All hands on neck

My quest for being an alright enough parent sometimes requires creative solutions. You know, simple tricks to help your kid shut up, calm down from a tantrum, or often simply to get them to sleep. Sometimes things don’t go as planned…

Our house is as poorly insulated as can be. We all sleep in the same bedroom in a double double bed, for sake of limited number of rooms in the apartment, and simply because it’s nice to wake up with everyone in the same room. This bedroom is located on the northwest corner of the house. This also happens to be the corner where the Bavarian gales cool down the indoor temperatures to refrigerator level. It’s brutally cold in winter. It’s also brutally hot in summer – but I digress. This cold. It’s just fucking cold, and although it’s true that for a good sleep, you should lower your body temperature, and for this it is good to sleep in a cool room, it’s supposed to be that. Cool. Not cold.

My toddler son sleeps in one of these weird toddler sleeping bags, which are warm as fuck, but sleeveless. Without these weird sleeping bags, he literally crawls all over the room in his sleep. It’s a necessity, not just there to keep him warm. He also has a warm duvet, but his body is such a nuclear bundle of energy, that this is often kicked to the side of the bed within a couple of minutes, keeping his body perfectly warm, but his arms exposed to the aforementioned barren cold. I bring him to bed every night, and I noticed this winter that he was struggling to find a place to keep his hands warm. He turned very restless. He couldn’t catch sleep easily.

Then I suggested a quick fix. Because why not…?

Instead of suggesting gloves, or tucking his arms under his belly or close to his body, I chose to go for a stupid alternative. I thought it was a better idea to tell him he could warm his hands in my neck. It would keep them warm long enough to help him fall asleep. After that, the temperatures wouldn’t bother him anymore. It worked great. For a bit.

All went well for a couple of months.

Then he got sick over the Christmas holidays. He woke up more easily at night, and would start looking for a way to get back to sleep. No matter what temperature his hands are, he now just wants to have them in my neck the moment he wakes up. I think it may have turned into something of a reassurance that I’m close by or whatever.

All cute and stuff.


Fucking annoying!

Every night he wakes up a couple of times, swimming through the bed – hands forward – trying to orient himself in the direction of my neck, exclaiming sleepily “Dad. Hands. Neck.” Although I usually sleep in the same direction, quite often he’s failing at finding my neck, and this procedure turns into a weird nocturnal tickling competition, shoving his tiny claws under my back. When his hands finally reach the neck/throat area, he starts wiggling his little maggot hands, and with certainty wake me up – if he hasn’t done so already.

I’m now trying to think of a better alternative, but I’m afraid the gloves idea will be hard to sell.

Published by Robin Heinen

Father of two | Husband | Entomologist and Ecologist | Postdoctoral Researcher @ TUM | Traveler | Coffee Addict

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