Prole2 had a bad dream last night and slept in my bed.
This does not happen very often any more.
I asked him about it.

Prole2: I dreamed you were good and then turned bad and then turned good and then went upstairs but then I fell downstairs and when I got up here you guys were gone and I was alone and I was scared.

There is not much you can do about dreams when you are a parent but I still felt guilty about ‘turning bad’.
The Proles know if bad dreams come they can come and find me.
That’s just about all I can offer a terrified Prole, lots of love and a cuddle.

When the Proles were little, when they were babies, we did not let them sleep in our bed.
We had a cot by the bed and when Prole1 fell asleep we would put him in it.
That is to say, IF he fell asleep before we did we put him in it or IF we could pick him up without waking him we put him in it.
These things never really go to plan but it was a nice principle that we would try to put him down in the cot.

It also helped that he was one of those babies that convince the world that ‘controlled crying’ works.
He would wake and begin to cry.
We would count to 15 slowly and silently.
By 14 he would go back to sleep again.
It was like clockwork.
Except when he did not go back to sleep which was the cue for a long stint of sleeplessness.

I was a big fan of controlled crying until Prole2 came along.

Prole2 had colic and was a very different experience.
You could count to 15 as loudly of as quietly as you liked with him, it would do you no good.
There was no way to control his colic induced crying.

Colic is a thing horses get.
Horses and babies.
If you ask for a rational definition of colic in babies you either get no information or a sort of vague meandering chat about digestion and stomachs.

When Prole1 got colic Loz cut out onions from her diet and it was cured.
You ever tried cutting onions from your diet?
They put that stuff in everything.

When Prole2 had colic he had it as a life style for the first three months.
Loz cut all the things out of her diet that she had not already cut (which as a non-onion eating vegan was everything pretty much) but still nothing.
Prole2 had a tummy like a tight drum-skin for the first 12 weeks.

Colic means no sleep for anyone ever.

He was eventually cured by a wise woman from East Cornwall who laid her hands on his stomach for half an hour.
He never had it again.
We were in a pub at the time and he was being passed around as small babies often are and he ended up on her knee.
Cured.
It may have been coincidence but that night he slept like a baby.

That is to say he took ages to get to sleep and then woke up screaming every three hours and from 6am would not go back to sleep but that was still better than what we had been going through.

Sleeping like a baby.
Whoever coined that expression was having a laugh.

The only time babies sleep well is when they can sleep in your bed, in the exact location you want to sleep and preferably at the exact moment you are attempting to do so.
The Proles would lie flat on their backs, assume the ‘inverted swastika’ position with all limbs and then commence slow rotation to ensure no one else could sleep within three feet of them.
They were impervious to all attempts at repositioning them and would fully awake, screaming, if an adult removed themselves from the bed.

Before I had children I was advised “Pick your battles”.
Living with kids is a series of battles, some you will win, some you will lose.

It’s like a long series of border skirmishes, a constant ‘testing of boundaries’.
The constant re-negotiation of the treaty is what family life is all about.

Living with kids is not a war.
If you find it is then something is going wrong and you should call in help.

Since you will not win every battle you have to be choosy and make sure the ones you pick are ones you can win.

It was a long hard process but both the Proles moved from cot to bed to bunk beds without prolonged invasion of our bed.
We tried not to rush anything, we tried to let them sleep without lights on, without distraction and with a regular bedtime routine and we were lucky enough for it to work.

Since Loz died the rules have been re-negotiated.
I now put them both down in their beds but the rule is if they get scared or really want to they can move into mine at any point in the night.
For a very long time Prole2 wold arrive at about 2.30am and snuggle silently in to a corner of the bed.
Occasionally Prole1 might make an appearance.
Rarely they would both get in, this would often result in my having to sleep in their room, neither of them seemed to pick up on the irony of this however.

As the months have gone by the visits have got less and less.
As a parent one is often told by parents of older children that you will miss it all when they get older.

I have to admit not hearing the miracle of their breathing, not seeing the beauty of their sleep was something that I was starting to miss.

Then last night Prole2 came into my bed, stole all the duvet and assumed the ‘inverted ‘swastika’ with half speed clockwise rotation.
At least he didn’t wet the bed I suppose.

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