly-like hibernating husband).

If anyone should be grumpy about this situation, it should be me. But part of me kind of loves it because I know my kids won’t be little for much longer, and this window of them wanting to cuddle with me is a small one – you know, “the cat’s in the cradle” and all that.

But even I have my limits; a woman can only be kneed in the back so many times before she decides enough is enough. It got to the point a couple kids ago that I just started keeping a sleeping bag stashed in our bedroom closet, and when a child came down in the middle of the night, I told them they could either sleep on our floor or just go back to their bed.

But I was NOT going to spend the rest of my night slowly being crushed by the Constantly Flopping Child and the Husband Who Refuses to Budge Because He Has No Idea There Is Even Another Person in Our Bed. Logan is fantastic in a million and one ways, but waking up to deal with children in the middle of the night is not one of them.

It’s not that he’s unwilling; he’s just usually in some level of REM sleep that is typically unattainable for most humans. It’s only after a few nudges, a kick to the leg and some urgent/angry whispering from me that he’ll even begin to stir. Then comes the heavy sigh, the slowly sitting up in bed and the rubbing of his face for a good minute or so before he stumbles toward whatever I have told him is the problem.

Granted, he can be pretty quick when there’s vomit involved, and to his eternal credit, he once held our sick toddler on his chest the entire night so that when she threw up every hour, on the hour, he could at least lean her over a bowl instead of the mess going all over her bedroom carpet.

This past weekend, Logan was out of town, so when our 4-year-old came to our room in the wee hours of the morning for his snuggle, I gladly scooted over a few inches, knowing that I would have a little more space to escape his kicks and flops. It wasn’t until 8 o’clock that I woke to the sound of his sweet, raspy voice whispering my name.

“Mom? Mommy!”

“What, honey?” I said, opening my eyes to see his adorable little face staring at me.

“I peed in your bed.”

This might be my least favorite way to be woken up.

I sighed, knowing that a huge load of laundry was in my future. But as I started to throw back the covers so I could strip the sheets, an idea came to me.

Channeling my inner husband, I slid over to the other side of the bed, into the spot usually reserved for the grizzly bear, and enjoyed another few minutes of blissful sleep. It was like being in another world, far from where the children roam and apparently go to the bathroom.

“They would never think to look for me here,” I thought as I drifted back to sleep. Although I haven’t staged an official takeover of that side of the bed yet, it is definitely in the works. I think it’s about time we had ourselves a grizzly sandwich.

Julia Ditto shares her life with her husband, six children and random menagerie of farm animals. Her view of family life is firmly rooted in Spokane Valley. You can reach her at

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