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Boy Boomerang (My Erma BomBUST)

Below find my non-winning entry for the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. Congratulations to all of the winners! High fives to all of the other losers!

Boy Boomerang

My first-born spent his newborn months sleeping in the crook of my arm. The crib served as his favorite place to slumber… for 20 minutes maximum, and only after 45 minutes rocking to every ballad in my musical theater repertoire. I’d gingerly place him in said crib, army crawl from the room, and pray. Twenty minutes later found us samba-ing down the hallway, me belting I feel sleepy! Oh so sleepy! I feel sleepy and weepy, it’s niiiiight! I exhausted this insane ingenue routine nightly, until we’d collapse in my bed. Desperate, after seven months, we resigned him to crying in his crib. Now age ten, he has slept comfortably in his own bed, ever since. I vowed not to repeat my mistakes.

Enter Boy Boomerang. I put my second son in the crib, in his own room, from night one. Throughout his infancy, I ambled across the hallway multiple times per night to nurse him, and diligently returned him to his crib—sleep crisis averted.

Then Boy Boomerang coordinated his limbs. At age two, he began pole-vaulting from his crib and running into our bed with a surprise-attack worthy of a Navy Seal. Rather than snuggle in my arm, he commandeered 80% of our king-size bed with his forehead in my kidney, and his toes between his father’s ribs. With the resolve of haggard but faithful Golden Retrievers, we returned Boy Boomerang to his bed anew, only to have him ricochet back into ours anon. We put up a baby gate, he beat it down. We took him to the bathroom, he screamed “I DONT HAVE TO! I DON’T HAVE TO!” as he released a stream as forceful as our power-washer. That routine sometimes tired him enough to stay in his own bed, as I laid awake in mine.

Over the years, visits from Boy Boomerang waned, but recently a kinder, gentler Boy Boomerang emerged. He now lands in our bed less like a boulder flung from a catapult. He stays mostly still and vertical, most of the night. I savor his nearness–maybe it’s because I recently felt his toes graze my shins. Maybe it’s because he retired his teddy bear, or maybe it’s because I finally get enough sleep. Regardless, I know the day nears when we’ll tuck Boy Boomerang into his bed and he’ll stay there–when we’ll toss him into the world, and he’ll stay there. So now, if he wakes me at 4 AM, I kiss his cheek, cradle his sheet-sheathed fist to my chest, and Maria’s lyrics from West Side Story beckon—Make of our hand one hand, make of our heart one heart…


If you live in the Madison area, please join me at the Natural Parenting Expo, a week from Sunday (3/23/14 at 2:30 PM). It’s easy, all you have to do is sit there and not heckle me. Tickets are free with expo admission thanks to the Isthmus.

parenting expo

11 comments… add one

  • Carisa Miller March 18, 2014, 9:28 am

    My two-year-old, likewise, catapults herself from her cage, toddles downstairs (in a sleep-sack, dear gawd) and charges our sleeping forms in the night-then snuggles in sweetly, to sleep while holding my nipple while I wince the night away. The four-year-old snores like my grandpa, so either way…I LOVE sleeping with them. (Truly.)

    Beautiful and hilarious:words and woman. I love your stories.

  • anna whiston-donaldson March 18, 2014, 9:43 am

    This is funny and beautiful, Ann! Says the mom whose daughter as asked to put herself to bed, thank you very much, the past 3 nights. Ergh…

  • Arnebya March 18, 2014, 10:36 am

    This is gorgeous, Ann, absolutely. My 10 year old daughter still comes in, albeit rarely. He toes graze my ankles. It is both frightening and positively wonderful. We never had vaulters, interestingly enough, even with the boy.

  • Stephanie Precourt March 19, 2014, 7:27 am

    THIS is the best blog post I’ve read in the longest time! Love it so much.

  • alexandra March 19, 2014, 8:25 am

    You made me cry.

  • Becky March 19, 2014, 9:56 am

    What does Erma know? This was great!

  • Kir March 19, 2014, 10:30 am

    I cried too. This was funny, heartwarming and when I read ‘his toes grazed my shin” I thought yes, Jacob’s do and Gio is so tall I need higher heels. Sigh.

    What a beautiful tribute to Broadway showtunes and our nighttime buddies

  • Kristin Shaw March 19, 2014, 9:43 pm

    Ohhhh, I have a baby boomerang of my own. Except that now that he has his own bed, he doesn’t want to leave it. Instead, he calls to me in the middle of the night or the early morning: “MAMAAAAAAAA! Come snuggle with me.” and dutifully, I go.

  • Julie B March 19, 2014, 9:48 pm

    I can relate to every word here. My 2nd born daughter is almost 5 now. She still climbs in our bed in the middle of the night. We just put up with it. I mean, surely, she won’t bring her boyfriends in bed with us years (and years) from now???

  • heidi March 22, 2014, 10:37 am

    Ann, this is lovely. Just so lovely. I am now going to make Ben come up here to hug me.

  • julie gardner March 24, 2014, 12:08 pm

    We need to start a Haggard But Faithful Golden Retrievers Club.
    People will assume we are much cuter than we really are…

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