To Sleep, Perchance to Dream of Sleeping in Past 7 a.m.

Last night I slept all night in our bed for the first time in a few days. Amelia has a spring cold and woke up coughing about 3 a.m. Wednesday. I gave her medicine and we snuggled and rocked in the recliner for about an hour and then out of sheer desperation I did something I NEVER do. I put her in bed with us in order to get some sleep. I ended up fitfully sleeping while clinging to a sliver of our queen size mattress, barely covered by the sheet and blankets, from about 4 a.m. to 7 a.m. It’s a good thing I don’t operate heavy machinery at work.

Maureen Dowd has an article in this week’s New York Times, about many parents doing the bedtime shuffle with their children without protest. Their own comfy bed might be claimed by a sprawled out 5-year-old as they sleep in separate bedrooms with their other children but they shrug it off because they confess they will do anything to get a good night’s sleep. Now at our house we may give in to requests for just one more chocolate chip cookie or one more episode of Dora or one more minute in the bathtub until little fingers and toes can’t get any more water-logged or prunier, but by God our bed is OURS. We even banned our dog Bailey from sleeping with us when I got pregnant with Caitlin and could no longer handle her hot doggy breath on my ankles.

On Wednesday springtime blossomed in my nasal passages with its annual post-nasal drip. I had a difficult time going to sleep and then Caitlin woke up about 2 a.m. thirsty and wanting a drink and then Amelia woke with the 3 a.m. coughing yet again, only this time the hubby got up with her, rocked her, and put her back in her crib. Of course then the hubby and I were both wide awake. Because God loves to push the sanity buttons, a storm front was also blowing through in the wee hours of the morning and Bailey, who gets extremely nervous during storms, burrowed her 40-pound hot dog body inbetween the hubby and I.

Do you willingly co-sleep with your children, or are you like us…willing to do anything (including bribe your 4-year-old with a calendar sticker reward system and the promise of trips to the dollar store) to keep your kids in their own bed? One of the most difficult things about having a newborn baby was the lack of sleep. I may sound like a cold-hearted mother, but I was thrilled to move both girls from the bedside bassinet in our room to a crib in their own room.

Children need boundaries. Like, it’s OK if you eat chicken nuggets in front of the TV, but you better not take that neon blue popsicle into the den missy.

I know there are circumstances where co-sleeping cannot be avoided, especially with babies, but I need my sleep, my husband needs his sleep, and my idea of blissful slumber doesn’t involve sharing a bed with my kids while they knee me, elbow me, and hog the bed covers.

Besides, it’s bad enough that I’m apparently not going to get to sleep in for the next 16 years or so, as at least one of the girls insists on waking by 7 a.m. even on the weekends.

22 comments

  1. Charla says:

    The first go’round we co-slept because 1.) it made him sleep ALL NIGHT LONG at a mere 1.5 weeks old and 2.) I am lazy.
    He finally got out of our bed at age 2.5, but he still occationally wanders to us in the middle of the night. If it is before 3:30ish, hubby puts him back in his own bed; if it’s after, we just leave him.

    With our sweet little girl,(don’t hate me for saying this), she slept all night from BIRTH! She started out in one of those co-sleeper things beside me in the bed, and she would usually grunt and wiggle around 3 or 4. I would just pull her out of it and snuggle with her and she instantly went back to sleep until 6:30ish. At 2 months, hubby put her in her crib in her own room, and she slept all night long – we’re talking 9:00 to 7:00. She’s been there since.
    You are not a bad mommy for wanting your own bed. In fact, I’ve already told hubby that if this baby wnats to sleep with us we’re going to have to get a king size bed…I’m too old to be cramped up and uncomfortable all night long.

  2. Bluegrass Mama says:

    We have never encouraged the co-sleeping thing, though exceptions were made for things like thunderstorms. But by the time the kids were 4 or so, that meant they could sleep on the floor in our room–NOT in the bed.

    With our daughter sick the last couple of days (and those same thunderstorms coming through our area), dh has ended up sleeping in the guest room with Emily (twin beds in there, as she is too old to be sleeping with Daddy). He did come back to our bed once she was asleep last night, then she came in around 2 and read him the riot act. She ended up on our floor.

  3. RichieAnn says:

    Oh my…I could not agree with you more. We co-slept with Soren the first few months because I just didn’t know any better. It was a big mistake but I did it because I couldn’t get any sleep any other way. At 10 months I put my foot down. I made my husband swear that the kid would stay in his crib all night no matter how much he cried. Now, he hates to sleep in our bed…lucky us! I’m definately not going to make that mistake with the second one.

  4. R*belle says:

    We are just like you it sounds. We kept each of them in our room for a while in a basinette and then moved them into their own crib. They are both independent sleepers, Beaux even says “Get off my bed mommy” if I stay there too long after reading him a story.

  5. Renee says:

    Yes, yes, yes! I co-sleep with John every night and don’t mind a bit b/c I’ll do anything for sleep. I can’t survive without lots of it.

  6. R*belle says:

    You know, I just read the article and SHEZUS! I can’t believe people are paying sleep consultants and all that BS. This is the time where John Rosemond and I align forces.

  7. Jill says:

    My husband would never allow co-sleeping. The closest I get it sitting in bed giving baby a bottle if it’s the middle of the night. The only time I wished I could put the baby/child in bed with me is when they were tiny. But, in the long run putting the child in their own crib/bed is the best for everyone.

  8. Blonde Mom says:

    I actually fell asleep once breastfeeding Caitlin while sitting upright in our bed. I dozed off and woke up and she was under the blanket. That pretty much scared the living you know what out of me and after that I always nursed the girls in our den in the recliner.

    Now if the girls are sick our whole routine is topsy turvy and I’ll inevitably end up in bed with Caitlin or on the couch or recliner with Amelia.

    But as far as a day to day norm, the hubby and I claim our bed as our territory!

  9. Amy says:

    The boys all slept in that bassinet by my side of the bed so I could hear them make even the slightest squeek. They didn’t sleep in the bed with us, but when it was time to go to the big crib in their own room, I cried everytime! We all survived and now occassionaly there is a child so close to my face that I can feel him breath, but doesn’t touch me, to tell me he can’t sleep. How can they get that close in the dark without touching you at all? Aaron did wander around when he was in his toddler bed and we would find him asleep in the hallway in the mornings, right outside our room curled up in the floor. He wouldn’t come in our room. It was funny. I think the dog kept him out because the door was always opened. Cameron will probably wander around too. Evan is the close to your face boy that in a LOUD whisper says “MAMA!” so close I have almost hit him in the head while trying to get up to see what is wrong!

  10. malia says:

    For the most part it’s everyone in their own bed. However, there are the times of desperation when it’s just easier to let them sleep with you instead of rousing every 1/2 hour to answer a cry/plea for attention and help.

    Sweetpea’s been having some weird nighttime pains, various areas of her legs & feet mysteriously start hurting in the middle of the night. We think it may be an attention getting tactic since a few nights ago she kept waking us up with her pathetic crying and wailing. David finally told her to get in bed with us and she miracuoulsy slept just fine for the rest of the night! ::sigh::

  11. sweatpantsmom says:

    Great post! I’m with you – I think kids do better in their own beds. Our pediatrician urged us to move our babies into their own beds as soon as possible and I’m glad we listened.

  12. Jimmy says:

    Buddy ( the large,spoiled German Shepherd )

    Likes to sleep on the bed like a person – long ways, head on pillow, staring at you..once I rolled over onto to his fully outstretched legs and he growled menacingly….one less T Bone that day !

  13. mayberry says:

    Our problem is a difference of opinion between me and the one that’s supposed to be sharing my bed all the time. He doesn’t mind a little company. I do. Thankfully, it happens rarely, but if it does, I escort the visitor back to her own bed asap.

  14. Liza says:

    We rarely do co-sleep with our kids in our own bed…but there are times we do…
    …like with the thunderstorm…think of it as being Maria on the Sound of Music…remember that scene..when they started to sing “These are a few of my favorite things?”..OK, I digress…this is what “lack of sleep” do to human brain… I’m rambling… Hope you get more sleep tonight…

  15. Emily says:

    We (meaning I) try to escort Jackson to bed when he wanders into our room (he got way spoiled on sleeping when I was pregnant with a broken leg, because I am the only one that really puts any effort in making sure he sleeps in his bed). However, a lot of times I am so tired that I either just let it slide, or don’t even know he’s in bed with us until I wake up with him right there!

  16. Pattie says:

    Jamie,
    Hey!
    I never allowed my children to co-sleep with us. I needed them to be in their own beds so that I could get a good night’s sleep. And you know what? They actually prefer to sleep in their own rooms I think everyone needs a little space. Not to mention, the hubby and I deserve alone time!

  17. Blonde Mom says:

    Pattie:

    I’m with you. Thankfully Caitlin never comes to our bed in the middle of the night although I have gone to her room plenty of times over pleas for a drink of juice or milk. Of course she woke me up this morning at 6:15 excited about her cousin’s birthday party.

    We’re about to move Amelia to a twin bed, though.

    EEK! Wish us luck. 😉

  18. anna says:

    I might have gone for the family bed, but my Mate is like the princess in The Princess and the Pea. The slightest disturbance and he is tossing and turning all night. That said, there were many nights when someone found his way into our bed.

    I thought the article in the NY Times was just a set up to get people swinging their bats at another parenting pinata.

  19. Colleen says:

    Delaney has slept in her crib since her first night home from the hospital after her birth. There were even a few times when she was sick that I begged her to sleep with us so we could get some rest, but she won’t do it. Somehow we got lucky on our recent trip to Grandma’s where she actually slept in a strange crib.

    Have you tried taking turns with your husband when it comes to getting up on the weekends? Saturdays are my day to sleep in and my husband sleeps in on Sundays. Although, one of his big reservations to having another child is that we’d never get to do that (take turns sleeping in, that is). He said that with two, we’d always both have to get up.

    Since you have two kids can you tell me if taking turns would work or is that something we’d definitely have to give up if #2 came along?

  20. Blonde Mom says:

    Colleen:

    I think it just depends on your children. Amelia is youngest and will sleep in until 8 or later if I let her but I always wake her up by 7:15 on a work day and 8 on weekends. Since I’m off on Fridays and the hubby works a lot of Saturdays I usually don’t mind getting up with Caitlin. And she definitely defers to me in the mornings. Plus I almost always go to bed before the hubby.

    I think if you’re taking turns now, though, and it works I don’t see why it wouldn’t continue to work unless your second child wants mama in the mornings no matter what! That’s the thing with kids; they are all different and it’s hard to know how the family dynamic will work out once you have two children.

  21. Blonde Mom says:

    A Sunday update…

    Caitlin actually slept past 7 today and woke the hubby up first. Woo hoo.

    But I feel compelled to add that he cooks dinner about 75 percent of the time so getting up with the kids on the weekends isn’t a bad tradeoff since I don’t like cooking. 😉

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