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.)
My Sweet Little Turkey Gets Sweeter
I share custody of Aubrey with her dad and the last couple days have been the first child-free days I’ve had in what feels like an eon. With Aubrey’s work schedule, the awards shows and then her dad travelling, it was non-stop gogogo, just Aubrey and me. It was fun, but exhausting. Like really exhausting.
After weeks like these, it’s always a bag of mixed emotions sending the kiddo off to her dad’s. Relief on one hand and sadness on the other. I do miss her and I miss having her here… except when I’m getting a full 7-8 hours of sleep. Then I’m feeling pretty ok about everything.
My friends with older kids have told me about this magical time when your child transitions out of the insanity of 3 and 4 years and turns into a delightful and charming 5 year old and I’m starting to see it happen!
Three into four was tough and I was warned. My wise mom friends said three into four makes the “terrible twos” feel like a cake walk in the park and they were right. Aubrey was a charming and easy two year old and compared to some of the insane 3 and 4 year olds I’ve met, she wasn’t too bad during her crazy days, but it was exhausting, nonetheless.
I’m happy to report the days of physical tantrums, the defiance, the crying for no apparent reason, the whining over every little thing… these things seem to be (I’m afraid to say it lest I jinx myself) GONE! Particularly over the last month, Aubrey has been the sweetest and easiest kid on the planet.
Even a few days ago, when I asked her to pick up her toys, she actually responded, “OK Mommy. I’ll do it right away!” WHAAAT?!! I almost died of a heart attack and I thought to myself, “OK, I must be doing SOMETHING right… Right?!”
She has been extra snuggly, extra sweet, extra cute, extra fun and extra polite. This recent development of super greatness makes me miss her even more when she’s gone.
My spring college shows start up this week which means more time away from my special pal. I’m proud of my career and so grateful to be working but I feel the pangs of guilt and thinking about these magical days slipping by so quickly breaks my heart. If only I could stay home with her when she’s so sweet and go on tour when she’s in time out. HA!
For any of you in the crazy days of three and four, there IS a light at the end of the tunnel! And to all the negative Nellys out there who have to chime in with, “Well just wait 10 years, it comes back!” Yeah yeah yeah, blah blah blah. I’m taking my cue from Aubrey and trying to live in the moment, enjoying these sweet, wonderful days when she still fits in my lap for as long as I possibly can.
MomsLA Post: My Sweet Little Nelly (And I'm Not Talking About The Rapper)
I have a new post up at MomsLA and it’s about something in this photo. And it’s not my kid…well not totally. Click to read:
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