Brave father teaches tough love lesson on bed ownership

We went on a family getaway to Sedona last weekend. It was only a one-night stay, but one dilemma was the sleeping situation.

Our daughter still sleeps in her crib, but my wife and I are currently in discussions regarding a bed. In fact, my wife agreed to take a small bed our friends were looking to unload. When they came to drop it off I was like, “Okay, cool. Looks like our daughter will be sleeping in a bed now.” It turns out I was incorrect, not because our daughter is not ready for a bed, but because my wife is not ready, emotionally, for our daughter to be sleeping in a bed. I was told to put the new bed in the garage, although I could not do that because the garage is already filled to the brim with stuff my wife has agreed to take but that we are not ready for yet as a family.

Of all the things we took with us for the weekend, one thing we forgot to take was the portable crib. This would have been fine had I booked a room with one giant king bed, in which case my wife and I could have slept on opposite sides with our daughter safely in the middle. Instead, not thinking (surprise!), I booked a room with two smaller beds.

I was told decided that I would sleep in the bed with our daughter so that my wife could get a decent night’s rest, since our daughter is not exactly a peaceful sleeper. Besides, I figured this would be a great opportunity to prove to my wife that our daughter is ready for a big girl bed, and that she should get over her hang-ups and let me clear out the garage.

We were off to a great start. I had her right by my side and she was sleeping like an angel. Subconsciously I was on guard, so I kept waking up every twenty minutes to make sure she was okay. I woke up once and she had turned herself around, feet on the pillow. I woke up again and she was sideways grasping her stuffed puppy. I woke up again and she was all the way on the other side, dangling off the edge of the bed.

I wasn’t sure what to do. For one thing, I was in a sleep stupor, so my decision-making process was cloudy. I obviously didn’t want her to fall, but I also didn’t want to move her and risk waking her up, at which point she definitely would have started asking me to play and would have never gone back to sleep. I stretched out my arm and grabbed her hand to prevent her from falling. Problem solved. Then I fell back asleep.

Shortly thereafter I heard a bit of rustling. I opened my eyes. Our hands were slowly separating like the scene in Cliffhanger when Sylvester Stallone is trying to hold on to what’s-her-face. I lost my grip, and she disappeared off the bed. Boom. “Owie, owie!”

I reacted quickly. She luckily hit the ground cleanly, and I jumped into action, scooped her up and instantly brought her close to my chest. My wife, sound asleep until this very moment, awoke just in time to yell at me for having allowed this to happen.

Our daughter fell back asleep in her hero’s arms, unaware it was her hero’s fault in the first place. I mean hey, not every girl has a father like Sly Stallone, and that is something our daughter can be proud of when she is a teenager, sleeping in her crib.

Note: This column appears in the 7/5 issue of The Glendale Star and the 7/6 issue of the Peoria Times.