I have very little recollection of being in hotels or motels with my parents growing up. When we weren’t at home, we either tended to stay at friends’ or relatives’ homes, or in a tent on our regular camping trips. Did I ever mention that I HATED our camping trips?

My wife and I, though, have been on a number of trips in hotels and motels with Lydia. When she was a baby or a toddler, it was easy enough to get her to go to bed, and we could stay up watching TV or reading. Not so with a seven-year old, or at least our seven-year old. She wouldn’t go to bed until we went to bed; it was partly the light bothering her, she said, but it was more her not wanting to be left out of anything.

So for 10 days – two in Niagara Falls, four in Toronto, two in Peterborough and two in Canton – the three of us shared a room where the parents went to bed a little earlier than they might have been inclined to do so otherwise.

When we got to the cabin in the Adirondacks, Lydia, and eventually her cousins, got to sleep in a place of their own, up on this loft. You would think this would have made me happy, and it would have, but for one tiny detail: one could only get up there by using a 10- or 12-foot ladder. And it wasn’t a straight ladder designed to get up to such a place; it was an A-framed ladder, the instructions – or more correctly, the WARNING – for which SPECIFICALLY states that it should NOT be used as a straight ladder. Going up was fine, but I was afraid that she might fall if she had to climb down going to the loo in the middle of the night.

I went to bed in a room with my wife. But I woke up in the middle of the night, and half-slept in a cot just below the ladder. In the end, she was fine. Her cousins, who showed up a couple nights later, were fine, though I was glad to be available to hold the ladder for them early in their first morning. And, finally, on the last night there, I actually slept the whole night through, quite possibly out of sheer exhaustion.

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