This week, we decided on short notice to pack up the minivan and drive the family up to Fresno to visit my parents. It was pretty late when we checked into the hotel, so we had to figure out sleeping arrangements on the fly. Our first idea was to have our two-year-old, Caden, sleep in the same room with his baby sister, but he had other ideas. Not terribly surprising in retrospect, given the late hour and the fact that it was his first time trying to sleep in a grown up bed. Plan B was having Caden sleep in a sleeping bag on the floor with us in the other room. Unfortunately, Caden was having none of that either. Turns out he was perfectly happy with Plan C — sleeping between Jennifer and me on the bed.
At first, it was really cute having Caden patting me on the back, jabbering away in his delight at sharing the bed with us. The cute wore off after about an hour of that, especially when he started flopping around and kicking me in the back instead of patting. Jen finally had enough abuse when he landed an inadvertent shot or two to the head, so she retreated to the other room to sneak in and sleep with Katie.
Caden was cool with the new arrangement. Lots more room to roll around and do things other than sleep. At some point, though, Caden finally drifted off to sleep. More accurately, he gradually wound down to the point that I assumed he was sleeping. Instead of rolling around and talking, he laid face down with the fingers of one hand slowly tracing back and forth on the sheets. Every time I so much as breathed, he stirred and acted like he was waking back up for a new round of bed calisthenics.
It’s surprisingly difficult to fall asleep if you’re trying not to make any noise. Nevertheless, I managed to fade into some light sleep. After what I’m guessing was about an hour, I was suddenly startled awake by two very loud thumps coming from Caden’s side of the bed. Realizing immediately that Caden had fallen out of the bed, I sat up and lunged over to the other side to look for him. I called out, “Are you alright Caden?”
Now, lest you get the wrong idea, we weren’t staying at some posh resort with plush, fluffy carpet, the kind of place where they leave little tins of caviar on the down comforter with the turn-down service. Rather, this was one of Mr. Marriott’s fine establishments, and while the breakfast buffet and free wireless were delightful, the carpet in our room was paper thin. So my two-year-old just did a header from a fairly high bed onto the equivalent of concrete covered with a heavy burlap sack.
I don’t know exactly what I expected to see, but I wasn’t prepared for what I actually saw. Caden had landed on the floor with his side against the nightstand (which might have accounted for one of the thumps). But he wasn’t lying with the wind knocked out of him, gearing up for a terrific scream. Rather, he was lying in exactly the same position as I last saw him on the bed, and he was tracing the same back-and-forth motion on the carpet with his fingers that he had been tracing on the sheets. Much to my amazement, Caden was still asleep. I sat there watching him for a minute to make sure that he hadn’t actually been knocked out and wasn’t bleeding. Sure enough, he had slept through the fall. As far as I could tell, he was unscathed and unbothered by the whole affair.
At that point, I had a decision to make. Do I try to pick him up and put him back in the bed, risking waking him up and having him spend another couple hours rolling around and keeping me awake? Do I leave him there to sleep face down on the hotel room carpet with no pillow or bedding of any kind? Let’s just say I hope the cleaning crew vacuumed those floors well. Don’t worry, it’s not too late to send in your Father of the Year ballots. Judge me if you must — I actually got some sleep after that, and Caden greeted me with a sleepy smile when he popped his head up over the edge of the bed in the morning.
Alas, that was the last night Caden shared the bed with me.