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MOMMY TAILS: Sleeping through Sickness, Storms, and a Poodle’s Shakes and Shudders

In Uncategorized on May 11, 2010 at 3:47 pm

When my husband and I got engaged eons ago, we purchased a queen-sized bed, thinking it would easily accommodate us and Bridget–then our only dog. Being a Chihuahua, she didn’t (and still doesn’t) take up much space, though she does insist upon scooting her way onto one of our pillows and sleeping an inch away from either of our heads. As the years passed, however, things changed.

Over time, three children and two other dogs were added to the mix. Granted, Boomer the Beagle mix typically hunkers down for the night on an old comforter on the bedroom floor. As far as everyone else is concerned, though, Mommy’s and Daddy’s bed is common territory. Our Poodle, Isetta, usually sprawls wherever she can find a little room. And, when Maria, C. J., and Thomas are scared or feeling unwell, they invariably sneak in or are carried in by their exhausted parents.

That having been said, the sleeping situation in the Marsico household recently became even more harried than usual. For starters, all three non-furry children were sick with high fevers and coughs. In addition, as those of you in the Chicagoland area are probably well-aware, we experienced a series of post-midnight thunderstorms (circumstances that transform Isetta into a shivering,  whining, inconsolable mess).

At one point this past week, I awoke several times to find myself boxed in by three feverish little people and a Poodle who was making the entire headboard vibrate. Thunderclaps are one thing, but crying, coughing, panting, groaning, and the sound of multiple bedmates snoring are quite another.

To his credit, my husband could snooze his way through a herd of wildebeests stampeding through our bedroom. So, he naturally had no trouble catching his z’s despite the chaos that was erupting around us. I, on the other hand, am a mother and am attuned to the slightest whimpers and whispers.

As a result, I could not relax myself into a slumber amidst Bridget growling at her shuddering canine sister and the racket inspired by my sons and daughter. I tried everything–and I mean everything. I stroked Isetta as the thunder rumbled. I broke out the Infant and Children’s Tylenol. I changed diapers and fetched water in sippy cups. I repeatedly relocated Bridget and Isetta to various parts of the bed where they would not invade the other’s personal space. Suffice it to say, the storm raged on, as did my insomnia. To make matters even worse, I was continually getting nudged and shoved closer and closer to the edge of the bed.

Finally, I decided enough was enough. Even if I wasn’t a working mother, there is no way I can function on less than four hours of sleep a night. Hence, I acted as any sane parent and pet guardian would–I surrendered the bed to my children and female dogs and migrated to the stinky comforter on the floor next to Boomer.

Now, I am well aware that several animal- and child-rearing experts will tut-tut at the aforesaid tale of nocturnal woe. I undoubtedly cross and blur numerous boundaries by allowing my bed to become the family’s nighttime stomping ground. But I really don’t care what anyone else thinks. Correction: I probably will if/when I ever sufficiently catch up on my sleep to recognize the insanity of plastering myself on the carpet and counting sheep next to an overweight Beagle . . . .

–Katie Marsico has written for Tails since 1999. In addition to contributing feature stories to the magazine, she now will write a weekly blog post for Tattle Tails, giving us a glimpse into her often funny and always chaotic life as mother, pet guardian, and writer.

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