The first type of bed hog is the "heat seeker". This is the child who will cling to you, burrow into you and somehow find you in the bed no matter how you try to evade her. My first heat seeker was my daughter Meg, now 21 years old. She would climb in bed with me (actually, I never bothered to put her in her own bed, even though she had one), and just go straight for the throat. Literally. I would wake up in the mornings with downy soft, blonde baby hair tickling my nose because she would fit the back of her neck sideways over my throat. I have no idea how I endured this, because I am a little claustrophobic, but I actually enjoyed it. She was my baby. I was going to school full time and working several jobs, so I soaked her up every second I could, even if that was while we were sleeping.
She doesn't sleep with me anymore - she's kinda huge. I have a new heat seeker - 7 year old Luke Christopher. He doesn't climb in with us often, but when he does, you know you are in for a long night. He burrows. He clings. He plasters himself right up against you. Lukey is going through a growth spurt right now, and having the bad dreams that seem to accompany growth spurts in children his age. We pull him in, and his dad scoots over as far as he can to accomodate for the big boy climbing in between us, and he puts his sweet head on my arm, and I know I am trapped until morning. There is no escape, even if I ease my arm out and scoot away, he will find me in his sleep, and burrow in once more.
The next kind of bed hog is what I like to call "the sprawler". Four year old Benjamin is one such bed hog. Climbing into bed with us, usually under the guise of needing to snuggle, as soon as he falls asleep, he flips sideways, so his head is in the middle of his dad's back, and his feet are kicking me. No matter how many times we rearrange this child, he always flips back to his sprawl position. This too, makes for a long, uncomfortable night. We have tried putting him back in his bed, too - but if he wakes up and catches you LOOK OUT! He is kinda mean when woken. So it's not really worth the effort, especially if he manages to wake the third kind of bed hog...
Yebbi - aka Caleb, our 2.5 year old, is the worst kind of bed hog. He sometimes wakes in the night, so we bring him into our room before he can wake the other kids. He loves being cuddled. Until he falls asleep. Then he is ALL OVER THE PLACE. This kid does NOT like sharing a bed. He wasn't one to be held while sleeping as a baby, either. He wanted to nurse, and then lay down in his own space. Fine by me! His bed was within arms reach, close for me, alone in his space for him. He is still the same. He wants to sleep in our bed. But, he doesn't want us in it. While the other kids would not want to sleep without us, he would much rather be in our bed, and he is just fine you go find whatever empty slot there is, bed wise. All the better so he can toss and turn at will. He doesn't sprawl. Yeb still sleeps with his legs tucked under and his butt in the air. I love that. But, he doesn't want you, your blanket, arm or hair touching him while he sleeps. He will go to great lengths, apart from actually leaving the bed, to not be touching anyone, including just pushing you repeatedly in an effort to scoot further away.
While we have had many, many nights with a bed hog of one type or other, we never send a child away. We both know that all this...this glorious existence where we are the parents of small children, will be over all too soon. I hate that thought. I think all parents do. We've been incredibly blessed. We've been parents of small children far, far longer than most people these days. I'm still not ready for it to be over. So, when they come creeping into our room at night we never, ever send them away. We pull the covers back, tuck the bed hog between us. Ask them if they are scared. Check for temperatures, and snuggle them in. Tell them they are safe, mommy and daddy are right here. Breathe that magical scent of a small child. And are grateful for the long, sweaty, crowded night of nurturing a tiny soul who needs us that night. And thank God for the opportunity.