I don’t sleep all that well. Maybe it’s the sound of the pager and ventilator alarms that still haunt my dreams. Or maybe it’s the coffee. When I do fall soundly asleep I treasure it, as I did earlier this week. Until, during a dream about a beach, I awoke suddenly to a loud “thunk” and screaming. My wife and I sat straight up, and I bolted to my daughter’s room. She had fallen out of bed and was lying on the floor terrified. I picked her up and she clung to me as I palpated her head and her limbs. As I tucked her in between us and she sobbed more quietly, I said, “You scared me, honey!”
“I scared myself, Daddy!” she sputtered.
The next night on the way to dinner my wife suggested to her that she should sleep more toward the middle of her queen-sized bed.
“I don’t like it there! I can’t sleep in the middle! I’m going to fall out of bed again!”
“But honey, if you sleep in the middle, you won’t fall out.”
“I can’t sleep in the middle!”
I held her and and said, “Mommy, everyone knows the monsters like the middle of the bed.”
My daughter quickly turned to me, surprise and relief on her face. “How did you know, Daddy?”
“Daddy’s are supposed to know these things. Don’t worry, Mommy and I will fix it so the bed is just right. You can sleep on any side you want and we’ll put some pillows on the floor, just in case.”
Her breathing settled down, and she went back to singing along with the CD playing in the car.
That night, as we completed our bedtime ritual, she scooted over to the side of the bed. She fell soundly asleep, and I moved her to the middle, tucked her in, and put soft pillows around her to try to guide her away from the side.
In the morning, she padded down the stairs while I was sipping my coffee, both of us looking well-rested and unbruised.