A Bedtime Tale
We’ve tried to get our room back. We’ve tried transitioning. Bedtimes for us seem to be in a perpetual state of trial and error. For the past two weeks, Shawn and I have both been sleeping with Riley and Adrian in their big kids beds (which are squashed together into one big bed). We even have a pattern: kid, parent, kid, parent.
Did I ever think we’d be doing this co-sleeping thing? Maybe in the middle of the night after a bad dream, but certainly not from story-time on. But here we are.
How did we get here? It’s been an evolution of sleeping situations that started in the fall:
Part I: The shifting bed-time scene…
We set-up the big kid beds with the idea to have Riley and Adrian share a room, so Sidney could move into the nursery once she was born. But that didn’t work out as we had planned. Adrian wasn’t ready to leave his crib, and Riley wasn’t too interested in sleeping alone. For us, it was a battle we weren’t interested in dealing with because we had just moved over the summer and were getting ready to add Baby 3 to the mix. So Riley slept with us most nights and Adrian stayed in his crib.
When we had Sidney and came home from the hospital, we all started sleeping in the back playroom, Sid in her pack and play, Riley and I on the futon, and Shawn and Adrian on the blow-up bed. (This was supposed to be Stage 1 to transition Adrian to a big bed and Riley out of ours!)
When my parents came, we moved the big kids into our bed with Shawn, while I stayed in the playroom with Sidney, and my parents took the blow-up bed. (This was Stage 2.)
When my parents left, we started putting the kids to bed in their room. Yay! The problem was, they needed at least one of us to lay with them in order to keep them in bed and get them to sleep. For about a week, though, we had success. Shawn and I took over our room again, Sidney took the nursery, and the big kids took their beds. All was good! (Stage 3).
Part II: The slide back to co-sleeping…
In the middle of the night, kids started to cry and come to us again. Sometimes just one, sometimes both.
Then I started getting really tired and wanting to go to sleep around 8 once Sid was asleep, so I could wake up with her and get enough shut-eye. I went down with the big kids in their room, but my goal was to wake-up after a “nap.” That so did not work. Despite Shawn’s best efforts, I would stay asleep until Sidney or engorgement woke me up.
Shawn, not wanting to be left-out, started to sleep with us too. That’s where we are now.
Part III: An analysis…
Pros – Extra cuddle time. Fewer tears.
Cons – Less alone time. Habit-building??
Emotions – Honestly, some nights I am so tired I don’t care. But mostly, I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I love that Riley’s forehead is touching mine. I love hearing her tell me one more time, “I love you to Pluto and back” one more time before I fade. I love holding Adrian until he settles into sleep. On the other hand, I do feel a little guilty. Shouldn’t I be teaching my kids something about personal space and personal time? I don’t know. And I miss cuddling with my husband. Of course I miss that.
Part IV: Some conclusions for now…
Over time, I think our bed-time mess with sort its way out. And for now, while I’m tired and overwhelmed with the semester, I’m going to accept our sleeping situation – and enjoy those extra giggles, and cuddles, and hugs. I treasure the added moments I get to study their ever-changing features, now so smooth and delicate, so fresh – and, the time I have to take in the rise and fall of their breathing and reflect on how lucky I am to be their mom. All too soon, I know the kids will be bigger, big enough to WANT to sleep on their own. But for now they’re not and they don’t, and that means I can keep them close for a little while longer. Even as we sleep.