Mar 9, 2010

The day the bed broke

Last night a huge "I told you so!" moment occurred at our house. Usually I think such moments are pretty gratifying, in a parents-really-do-know-best, high-and-mighty sort of way. Unfortunately, I tend to dispense parental advice as a warning of bad things to come, so my opportunities to say "I told you so!" typically come in tandem with various degrees of tragedy. I take little pleasure in the triumph.

Our house has a rather small master bedroom. Since it is located on the main level where I usually am, children tend to congregate in Mom and Dad's room for TV viewing, teeth brushing, and family prayer. The little ones play there while I shower. It is a popular room during the daylight hours.

One of the boys' favorite pastimes is playing on the bed. This drives me crazy for several reasons. I like the idea of having ONE space that is mine -- one quiet space that has pillows arranged and blankets straightened, surfaces clean and clear, etc. In actual practice, this rarely happens. My bed is a hot spot for little boys' snacky crumbs, dirty feet and faces, and forgotten toys that go "poke" in the night. The sleigh-framed bed becomes a jungle gym, the mattress a wrestling mat (and I the referee). I can't count the number of times (even if I only count in thousands) I have told the boys to GET OFF THE BED or STOP HANGING ON THE BED. When we get to our next house, I think I will buy a king-size bed and put it in the backyard. That should provide sufficient entertainment for our rowdy boys and all of their friends (at least while they are all innocent).

Last night after dinner, as the whole family was moving towards bedtime, Garry and I went into our bedroom to change into pajamas. I had Lexi on one hip and Gavin trailed behind us. Garry and I were engaged in conversation about job interviews and moving expenses, removing our shoes and pulling comfortable clothes out of dresser drawers. As I leaned on my dresser pull off a sock, I gasped. From that angle I could see a crack in the frame of our bed. A piece of wood about eight inches long had split off where the sideboard met the foot board. The foot board was leaning outward, and the joint had completely separated. Someone had broken our bed! I knew it would happen sooner or later.

It had been a usual afternoon, with boys in and out of my bedroom. Tyler had watched cartoons for a while, sometimes alone and sometimes with Gavin as a companion. Zachary's after-school job had been to vacuum the upstairs bedrooms, and the time he spent vacuuming mine had included a wrestling match and a few screams. I wasn't sure of the culprit, but I had an idea. We confronted the boys.

Tyler confessed immediately, bless his sensitive little heart. He had been using the footboard like a balance beam while watching TV. Apparently the old bed had endured too much abuse, and when he got to the end of the footboard, it snapped under his weight. Tyler had been crushed with guilt for hours. We applauded his honesty, but man...what a huge bummer!

While I muttered under my breath about the futility of owning anything nice with children in the house, Garry pulled the joint apart and used a suitcase (conveniently located under the bed) to support the weight of the matress and box springs. He used wood glue to fuse the broken pieces together and placed huge clamps to secure the repair.

At 8:00 p.m., we knew we couldn't use our bed that night, so we set up an air mattress in the kitchen. As air mattresses go, this one is pretty nice...but it wasn't as comfy as our bed! I hauled our bedding out into the kitchen to ease the transition.

Most people probably don't think a night on an air mattress is a big deal. But sleep is a BIG DEAL to this perpetually exhausted mama. Despite the mattress's slow air leak (I had to pump it up when I got up to nurse Lexi at 2:30), I was much more comfortable than I anticipated, which was undoubtedly a tender mercy from above.

We hope that Garry's fix will be enough to save our bed. The glue is supposed to dry for 24 hours before putting pressure on the joint, so we will test it tonight. In the meantime, my bedroom is strictly off-limits to all children. Teeth-brushing will happen in another bathroom, and family prayers will be relocated. All television viewing will occur elsewhere. Small people may not play in the vicinity.

Perhaps I'll get my bedroom sanctuary after all.
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