I was one of those. “I’m never gonna put my kids in my bed. I don’t care if they cry all night…they will learn to sleep in their own bed.” Well guess what happened? Then I actually HAD a kid…and everything I said before turned into crap.
Kennedy, like most kids, is very observant. Even as a baby, I felt like she knew what was going on around her even in her sleep. The minute we would turn out a light or get into the bed, she was up and looking around. “I’m just going to hold her close to me here in my bed until she falls asleep. Then, I will go put her right back into her crib.” Well, then I wake up and my alarm is going off and this sweet angel is still sleeping next to me. *sigh* It’s ok for this one night…
Finally, we got into a routine. She would fall asleep on the sofa, and I would put her into her own bed. She slept all night! Victory! Then, a couple of weeks later, she got a sinus infection and couldn’t breathe through her nose when she was lying down. So I brought her with me and held her upright so she would sleep comfortable all night. That was the end of our winning streak.
Jules was a little different. Jules had acid reflux and colic terribly for the first four months. She cried all the time. She would get colicky right around 9pm (when we were getting into bed.) I would pace the floor bouncing and bouncing until she would settle. I would oh so carefully place her into her cradle next to my bed, careful not to move her much or make the slightest sound. I would crawl into my bed in the slowest motion possible…making NO sound. Yes! She stayed! 10 minutes…15 minutes…Hallelujah! I would settle and close my eyes and pray. Then I would hear that baby grunting noise. People who have kids know what this sounds like. They grunt like a baby pig and start wiggling around. NOO!!!!! Maybe she will fall back asleep if I keep quiet. More grunting. I start to hear the cradle creak since she is moving around so much. Then she wakes…and starts screaming all over again. Back to pacing and bouncing. It’s midnight now, and I have to work in the morning. The alarm will go off at 4:30am…if I hold her now, I can get a good 4.5 hours of sleep. So that was that…
Every single night they start off in their beds…I do have the rule that they cannot come into our bed and fall asleep. Occasionally we have a golden child that sleeps through the night in her bed…occasionally. However, they never BOTH do it at the same time. Since Jules was born, they have both slept in their beds by themselves all night TWICE. TWICE! Twice, in 18 months, my husband and I have slept by ourselves in our bed (with our kids being home). I know it’s our own fault, but it is what it is.
I have tried them in their own beds. I have tried them in Kennedy’s bed together. I have tried putting pillows around them to make it feel like a person. I have tried a sound machine, humidifier, more PJs, less PJs, leaving the TV on for sound, leaving a light on….you name it. The cry out method was even attempted. Reality is…we have to get up and be productive at a job in the morning. We need sleep. So if letting the kids get in our bed just so everyone can get a couple of hours of sleep is the answer, then so be it.
Is it so terrible that they want to be close to us? I know we need to teach them to be independent, but they will not be little like this forever. Snuggling with your parents in their bed will get a little awkward in high school.
I try to remember that when I feel knees in my back. I try to remember to have patience when I turn over and get a toe right in the middle of my eye. Or when I wake up in pee (not from myself or Seth). I know it won’t be like this for long, so I need to remember to be grateful that my babies NEED us right now. Before long, they will not need us anymore and won’t WANT to be close to us anymore.
So until then, we will keep doing what we are doing. Our family of four in our king sized bed. Occasionally we have Harley too…fireworks and thunderstorms are his enemy. I am not embarrassed! I know we are not the only family like this!
And just to give you a little taste of how Kennedy sleeps…