My dog is really only about the size of a bread box. When he lays down in a normal doggie fashion, he’s as big as two rye loaves put end to end. Put him on a single, double, queen or king sized bed and he expands to fit his container. It is a goddamned anomaly.
He had to be permanently banned from our bedroom because of the incredible and completely preposterous pasty-oatmeal-stirring noises he makes with his mouth all night. Well, intermittently throughout the night, for half an hour or so at a time, then he lets you drift back off— otherwise you’d be able to adjust to it and it would lose its incredible soul-searing edge. Anyway, so he was sent to sleep in the boy’s room, because babies sleep more deeply than adults and they don’t suffer quite as much under the burn of their own stifled aggression (as far as I know). We can’t leave him to sleep in the living room, because he stares out the window like a crazed and faded old sea captain and barks at everything that moves or doesn’t move or lives or doesn’t live. Sometimes he might be barking at light.
So since he sleeps in the boy’s room, and since the boy is 2 and always wakes up and lures me into his bed with crying at some damn hour, I sleep part of each night with a toddler and Sir Licksalot (did I mention that the dog also has a paw-licking compulsion? He especially likes to start up in the middle of the cozy and silent night when he thinks that no one will stop him). The kid sleeps in his usual Superman-sprawl fashion, now pushed gradually upward and out of the covers by the dog who starts the night in the very epicenter of the bed and radiates outward. He makes sure to pin all of the blankets under and around his body, so that you can manage to score maybe just a corner if you are persistent in shuffling his deadweight, smacking carcass repeatedly toward the wall. I can try to make myself feel all big and play the alpha-human card or whatever and make him get off the bed, but I know damn well that he’s going to sit and stare at me with his black burning coal-eyes and wait until I’ve just fallen asleep to sproing up on the bed again, which somehow always registers to my semi-conscious brain as the floor exploding.
And so I sleep each night, huddled or pretzeled into impossible positions, one ear always poised and waiting for Smackers to get his mouth-squish on. Imprisoned by my pitifully soft human heart and ridiculous anthropomorphism, I wait for a spastic bark attack, or a dream about chasing something really fast and whining about it, or some kind of weird, blasting snoring episode that only involves an in-breath. I wait to be pushed completely out of the bed by something that reasonably only requires a fraction of the space that I do. And I know that in the morning, the bossy little fur-sausage will hit me on the leg with his paw and demand that I stop cleaning up my kid’s shit so that I can clean up HIS shit, bless his soul. Only caregivers get to deal with several types of excrement before they’ve had their morning coffee.