Have you ever slept with a gorilla?  Or with Jack Nicholson’s character in The Shining?  That’s sort of what it’s like to share your bed with Michelle.

Every now and then, she creeps into my room right around bedtime and acts really, really tired.  “Daddy, can I just sleep down here tonight?  I’m sooo sleepy.”  That thumb enters her mouth, something she does when she’s really beat.

Those big blue eyes are difficult to argue with.  My heart is warmed by her sweet “got daddy wrapped around my finger” request.  It’s sweet alright, until 4 AM.  That’s about the time I wake up to pee and discover the Blanket Bogart has stripped me of any and all covering I might have started with when Jimmy Kimmel bid me goodnight.

Sometimes there’s an arm on my face or a leg across my forehead.  Occasionally she’s wrapped around me like those pythons in The Everglades.

I’m not sure what the kid’s doing all night long.  Looks like she’s practicing for a nuclear lockdown.

How can someone so tiny wrestle a sheet, two blankets and a heavy comforter from a 175 pound man?

And that’s not the worst of it.  Sometimes she awakens me yelling in the loudest, most insane sort of way.


My dad said my  mom used to have nightmares about snakes.  He told me she’d belt out the loudest scream you could imagine smack dab in the middle of his REM.  It scared the  $%&# out of him.


Michelle probably thinks I’m gonna take her back to the NC State bowl game in Nashville.  I sort of have that same feeling, it was ugly.

When I was a kid, I remember laying awake for hours scared of the kid snatcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  UUUghhh.  I get chills thinking about him today.

He was just creepy.  Puttin’ kids in a cage.  What an awful thing to take your child to see mom and dad!  That’s probably half of my issues today.

And then there’s Stephanie – she’s sort of like sleeping with Darth Vader.

“Wheeeeewwwww – wwwwwweeeehw.  Wheeeeewwwww – wwwwweeeeehW.”

It’s like snoozing through a drag race.  I don’t think she has emphysema but it sure does sound like it.

Occasionally DJ gets stuck with me at the beach or in a hotel on vacation.  She’s pretty still but she always faces the middle of the bed.  I just don’t like someone else’s breath near my face.  And I can only sleep on my left side for so long and then it feels like my aorta is about to pop off my ventrical.  My heart starts aching after about 20 minutes, and I gotta rotate.

I look at people in movies.  The woman always sleeps with her head perched between the guys armpit and his shoulder.  Her hand resting gently on his bare chest.


The only things asleep in that picture are his arms.  One is crushed beneath her torso, the other void of blood because it’s been over his head for the past umpteen minutes.  Who in the heck sleeps like that?  That dude is thinking, “I can’t wait for her to get off of me so I can get some stinkin’ sleep.”

Now Lisa, she was a good queen bed partner.  If there was snuggling, it was pre-sleep.  Once the lights went out, it was like she was in Raleigh, and I was in Durham.  No touching, no shared breathing, no cover hog.  Just a quiet doze and the comfort of knowing someone else was nearby.

One thing is for sure, having someone close by is nice – be it a gorilla, Darth Vader or a bad breathed teenager.

That picture sure does looks nice, doesn’t it?


The Jungle That Is Stephanie’s Bedroom

Posted by Jesse

Most of the times I’m flying solo with the girls, I pride myself on being fairly entertaining. Not tonight. I was a tad weary from a long day and a late-breaking sports story that had me phone-watching for much of the evening. Working in sports, I hesitate to refer to anything I have to work on as “big” or “important”, but…people do like to talk sports and these people several means to communicate and, well, a lot of people used those means to ask me tonight what the hell happened to Butch Davis. If you have no idea who Butch Davis is, I currently envy you a great deal.

 So when a crisis broke out, I knew I had to spring into action with twice the usual exuberance to make up for my lackluster performance the rest of the night. After going upstairs to change into pajamas right before bedtime, Stephanie returned in tears. This itself was not the crisis, expecially considering earlier in the evening Steph had admitted that fake crying was a skill she traded on. (DJ, who may miss this post because she’s at camp, will be happy to learn this: remember the time you hit Steph with your dance bag and suspected she was embellishing the injury a bit? She was.)

Apparently the source of the tears was an animal on the looose. Not a stuffed animal mind you (though lose track of her stuffed moose and I guarantee you there will be tears, REAL tears, and lots of them), but a real, live animal. The missing creature? You guessed it, one of the vaunted Decapod Crustaceans that came back from Myrtle Beach.

My first move was to assess the tears.

“Are you crying because you’re worried your hermit crab is gone, or are you worried it’s running around your room?”

As suspected, it was most certainly the latter. And in fact, that’s not an unjustified paranoia. As has probably been chronicled on the blog before, Stephanie once had a hamster get out of its cage and bite her on the nose while she slept. Her room is where animals go to party. And bite people. That’s how we ended up with a hamster cage under a blanket behind a couch under lock and key in the unifinished, unvisited part of the basement. Poor Steph.

“I don’t care if my hermit crab is dead I just don’t want it crawling around my room!”

“I don’t see how that thing could have gotten out,” I said, examining the empty shells in the glass cage, doing my best Lenny Brisco impersonation and trying to determine if this nimble crab really could have scaled a glass bowl.

“Oh yeah, they definitely can,” offered Michelle. “My friend Kimmy had one and it got out and they found it a week later crawling on the stairs.” Glad she’s here.

I offered the sleeping downstairs option (no sweat off my back since “downstairs” means “Danny’s room”), but with uncaged animals and little girls, it is most definitely a “once bitten, twice shy” situation. Stephanie was not convinced that the hermit crab would not seek her out for retribution for being taken from his friend in Myrtle Beach. The crab had to be found.

It was about this time Stephanie recalled that she had been playing with her pet with a friend and, perhaps, could have left him outside the bowl. I confirmed this was highly likely, but the point remained: we had to find the monster crab that was threatening to terrorize the night’s sleep. And I needed a night’s sleep.

So I got down on hands and knees and after an extensive, exhausting 11-second search, was able to locate Priscilla swimming in the dust ruffle. Problem solved. Night saved. But just to be safe, everyone’s sleeping downstairs tonight.

Did something just move in the corner?

Sunday Post 20: An Acre of Bed

Posted by Danny

I miss her the most at night.  I think that’s why I stay up so late.  I just can’t bring myself to go into that room and face the night alone.

When we added on to the house about five years ago, we were excited to build a new master bedroom.  It’s a nice room with built-in bookshelves and a large walk in closet.  Lisa got 2/3 for her clothes; I took what was left.  Most of her things are still there, although I moved them to the back so I could have the prime real estate.  Sometimes I’ll pull  out a dress I never really liked and put it on the dining room table.  When my parents come to town, they know to take those things with them.  I’m not sure where they go – not sure what they do with them.  Not sure I want to know.

I used to complain because she left a ton of clothes on the chair in the front of the closet by her dresses.  By the end of the week, it was like a Grand Garment Teton. 

Now I stack my clothes there.  Yes, Mr. Clean has his own Teton.  Maybe I just can’t stand the sight of the bottom of the chair.  I’d seldom seen it before.

After construction began on our addition, we walked in the uncompleted space and began to measure for our furniture.  Lisa said that she didnt’ think we’d ever be able to fit a king size bed in the new space and wondered if we should build out another four or five feet in case we decided to get a bigger bed.

“No” I insisted.  “I don’t want you that far away from me.  I like to hear you breathe.”

There’s no breath now.  The warmth of her body is gone.  Often I don’t even pull the covers back on that side of the bed – it’s more like a single that way.

I feel like I’m sleeping on an acre of land –

She is so far away. 

Hold your spouse tonight.  Listen to her breath.  Snuggle.  Revel in your cramped quarters. 

Take advantage of every second you have together.

The Tooth Fairy Sabbatical


Posted by Danny

I’ve been out-of-town twice lately on business trips, and I am thankful to Jesse for keeping the girls.  They always have a great time when he’s in charge -although  I”m not convinced that all of the rules are followed when I’m gone.

Jesse talks a big game about discipline, “We need to set some strict guidelines for Stephanie to shore up her study habits.”  By we, I’m pretty sure he means ME.  “Michelle really needs to stop asking 8 times during dinner if she’s eaten enough.  I think if she asks once that she shouldn’t get dessert.”  Yeah, he’s a big talker but when I walk out the door, it’s cotton candy for dinner. 

But I have two nieces and was the fun uncle in my day too.  I understand when I come home from DC and find out that he watched movies with DJ and her buddy until the wee hours of the night.  And I’m ok with him using the Golden Corral gift certificates to take the crew out for a two-hour eating fest.  But what I don’t understand, is why when I go out-of-town, the Tooth Fairy takes a Sabbatical.

Michelle is losing teeth like NC State is losing basketball games (yeah, I’m a State fan).  And the past two times I’ve been gone, a bicuspid has sprung loose. 

Michelle gleefully shares the news with Jesse and calls me with full excitement.  She carefully places the tooth in the hand stitched pillow her Nana made her and tucks it neatly under her sleeping pillow.  I can just picture her dreams – the fairy flutters in wearing her pink tutu, sparkles sprinkling from her wand.  The dollar tucked in a nice lace pouch.

The sweet dream is rudely interrupted the following morning when she awakes and finds that her tooth is in the exact same place she left it the night before.  With disappointment she questions Jesse, “Why do you think she didn’t come?  What’s going on?”  I know those big eyes kill him.  And the stories, oh the stories, he extols.

“Well, it came out late in the day.  She probably had her calendar booked with other kids who lost teeth at an earlier hour.  She’s not a Genie, she’s simply the Tooth Fairy.”  As if you don’t have to have some sort of super power to sneak into millions of houses each night replacing money for teeth.  Or, “Maybe she’s at a conference like your dad.”  To my knowledge, there is not a conference for the Tooth Fairy!  What sort of semiars would they conduct?  The New Price of a Molar?  Change or bills?  Things You Can Do With Leftover Teeth? 

He once told her, “I bet she hurt her wing in a game of Lacrosse.  I”m sure she’ll be better soon.”  Yeah, like when your dad gets home.

Today he even suggested that perhaps I was having a rendezvous with the Tooth Fairy on my “business” trips.  I’m hard at work, missing my family and he suggests that I’m away sleeping with the Tooth Fairy.  Unbelieveable!

I’m sort of glad that I’m the only one in the house who knows how to get in touch with the Tooth Fairy.  Jesse’s so good, if it weren’t for that, I’m not sure they’d need me.

Don’t Get Much Sleep, But We Have A Little Fun

Not my actual bed.

Posted By Jesse

Last Sunday morning I heard a light tap on on my bedroom door, followed by a twist of the knob and slight cracking. I turned my gaze from Sportscenter to the room’s entrance, anticipating the appearance of a bored 8-year old looking for someone to entertain her. Sure enough, Michelle peered through the doorway with an “I know I wasn’t exactly invited, and I know it’s kind of early, but….” look on her face. When she saw me smiling rather than shooing her away, the door flew the rest of the way open and in three quick steps she had bounded into the room and up onto my bed.

I’m not sure exactly when the girls decided I was less of a guest who was not to be bothered and more of a family member who is only granted semi-privacy, but it was a welcome change from my perspective.

On this particular morning, Stephanie had had a night of restless sleep and coughing, and Danny was letting her sleep in a bit in his bed, which is where Michelle had undoubtedly begun her quest for a playmate. But he booted her to let Stephanie rest, and 8 a.m. is just too early in the morning to start playing with dolls I suppose.

So Michelle and I did lounging stuff. I tickled. We snuggled. We wrote letters on each other’s backs and tried to guess what the message was. I wrapped her up like a burrito in my comforter and pretended I couldn’t figure out how to get her out. I acted like I feel back asleep on top of her, smothering her until she could stop laughing enough to belt out, “Get! Off! Me!” All in all…it was probably the best Sunday morning I’ve had in a while.

I’m not overly eager to have another human completely dependent on me. But if you put enough of these types of moments in the brochure to draw in people to become parents, I’d probably get suckered into signing my life away without looking too closely at the fine print.

Lisa and Danny’s bed used to be the main hub of activity in the house, I have gathered. That is because it was also Lisa’s throne. Danny tells me in the evenings she would set up shop in her bed: Law and Order re-runs on the television, laptop computer open for work or Disney planning, she would welcome kids to her bed to review flash cards, plan summer activities, or just plain snuggle. In fact, any time I ask Michelle about memories of her Mom she brings up snuggling in her bed.

Danny probably recognizes some of Lisa’s sedentary traits in her brother, because after dinner I often post up with a laptop on my bed and dial in the evening’s sporting events on the television. I’m not nearly the center of activity Lisa was, but I’ve come to find that more and more the girls treat hopping up on my bed–to chat, to play, for study help–as a regular thing, and not something they have to ask permission to do. And I love it.

Yes, there are times I’m trying to bang out an article that I have put off and put off and now have to write double-time just to get it in a day late. And there are probably times when I would enjoy sleeping in. But I’m trying to put the word out that my bed is open for family business.

It may not be “Grandma’s Feather Bed” and it certainly can’t compete with Lisa’s throne, but my bed is starting to work its way into the rotation of family hang-out spots. DJ will stop by if Danny is putting the other girls to bed and she needs someone to quiz her on vocabulary words. There are still a pair of Stephanie’s dress shoes in my room from when she got home from church and sprinted to my room to let me know how lazy I was for still being in my pajamas….and ended up staying for a while. And, of course, the world is Michelle’s playground, so she’ll come in looking for entertainment any time she pleases.

Moving in with the Tanners, I basically forfeited the right to lock my door. Best trade I ever made.

The Daddy Handbook

The Handbook (It's in my hand)

Posted by Danny

For years I have carried the Daddy Handbook.  It’s invisible – therefore, it’s always on me. One day a few years back I was quoting from it as we were walking out of Circuit City.  An older gentleman overheard our conversation.  He smiled at me and looked at the girls with a serious face, “I have that book too.  Everything in it is true.”

The girls say there’s an invisible Little Girl’s Handbook, but I don’t believe them.

Tonight I was putting Stephanie to bed.  I told her I loved her.  She said, “I love you more.”  I said, “That’s impossible.”

“Na Uh.”

“It is impossible, and I’ll tell you why.  Look (I pulled out the handbook and flipped it open).  It says right here in the Daddy Handbook on page 548, second paragraph:  Daddy’s always love their daughters more than their daughters love them. If it’s in the handbook honey, it is true.”

“Well I have the Little Girl Handbook and it says:  Girls love their daddy’s more than the daddy’s love their girls.  Page 14.  That paragraph.”  She pointed to her small book.

“Well Stephanie, look here on page 799, the last page of the Daddy Handbook.  Do you see what it says?  It says:  Page 14 in the Little Girl’s handbook is hogwash.  Do not believe anything on that page It’s just not true.”

“Well there’s a secret page in the Little Girl’s handbook that says:  Page 14 is true even if the Daddy Handbook says it is not true. And you don’t know the number of the secret page.”

“Yes Stephanie.  But look.  Down here at the bottom of page 799:  The secret page of the Little Girl’s Handbook has some mistakes.  The main one is about the Daddy Handbook not being true. Disregard the information on that page.”

“Daddy, what does disregard mean?”

“Don’t worry about it Boo.  I love you the very most.  Goodnight.”

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