Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sleeping On The Couch May Make Our Bond Stronger

Photo: John Vargas
"Sleeping on the Couch"

by Brooke Foster

My husband and I sleep together on a tiny couch. Here's why we left our bed behind. 

I yawn, rest my head on my pillow, roll on my side and close my eyes. "Knee," I say to my husband. He flutters his eyes open and grunts an "I'm sleeping" noise. "Your knee, my love, is jabbing into my back. Can you move it?" As he readjusts his position, he rests his arm on my feet -- Oy, this is even more uncomfortable. I tap my feet against his bicep to get his attention. "Your arm," I tell him. "It's resting on my feet."

"Where else can I put it?" he asks.

sleeping-on-the-couchThe writer and her husband asleep on their couch. Photo: John Vargas

It's a good question. You see, my husband and I sleep head to toe on our sofa. No, not a pull out sofa. We sleep on Crate and Barrel's Petrie mid-century modern style couch, which is pretty much like sleeping in a twin size bed. And it's awful. Every night around 10pm, we take the pillows off the couch, lay down a sheet, put bed pillows at both ends and drape a down comforter over us, which my husband quickly tosses off of him because "it's so hot." (Which makes me too hot because now I have two layers of a down comforter on me.)

Here's the rub: We have a bedroom and a bed with a thousand dollar mattress and super soft flannel sheets. And we never use it. Never.

Because we also have a baby. And he's taken over everything -- our food cabinets are lined with jars of Earths Best pureed carrots, peaches and squash to the point that I can't fit our cereals, pastas and rice. Our living room is cluttered with toys, a Jumperoo, a high chair, an activity table, and many other big, loud, talking and blinking airplanes and choo-choo trains. I even have a Pack N' Play in the middle of my living room -- the sight of which drives me crazy, but it's become a necessity since my 12-month-old is crawling and nearly walking, and sometimes I just need to put him on lock down. (I also store the couch pillows there at night; my husband drapes his clothes on it.)

sleeping-on-the-couchThe writer stores the pillows from her couch in the baby's Pack N' Play. Photo: John Vargas

That's why the baby has gotten the bedroom in our one bedroom apartment. He needs his sleep. We used to sleep next to him, sneaking in the room around eleven each night. But we noticed that he started waking up when we'd come in. He was also needlessly waking us up in the middle of the night -- babies make noise when they sleep: they cough, cry out, toss and turn, or talk to themselves before falling back asleep. But the moment of truth came when Harper learned to stand and peak his almond eyes over the crib railing; he could see us in the bed right next to him. "Da-da-da-da," he'd sing to us before the sun was up.

"I can't do this anymore," my husband declared. "I'm going to start sleeping on the couch."

For awhile I continued to sleep in the bedroom. I'd kiss my husband good night and mournfully head back to the bedroom. But I started to feel like I was married to the baby, not my husband, and it made me kind of depressed. "Just sleep next to me," my husband begged one night, as I got weepy about leaving him on the couch to go to sleep by myself in our bedroom. He reminded me that we slept in a twin bed for a few years in college. "You loved that," he said. "You said it always made us closer."

He was right. I did love sleeping in a twin bed. Still today, we're sometimes forced to share a twin guest bed at a friend or family member's house, and I'll squeal with delight. It means that we get to spoon all night. It always seems that we kiss a little more, just because. A bigger bed can give you so much space that sometimes you can go through a night without touching at all. Many couples don't want to touch each other while they're sleeping, but I actually like it. It makes us feel closer.

While I certainly don't want to sleep on a couch forever, I have to say it's not that awful. It's kind of cute. It kind of feels like we're having a marital sleepover party every night -- we snuggle, we snack, we watch movies and our favorite TV shows, we constantly check the baby monitor, we read our e-readers. We're together.

sleeping-on-the-couchPhoto: John Vargas
"It's time to get out of that apartment," my dad will tell me.

"Why not invest in a pull-out couch?" a friend recently asked.

We're trying. We think we found a house, and if all goes well, we'll be living there in a month. If not, then we'll buy that pull-out couch we've been eyeing at Pottery Barn.

But until then, I'll consider these nights sleeping on the couch together a gift, even if I get a foot in the face more times than I like to admit.

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