Operation Roommate

Here, you’ll find the psychologically complicated eight-step process my son used to trick me into sleeping in his bed with him. I encourage you to watch for the warning signs that your kid might be attempting something similar.

Step 1. Establish need: Wake frequently at night, causing your father to go from a dead sleep to a full-on sprint at least 15 times a night. You’re the first born, so your parents still freak-out anytime you cry. Use this to your advantage.

Step 2. Convergence: After twelve consecutive nights, your parents will start putting you to sleep in their bed where you’ll stay all night. This is only the first pit stop on a long road. Remember, the idea is to get your father in your bed. So pay attention; the following steps require patience and cunning.

Step 3. The Bluff: A few weeks after achieving convergence, you must spontaneously offer to sleep in your own bed. This might be hard, but your parents will probably buy you a cake and let you drink all the chocolate milk you want, so it’s pretty much worth it. Plus, it’s only temporary—You’re only doing this so your mommy can get pregnant again. Operation Roommate requires a sibling.

Step 4. Divide and Conquer: Soon, the pregnancy causes sleeping problems for mommy and daddy, and they decide (well, mostly she’ll decide) it would be best if she had the whole king sized bed to herself. Daddy cooperates and goes to sleep in the guest room. You now have them exactly where you want them.

Step 5. Stay Committed: This is a tough one, and I don’t have any words of wisdom here other than “be strong.” For eight months, you wake only once during the night. Your dad will remain steadfast in his commitment to maintaining nocturnal independence. Don’t worry, because it will all come together.

Step 6. Increase Intensity: The moment has arrived. Your brother is here and all hell has broken lose. There’s a furious, hairless, shrieking thing your mommy’s room. Daddy will offer to help her, but he’s sent back to his bachelor room where a scarf serves as a lampshade. He’s 39 years-old. You must seize this moment. Increase the frequency of your wakings to four per night. Make sure you’re loud enough to consistently awaken your brother. In order to quiet your 1am, 3am and 4am foghorns, your daddy will come into your room and occasionally stay there.

Step 7. Leverage Empathy Now, do you know what empathy is? The only thing you need to understand is that it makes grown-ups weak. Use it against them. When daddy reads to you at night, ask in your sweetest, most innocent voice, “Daddy, will you stay in here and sleep with me all night?” You must cry softly each time he say’s “no, sorry sweety, daddy sleeps in the room with no heat.” After one week, your father will relent and Operation Roommate has nearly reached fruition. It’s been a long, hard battle.

Step 8. Pamper the Prisoner The first night of sharing a bed, you must do everything you can to avoid waking your father. The next day everyone will be happier than they’ve been in months and your mom will say, “Jace, you should probably just sleep in there all the time, right.” Congratulations young one, you have successfully made your father sleep in a full size bed with you every night. You broke him. Mornings will now be just like summer camp. You’ll wake-up and innocently say, “Daddy?” He’ll respond, “Yea?” “Are you awake?” and then you’ll talk about comic books for 25 minutes before heading into the main lodge to eat Lucky Charms with the other campers.

I'm a contributing writer to Parents Magazine, GQ, Psychology Today and some others. My book, "This is Ridiculous. This is Amazing: Parenthood in 71 Lists" is available here http://bit.ly/1exfm34. Look for two more books in 2015: "Must. Push. Buttons (Bloomsbury Kids), and an as-of-yet untitled memoir I’ve appeared on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and “Nick Mom’s Night Out." I live in New Jersey with my wife and two sons and enjoy making them laugh more than anyone else.

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