No trumpets; no fanfare; no gradual acclimatisation; no exciting new bedroom furniture as incentive. It just happened – overnight, as it were.
When Hammond stays over, there is no choice but for DK to spend the night in her own bed. The two of them are both selfish sleepers, resulting in a miserable night for all. In an attempt to mitigate any feeling of having been supplanted for the night and to pander to her belief that she could not sleep alone, I would throw a mattress on the floor by her bed. None of this has done much for my sex life, as you can imagine.
The last time he was here, I just didn't. I read to her. She fell asleep. I went to bed.
I woke several times in the night. I could not hear her breathing in the other room, but I fought the urge to check on her. She is seven now. There is every chance that she will make it through the night alive. And she did. She slept through the night and woke up in the morning, in spite of (and perhaps because of) my forced neglect.
When she awoke, she was exuberant. There had been a dream; a very good dream. Sonic the Hedgehog had predominated, but Tails had been there too. That night, she said she thought she could probably sleep in her bed. I said, “Okay...” and backed away slowly so as not to startle her.
And she did. She also did it the next night and the night after that.
She sleeps through the night. She doesn't call out to me in distress at 3am and 3.46am and 4.27am. She is just a child who sleeps through the night in her own bed. It took her seven years and a blue hedgehog to get there, but that's beside the point.
The best thing about having a child who sleeps through the night in her own bed (after seven and a half years of not having a child who sleeps through the night in her own bed) is that we no longer have the same bedtime (which has, frankly, always tended more towards mine than hers, anyway). Now there is a space of time after she is asleep in which I can be wholly me; where I define myself in the suburban dark without the unsubtle force that is my beloved child poking, poking, poking at me. Sometimes. I almost feel like a grown up.
The worst thing about having a child who sleeps through the night in her own bed is that, once more, I sleep alone. I do not like to sleep alone. In the past, when I found myself in this situation, I would simply find myself a new lover. DK's presence negated and precluded that perceived need. And, the fact is, I have a lover. For better or worse, he's the one I get to keep. His predominant absence has just been rendered stark by hers, so I'll have to learn to sleep through the night in my own bed. Alone. Maybe I'll have a brilliant dream that will make it all okay. I suspect there won't be hedgehogs though.