Chuting

The other night I picked Findlay up off the floor and replaced him in his bed before retiring to sleep myself. Findlay has the bottom bunk, so he can have soft landing if need be despite the hardwood floors.

Finn’s a restless sleeper, prefers nodding atop the covers as opposed to within them. As a kid—hell, still as an adult—I enshroud myself with bed sheets in an act of self-mummification every night. This is opposite Finn. It may look uncomfortable, with only my nose snorkeling out, but it’s great security.

I remember spending the night at my grandma’s years ago, and three times at least she ventured into the bedroom to peel back the covers. It was her futile attempt to maybe try and oxygenate things. She was a former nurse, after all, and it was probably professional memory that said the bed sheets should be crisp and folded back. Meanwhile I was—and am—a furnace, a night-sweater, a raging metabolism, which probably presents as malarial sometimes. I forgive my grandma’s Florence Nightingale attempts, but I always pulled the covers back over my head. Couldn’t—can’t—sleep otherwise.

Finn has the bottom bunk, while Cayden has the top. It’s easy to smooth out Finn’s bed in the morning because he hardly uses it. But top bunks are logistically hard to make. It’s a hassle, but I leave Cayde’s bed alone for reasons other than the difficulty factor. Turns out Cayde has the same nocturnal intuition I do, just in a different fashion. Whereas I’m the near Phoenician master at bed sheet entombment, Cayde is a nester. A pack rat of sorts. There’s the usual array of bed dressing, a menagerie of collected blankets stuffed into the corners, a rolled-up sleeping bag that sometimes gets unrolled, assorted beanies and sweatshirts and cast-off stuffed animals. Occasionally I’ll find Cayde sleeping in a hoodie and a knit cap, and we live in San Diego. Whatever gets you through the night.

In zookeeping and agriculture, there’s what’s called the ‘chute’. It takes myriad forms, but essentially it’s a narrow construction that you can either drop animals into for a procedure, else use to move animals forward, calmly, generally livestock. The alternative in either scenario, without the chute, is nostril-flared panic.

Finn, inevitably crawls into our bed most nights, somnambulistic, yet finds his way in between us regardless. This is something of a chuting, how he nestles between us, but it becomes also something of a quasi-asleep circus, in which he has the comfort of his thumb, still bolts upright every half-hour. He flops opposite directions like a slo-motion trapeze artist, while never even waking up.

I’ll find him at the foot of the bed alongside my cat, both microwaving my feet, else he’ll pin the sheets between the lot of us, and incessantly grasp my hand in his rendition of a comfort gesture. This inevitably wakes me up.

Finn’s chuting, I’m the unfortunate chute.

The compromise comes with the perpetual 4 a.m. tug for sheets, the sheets I need to wrap around my head. Finn’s content with his thumb, so I tuck him into my side, and wrap the Egyptian cotton sheets over the two of us, us paired and sleeping mummies.

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