They say that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. But what about the squeaky bed?

I pondered that the other night as I snuggled under the sheets in the guest room at our house. I hadn’t been banished there. My Lovely Wife was next to me. We were conducting research, seeing whether the bed frame squeaked.

Every time our daughters come home for a visit and sleep in that room, they claim the brass bed’s tubular metal frame is so squeaky that the cacophony that erupts when they roll over is loud enough to wake them. You’ve got to replace that bed, they say.

A lot of my success as a parent has come from ignoring the gripes of my children. And I fully intended to do that in this case. A squeaky bed? Too bad. When I was a kid, I slept in a manger, an anvil for a pillow, a mat of bark and fire ants for a blanket.

But the older they get, the harder it is to just blow them off. There comes a point in every parent’s life when you realize that though you created your offspring, they are their own people, with their own likes, dislikes and viewpoints.

This is amusing at first: a toddler with an opinion! Then you wonder what sort of free-will-wielding monster you created.

Well, this kind of monster: When our bed-frame-dissing daughters came to visit last month, oat milk suddenly materialized in our refrigerator.

“Get that stuff out of there,” I wanted to say. “It makes the regular milk nervous.”

Where do these formerly helpless infants get off bringing oat milk into our home, telling us we should be drinking it instead of cow’s milk, telling us we should be drinking matcha instead of coffee and eating Impossible Burgers instead of possible — probable! — burgers?

They come into my house and load the dishwasher in a foreign fashion, with the plates there and the bowls here, rather than the plates here and the bowls there.

And they have the gall to criticize the double bed.

We bought it when we finally became empty-nesters, after the girls moved out and we gave away their single beds and transformed their bedroom — the one they took turns having as their own as they grew up — into a room for guests, which, let’s face it, kids, is what you are now: guests.

Your posters are gone from the walls, your clothes from the closet, your books from the shelves. Your gel pens, your Tamagotchis, your Beanie Babies: gone, all gone — off to Goodwill or stuffed in a box in the attic marked “Fifth Grade.”

Frankly, neither one of the girls — women — minds that much. They’re not overly sentimental. They like being adults (I mean, as much as any of us do). They don’t pine for the old. They do, however, have plenty to say about the new, about the Ikea bed frame — a Skweek, I think it is, or a Grøaner. They say it’s basically a large set of horizontal wind chimes, sounding off annoyingly at the slightest wriggle.

When they came to visit last month, they couldn’t decide who had it worse: the sister who had to sleep in the creaking bed or the sister who had to sleep on the floor atop an inflatable air mattress.

Despite the kvetching, it was lovely to see them both. One night, about a week after they had returned to their respective cities and their respective lives, My Lovely Wife and I put on our pajamas, grabbed our pillows and entered the room that had once been theirs. We had never actually slept in the guest bed ourselves. We were like paranormal investigators determined to spend the night in a haunted house to prove — or disprove — the existence of ghosts.

We threw back the sheets, slid into bed and settled in for a good night’s sleep.

Or tried to. I’ve been trying to decide how to describe the noise that cursed bed made every time one of us moved a muscle. “Collapsing gantry” probably comes closest. Or “jackknifed plumbing supply truck.” Maybe “cutlery drawer tipped onto concrete floor.” Or “anchor chain dragged across galvanized sheeting.”

Anyway, we’re shopping for a new bed. You were right, girls. I’m sorry I ever doubted you.

Twitter: @johnkelly

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