Most parents can relate to this syndrome I like to call "baby in the middle". This is when the baby (or child, or *gasp* preteen) climbs into bed with you and from that point on, the rest of the night is spent suffering from "baby in the middle" syndrome in which there is five inches of bed space for YOU, your limbs become cramped and painful and your sleep is interrupted every 35 seconds. You wake feeling like you've been hit by a truck and wondering where that crick in your neck came from.
I've experienced more than my fair share of "baby in the middle" syndrome (but that's my own fault for having four kids) and I feel I've paid my dues. My youngest is on the cusp of turning 12 and I have not had to share my bed with a flailing child for some time. HOWEVER.
We went camping this past weekend (yes, in November, yes, I know, more on that in another post) and the "baby in the middle" turned out to be our 13-year-old pain in the ass dog Shade. Because, really, all 75 lbs of him is just one big ball of anxiety and he's a huge baby. Shade does not enjoy being quiet. He likes to make noise - growling, moaning, whining, just breathing loudly - at ALL times. He also does not enjoy being left to his own dog devices - you know, licking his man parts, digging in the dirt, sleeping, sleeping, sleeping. No, Shade enjoys one-on-one attention at ALL times and will let you know if you are slacking in that area. He does enjoy camping, so long as he's fully entertained, not tied up to a lead and able to use his long, slobbery tongue to slurp s'more fixings off the picnic table. Ah, yes, after a long day of this doggie bliss, Shade must be exhausted and enjoy sleeping curled up on a blanket on the camper floor, yes? NO.
Shade insists on sleeping IN the bed with us while camping. Otherwise, he whines and paces ALL night in his attempt to let us know just how high his level of distress is. So, I relent (usually as a result of total exhaustion and maybe because I'm a little bit cold, too) and up he jumps. I sit up to direct him where to go, and the first thing he does is turn in a circle three or four times and plant his doggie ass right on my pillow! I DON'T THINK SO! So, I direct him to lay at the foot of the bed, like a good doggie should, and he does......but only long enough to allow me to drift off to sleep before squirming, much like a human baby, directly in between me and daddy, where he then presses his back up against daddy and his talon-like claws (really, is it so much to ask that daddy trim the nails once in a while?) up against my body, impaling my stomach in the process.
We attempt to sleep like that for three or ten seconds until Shade decides he really needs to be cuddled. Yes, cuddled, like a baby. Arms around him, scratching his ears. Ahhhh.......yes, that's the spot. And he drifts off to sleep. And for a second, one might think "awwww, that is SO SWEET! Good doggie" but that someone might then wake up with a crick in the neck/shoulder that lasts well past the camping trip (two days, in fact, but I'll update that later when/if the pain ever goes away). And "baby in the middle" syndrome claims another victim. Why can't I have a cat? A nice, quiet, light, tiny, fluffy, aloof cat who hates human contact? Sigh. Ouch.