anthropological significance of sleeping

For the last month or so, Chicken insists on "camping" when he goes to sleep at night. We creep into the dark bedroom where Buster is already sleeping. We pull his duvet off the toddler bed and into a nest on the floor, and tuck him in with, oh, about a dozen stuffed animals forming the toddler equivalent of a bowling lane gutter buffer along his body.

I think about what the anthropologists of the 37th century would think of us should this night be frozen like the ruins of Pompeii. They would step into the bedroom and find a large baby sleeping in a crib, surrounded by eighteen pacifiers. And on the floor next to him, a toddler, curled up under a blanket, his sleeping face uplifted toward his brother.

Look at that love, they might say. Look at the way he chooses to sleep on the floor so he can be closer to the little one. Ancient societies must have been kinder, more protective, and more nurturing than we are today. And the kids definitely would have respected their elders! Not like these kids today! Trilennials, right?

I think about the conclusions we make we come upon burial sites, the things we think we know about the past.

Now that I have two children I cannot help but wonder... did that child lie down to rest close to his baby brother because of the bloodborne impulse to love and protect?

Or was it because his mother said, "Chicken, seriously, listen, the only place that you cannot sleep is on the floor next to your brother. Do you hear me? I KNOW YOU CAN HEAR ME. I know what you're doing. You just want to poke his face through the slats until he wakes up. And then you'll just keep each other awake all night. So you can sleep in your bed, in the chair, in the closet, under the dresser... literally anywhere but where you are right now. Ok, yeah, you know what? Fine.  FINE. Stay awake all night. See if I care. I'm putting in my ear plugs. See you in the morning, buttholes."


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