Thursday, January 3, 2008

Family Beds

Many families have a family bed, that is, a bed for the whole family. Ours does, as well. A distinctive facet of this particular family is that we have "family beds" (plural). This is what plays out in practice. EM comes downstairs to my office to request I read her a bed-time story ("The Miracle of Jonathan Toomey", of course, for she gets no greater pleasure than when she growls "pish-posh" to Christmas, whistling and the pride and happiness of cows and sheep, respectively). So, we clamber into EM's bed (EM: Papa, you lie next to the cold wall. Me: yes) as I begin to read her this book, L'il Iz skips into the room with the big book Mama has just read her ("Father Loves Me"), requesting I read that next.

Well, of course, she clambers up into EM's bed (family bed #1) to hear the rest of the Jonathan Toomey story ("That's pish-posh!"). But a fit of coughing from the little one (this being cold relapse #3 for her, making this her fourth or fifth cold, I lose count) stops the reading.

Me: Isabel, do you need to drink water?
L'il Iz: *cough* *cough* *cough*
EM: Yes, she does, Papa; I will get it.

EM then grabs the books to move them aside, but in so doing, she hits Isabel in the face, hard, with them as she swings them toward safe-keeping.

A shocked look of hurt and surprise from the little one is followed by a stern scolding from the pater familias, but the scolding only made the already heart-broken EM a complete wreck.

My children are such children.

It turns out that L'il Iz gets the (product placement alert) Disani for me to open while EM runs off to Mama in the big bed (family bed #2) for comfort hugs. She also absconds the Toomey book (hey!), so I read L'il Iz her own book, after all, in her own, rail-guarded bed (family bed #3).

Mission completed (book read), Isabel requests "My First Bible" to read on her own as I go to the big bed (family bed #2). EM is scootched tightly against her mother as she is read Jonathan Toomey. When she sees her stern Papa's entrance, she scootches even more tightly.

Diane's inquisitive look earns my explanation of the events (as EM's was rather clouded by emotion ... mine, of course, were entirely dispassionate and objective) which satisfies her (she was concerned that the act was intentional). So, after I read EM "Father Loves Me", she comes out from her shell enough to request I (re)read Jonathan Toomey ("but I say 'pish-posh', okay, Papa?" Okay.) And, as I read, who should come in but Isabel Marie? Who, indeed?

So now we have everyone on the bed except for Mr. Darcy, who is most empathetically NOT invited by certain members of the family. Diane remarks: "Notice a certain air of calm when we read [as opposed to watching a movie]?" When I get to the part of why Jonathan Toomey is called Mr. Gloomy, she askes: "Are you affected?" Hm, let me think about that question: his wife and baby die within three days and so he travels until his tears stop. As pater familias would I possibly feel a chord of sympathy for the travails of this modern-day Job?

Diane eventually brings the now sleeping Iz (my Jonathan Toomey reading is that gripping!) to sleep with her on her own rail-guarded bed (I'm beginning to lose count of the permutations, here) as I sleep with EM on the big bed.

At some eventual later time, Diane returns to the big bed where the three of us now sleep, but wait. We soon have a fourth (no, not Mr. Darcy) because ...

Interlude: Mr. Darcy /did/ use to rest on the big bed. He would lie on the very edge of the bed, but never, ever fall off. That is, until one day when he woke up yawned and stretched ... *crash*

Diane: Whaaa? Let me see that again! as she deviously places Mr. Darcy on the edge of the bed.

Mr. Darcy is not a cat to comply with any best-laid plans decides to move to the much safer center of the bed.

... we were all awakened by a loud *crash* followed by the wail of a (it turns out) 4-year-old banshee. Yes, Isabel had once again rejoined the family bed, but apparently did not scootch in enough to compensate for her tossing and turning. It was okay though: the floor broke her fall.

Well, Diane escorted the examined child back to family bed #3 and we carried out (through snores galore) another night in our continuing adventure of the family saga.

1 comment:

Eve said...

When I was young and that was oh, so long ago, there was a family bed in our old house in Malolos. It was made of iron, with iron bedposts and iron railings for headboard. My father was always out of town, his job as an internal revenue officer taking him to far out provinces. My youngest sister, the bunso, had the enviable position of sleeping with Inang, our mother. Once in a while, I got to sleep with them, too, especially during the cold months. That was where my mother taught me to pray the "Ama Namin" - Our Father - and the "Aba Guinoong Maria" - Hail Mary - to be followed by our own petitions of keeping our family safe and sound and all other intentions. Inang slept between me and my sister and come to think of it now, if anyone could fall from the bed, it wouldn't be me for I slept beside the wall, cold it might be.

Fast forward to the Marikina family bed. It was a matrimonial bed with soft mattress which sagged at the middle. The first time Papa went abroad for a month-long company trip, a schedule had to be drawn as to who would sleep with me. I don't remember the exact schedule but I remember having Dennis with me most nights. It was 1972 and Dennis was then only four years old and that must be the reason. But Diane and Omar had their share and enjoyed it very much that they posed this question to me:

Why does Papa have to sleep with me all the time?