We’re pillow people. Correction, the kids and I are pillow people. My husband is not.

He’s one of those folks that could sleep on a bare floor with a block under his head. I, on the other hand, am not such a person. As tough as I might be in other areas of my life I am not when it comes to sleep, so it shouldn’t surprise me that my children are just as finicky.

Nora has copious amounts of stuffed animals that she organizes, dresses, arranges and rearranges in different patterns and tableaus. They outnumber her in bed and she’s been known to give way to them in her sleep and roll out onto the floor to avoid squishing them. I have to give more warning and preparation about changing her sheets than when she’s due for a vaccination. She has a huge pain tolerance like myself, far more patience than I, yet the same fussiness for sleeping arrangements. I’ve been scolded for tossing them out of the way because I hurt their feelings.

Then there’s Owen. If he could, he would build an igloo of pillows to sleep in, naked, and fill it with stuffed puppies and cars. A good night is one where he sleeps more than four hours and then requires us to calm him so he can go back to sleep two to three hours later. Nothing like trying to search for your toddler in the dark through a multitude of pillows as they cry and freak out because you, and their own biology, required them to sleep more than three hours.

Jamie and I take turns “cosleeping” with him but it’s a poor explanation for what it really is, which is “sleep wrestling”. Forcibly cuddling him until he submits to sleep but not after being scratched, kicked, two baby bottle refills, a diaper change, and more pillows. It’s humorous yet painful to accept this current reality. We’ve been sleep deprived for over three years now and it gets to us, brings out the worst in us at times, and wears us down in every way. We’re desperate for sleep.

Every trip to Ikea includes “pillows” on the list and my heart skipped a beat as I spotted them on sale for a $1.99 this last time. Jamie rolled his eyes and filled a bag, “THREE of them, really?!”
“You just don’t get it, he needs them, and we’re pillow people!”
He narrowed his eyes at me. “Ok, some of us are…”

The older I get, the worse my joints become, the more frequent the subluxations, I’m less embarrassed to admit that I not only love pillows but that I need them. One under my shoulder, one underneath my head, one between my knees, one to hug, and one behind my back. Three at a minimum and five if I’m lucky or, should I say, if my children don’t steal them from me.

It’s not a character flaw to want comfort or admit to yourself your needs. Whether that’s a little boy needing his stuffed Lightning McQueen car and his family to sleep with him or a grown woman needing a womb of poly-filled pillows to nest her. Why not embrace what we need so that we can have something as necessary as sleep? For that matter, comfort and freedom from pain.

My husband continued throwing pillows out of his way as he stayed silent during my latest attempt to argue the justification of our fluffy collection.
“Well which ones do you like?”
“I don’t know, I don’t care. I just don’t need them like you guys do.”

Just then our conversation was interrupted by Simone yowling up at Jamie from his feet. He addressed her as part of the discussion with humor in baby talk, “Yes, Simone, what do you need?”
I watched them with amusement and addressed Simone, “Your right, Jamie. You don’t need anything to go to sleep.” He smirked and threw a pillow at me.

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