You know how newborn puppies nuzzle their mothers when it's time to fall asleep? Well, our rescue puppy, who we think was separated from her litter soon after birth, clearly thinks of me as her mother because I cannot lie down without her immediately curling up next to me. She will then proceed to lick the air, or the sheets, or your fingers if you hold them out for her, and she will continue licking until it soothes her. Then she falls asleep. It was very cute the first 200 or so times she did it. Now, however, not so much. And really, it's not because the sheets have all been slobbered on or even because I have the vague feeling Franny is stalking me, waiting for me to lie down. It mostly bothers me because my daughters have started imitating the dog, piling on top of me whenever I get in bed. It's like a large puppy litter on a queen size mattress, pushing and shoving, vying for the space closest to the bitch. Problem is, I get to be the bitch and only one of the three crowding me is really a dog. And the dog is a lot lighter than my kids are and takes up less space. And unlike the dog, who licks to unwind, my children unwind by telling me about their day. However, by bedtime, I've already heard about their day several times over - once when I picked them up in the car from school and asked, "How was your day?" Again, when my husband got home and asked them, "How was your day?" And then at dinner when they turn to us, looking hurt and say, "Doesn't anyone want to know about my day?" At which point we have to remind them about the two times we have already heard about the girl at school whose sister's cousin's best friend's brother went to school with Victoria Justice or about the boys in Algebra who told them to visit the website, "Pen Island.com." (BTW, I was happy to hear that my very verbal daughter figured out that word play without us having to point it out, and even more pleased that she was smart enough not to visit the website on her own!)
Despite my best efforts to break up the litter and get everyone to fall asleep in their own beds, it never works for more than a night or two. With great determination, I will push them off of me and walk each of them down the hall to their bedrooms (including the doggie bed in the kitchen), kiss them good night and tell them to stay put. I left the dog in the kitchen with a biscuit by her bed. I took Natalie to her room and tucked her in, told her to stay put. Natalie hates it when I tell her to stay, and usually says, "Woof" in response. I took Nicole into her room, promising to check back on Natalie before I went to bed. Nicole climbed under the sheets and warned me that if she is uncomfortable, or if she's not feeling well, or hears something outside her window, or her bathroom isn't working, or the temperature in the house is too hot, she will come into our bed later. (I'm hoping this will stop by the time they're old enough to drive.) I reminded Nicole about the twentysomething guy we talked to who was working at the Home Depot who told us that he only recently stopped sleeping in his parents' bed. Nicole offered that up as proof that her and Natalie's "occasional" nighttime forays into our room were normal. I pointed out to her that the guy from Home Depot climbing into his parents' bed when he's old enough to vote is abnormal. That disturbing visual convinced her and she fell asleep in her own bed. I went back in to check on Natalie, and she'd dozed off with a book in hand. I headed back to my room, thrilled that I was going to get a night without the puppy pile-on. I pulled back the sheets, only to find my dog, Franny, burrowed under the covers. Oh well, two out of three isn't bad.