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.