People Want To Sleep With Me
OK, well just ONE person. My kid.
I’m feeling V-E-R-Y conflicted about one of those ridiculously “big” parenting issues. Well, it seems to only be big and controversial here in the US, but I’m talking about co-sleeping. In laymen’s terms, that would be “letting your kid sleep in bed with you.”
There are various reasons people choose to co-sleep or not and the biggest controversies surround infant co-sleeping when there is a supposed danger of rolling over on your tiny little person and smothering it. I’m waaaay past those years and I’m not having anymore kids, so I don’t give a crap about that. I’m talking about Aubrey. My 6, almost 7 year old who has been a champion sleeper all of her life. She still is, for the most part and 99% of her life she has slept independently, in her own room and bed and slept VERY well.
Lately, she has been asking to sleep in bed with me and getting emotional about it. This happens maybe once or twice a week. Generally, I do not cave. I re-state my reasons why and after a hug and kiss and a reminder that I’m right across the hall if she needs me, I close the door on a teary eyed little girl and she is asleep within a minute or too.
Recently, during one of these episodes, I asked her why she wanted to sleep with me so badly, she stated that she didn’t want to be alone. And I said to her, “But you’re not alone! You have Nelly (that’s her security item – an elephant). You have all of your stuffed animal buddies…” And she retorted, wailing, “But I just want to sleep with someone who’s ALIVE!!!!!!!! Ahhhhhhh!!!” Don’t we all, honey? Don’t we all?
She DOES know how to push my buttons, so it’s a hard call to make. Some nights are more emotional than others and I can tell there is a direct correlation between her non-sleep related anxieties and her level of crying. Tonight, the asking started early and I knew right away it was because she’s thinking ahead about a 10-day trip she is taking with her dad. She loves her dad, but she is already worried about missing me. We had a really great day together today and she was feeling particularly close to me. When she first asked and I told her no, she started to collapse. After some discussion, I finally told myself, “What the fuck? She’s going to be on the trip in 2 nights anyway, so who gives a shit?” (Yes, I do curse that much, even in my own head.) I was also too tired to deal with crazy crying at the end of a long day, so I caved and said yes.
The funny thing is, she’s dead asleep right now and I’m not even with her. I’m in the dining room writing. Honestly, I think she just wants to sleep on my bitchin’ memory foam mattress.
I would never let this become a habit. The only exceptions I have made in the past are when we travel and share a bed in a hotel or my parents’ house, if she is sick (which is rare) or the ONE time she woke up during the night and was scared. I’m not kidding… once. She really is an amazing sleeper and I think a big part of this is because I have worked hard to foster healthy, independent sleeping patterns. I try not to judge anyone who co-sleeps. I don’t know their kid or family situation intimately and it’s your kid. You do what you want. My opinion; what I experienced in my own childhood, heard of from some other close friends’ and witnessed with my own kid, is that allowing long-term co-sleeping fosters and encourages a child to act on and embrace irrational fears. I think it’s super far from the worst thing you can do as a parent and I’m fine with other parents doing it if they feel it’s right for their family. But is sure is hard to say, “no” when they are begging you through teary eyes. And I’m no iron fisted rule-enforcer. Clearly, I said yes, tonight. So what I’m trying to find out now is, how much is too much? What is ok for us?
I’m not asking for you to answer these questions and I’m not even asking for your opinions because clearly, I have my own. But I’m curious – if you’re willing to share and you can DM me if you want – I’d love to hear from you! Can you answer this question for me:
*Did YOU sleep in bed with your parent(s) on a long-term basis as a child and how do you feel about it now as an adult?
*And if you are a parent, did your own sleeping arrangements as a child affect your decisions on sleeping as a parent? Please let me know!
(OK – last blog I stated that the next item on the table was HOMESCHOOLING – but I lied. Homeschooling got preempted by CO-SLEEPING. The HOMESCHOOLING shit hits the fan next. Promise.)