I’ve been conscripted into nighttime Be-Withs for the last few months. I do it partly because I’m sure the window for Elijah and Luca actually wanting me to sleep with them is closing fast. Although I’m all for sleeping in Eli’s university dorm bed. You know what the sock on the door means, son.
But I also love the moments between wake and sleep when Eli reveals his true feelings for me. He sleepily repeats, “I love you Dad” over and over as he drifts off. And sometimes asks, “Dad, can I hold you hand?” It’s this kind of behavior that gets a kid a red convertible sports-car when he turns 16.
It’s after he drifts off that things get a little Mr. Hyde.
A week or so ago, Eli leapt up (still asleep) and scrambled over the top of me. He began pacing around his room, opening his door and desk drawers while muttering, “I gotta do the..find the…I have to…the thing. What was it?”
It wasn’t so much “Old Man Looking For Spectacles” as it was “Crazy Person Acting Scary and Crazy.” I couldn’t remember if waking a sleep pacer was dangerous or if that was an old wives tale. But he started to kind of scare me so I said, “Eli. Get your butt in bed. Now.” Thankfully he complied and I didn’t have to search Amazon.com for bed straps.
Or did I?
The other night, I blissfully drifted off in Eli’s bed, content with the knowledge he loved me. I awoke to two hands around my shirt collar. Still asleep, Eli began to throttle me.
I looked pleadingly at him and said, “Eli? Are you trying to murder your father?” Eyes closed, he simply kept shaking me by my t-shirt collar.
He then began to crawl into my shirt and I realized he was trying to get warm. Eli likes to sleep shirtless, and sometimes pantsless. The night was a little cooler than usual and he had a chill. I tucked him into bed and gave him another blanket. That seemed to lessen his murderous streak.
But I went to my own bed just in case. Where Grover let me hold his paw and tell him I loved him.