Before we had kids, we decided that our bed would be OUR bed….no kids allowed. We would not have a family bed, we would no co-sleep with our children. All three of them were in the cradle in our room their first four months or so, but then we moved them into their cribs in their rooms. I even had a couch in Ryley’s room when he was an infant to sleep on with him after his 4:30 bottle. Once we transitioned to toddler beds, they were promptly put back into their rooms anytime they wandered into our room during the night. We’ve stuck by our “rule”…..Oh, we do Saturday morning snuggles, and do let them in when they’re sick with fevers. And we’ve gone through phases of bending the rule, allowing them in our room, but not in our bed, having them sleep on the floor beside our bed if they chose. I have my own sleep issues and having little bodies next to me, flopping and flipping around, kicking me in the head, or rolling over my legs can throw me off the deep end. I’m NOT a nice person if you wake me up during the night.
Ryley was such a good sleeper from the time he was four months old corrected (7 months actual). You could pick that kid up and throw him across the room and he’d stay asleep. A Mack truck could roll through his room and he’ll still sleep through it (which brings other issues, but I won’t go into that). Then came Grace, followed by Ethan…probably two of the crappiest sleepers ever. It’s only been within the past five months that Grace stopped waking me up at least three times a week at 3-3:30 in the morning, every morning. She didn’t always want to climb into our bed, or even sleep in our room. She just seemed to need to check in because she was awake. Thankfully, she has finally mastered just going back to sleep from her 3:30am wake-up call. Can I get an amen? Ethan is a yeller. He dreams vividly, kicks his wall (which is a shared wall between his room and ours) in his sleep, and shouts all night long. He’ll yell, “Momma!” over and over until I respond. He does not like to sleep in his bed. When this started with him, I thought it was because he was outgrowing his crib. So we bought him a toddler bed (and did battle to get him to stay in his room). We’d find him on our floor, on his floor, on the stairs, in his siblings’ rooms…..anywhere but his bed in his room. Hmmmm….enter a twin bed (the trundle from Grace’s bed). It helped, at first. But then the novelty wore off. We still regularly find him just about everywhere BUT his bed in his room. I heard him crying one night and went to comfort him, only to freak out completely when I couldn’t find him in his room. He wasn’t in Ryley or Grace’s rooms either. I ended up tracking him down on the rug under the dining room table downstairs.
Ethan started sneaking into our bed at night about two months ago. A silent attack at about 4am….I’d be hit with an arm across my throat or feet in my back. I fought it. When I’d catch him, or realize where he was, I’d take him back to his room, put him in his bed, cover him up, give him a kiss and tell him I loved him, followed by a “you need to stay in your room” admonition. These little nighttime adventures started really cutting into my sleep. It is much easier to just let him into our bed…requires less energy, gives me more sleep. So I find myself giving up entirely too often. Ethan’s figured this out. I used to have a set time…..before 5:30am, I’d send him back to his bed…after 5:30am I’d let him get in our bed. That time became 4:30 and last night it was 3:30. I know…I’m lazy. I just like my sleep.
I had an a-ha moment this morning too….Our kids are growing up. At nine, eight, and 5 1/2, how much longer are they even going to want to be in the same room as us, much less climb in our bed? What I insisted on when they were younger, and independence seemed so far away, is becoming less important. I’m seeing the passage of time; the writing is on the wall that our lives, our positions in our childrens’ lives, are going to change dramatically in just a few short years. So lately I’ve been tolerating the kick in the head, the arm across my throat, the feet in my back, because with it comes the whispered words “I love you Momma” and a snuggle. Who knows how long it will last?