Edie doesn’t like blankets.
No matter what she is wearing or the temperature of the room, she will kick the blanket off and lay there all bare-legged and happy. She also really doesn’t love long sleeve pajamas either, so if you put her in wintery ones, she’ll act as if you put her in a hair shirt and she spends the next 15 minutes clawing at the sleeves until she gets the shirt halfway over her head and her arms are all pinned inside and stuck up over her head and she can’t move up or down and she looks like she has been working on Houdini’s straight jacket trick, only it’s not gone so well and one of us has to rescue her and take the shirt off and she snickers and smiles all happy because she is that much closer to being naked again.
We’ve learned our lesson. We now buy her short sleeve pajama tops.
But this very cool thing has been happening at night. And before I tell you the rest of the story, I have to fill you in on what will be glaringly obvious by the end of this paragraph - Yes, we all sleep together in our big family bed and yes, I know there are a bunch of "family-bed detractors" out there who are sure we could roll over our children and smother the life out of them in the folds of our loose, flabby skin or that the kids will end up freakish and weird (as if they had been home-schooled by Mennonites, no offense against the Mennonites who I respect for their stylish dress). We believe that as long as we don’t stumble into bed all bleery-eyed and hopped up on Vicodin and Jack Daniels our kids will be very happy cuddling next to us at night.
And they are. And we are.
This is how I know Edie is waking up in the night cold, because I can move my hand two inches to the left and feel her little Popsicle legs. That or she starts kicking me in the back until I roll over and attend to her. And this is when the very sweet, very lovely thing happens…
I pull her little body into me and pull the covers up around us and she melts into my side and I give her the boob because this is Edie and Edie ALWAYS wants the boob. And I warm her up with my hands under the warm covers and we sort of disintegrate back into sleep together all curled up, like two little heaters.
This has been happening a few times a night now because we have been keeping the bedroom a little cooler and even though I would prefer she sleep covered, I’m really loving our little ritual. I can say this because it only lasts for a little while and then she bucks and kicks the covers off again and rolls out of my arms and back to her barely covered up state and then, we go back to being individuals, not Siamese twins, and that works for both of us, until it all starts again.
This magical experience should in no way be confused with those nights when Edie cannot sleep without having my nipple in her mouth – not drinking by the way, just lightly sucking – and I spend the entire night on one side, with an arm over my head that has fallen asleep and leg cramps and a wet, puckered nipple that is sore from hours of constant sucking.
And then, as David astutely remembers, Edie and I have a middle of the night “dispute” where Edie cries and fusses when I try to take the nipple out of her mouth and then, I mumble something about how I'm going to start weaning her STARTING TOMORROW and David says it looks like we might come to some kind of standoff, but we all want to get back to sleep, so I give in and groan a little about the drudgery of motherhood and demand that David start learning how to breastfeed.
Eventually, I give in to my lot in life and roll over on my aching side as mothers have done since the beginning of time and prop up my numb un-feeling arm on the pillow and stick my puckered, water-logged nipple back in Edie's mouth. And Edie sighs gratefully and David slumps back in bed thankful that the whole debacle has ended and we haven't woken Lucy... And nearly all of us get to go back to sleep.
And that's why I treasure being Edie's part-time heater.