These days I value sleep more than any other past time made available to me. My big dream in life is to simply be able to dream whenever I feel like it. I seldom get to do that.
Caffeine only goes so far when it comes to sleep deprivation, so you really need to do whatever it takes to get a full night of sleep. If that means taking a foot to the face every so often, so be it.
I’m talking about co-sleeping. It’s a topic that every parent secretly or openly has their own opinion about. Our culture is mostly against it, so I feel that a lot of the time parents won’t willingly admit how frequently they give in. Apparently the majority of Americans really like freedom of mobility when they sleep. It is a free country after all, so why on earth would anyone surrender their freedom to stretch out and occupy all that prime bedding real estate?
It’s really surprising to me that more people don’t actually enjoy having a pint-sized furnace crush their limbs and sweat profusely where they sleep. Some mornings I have a really hard time deciphering whether it is sweat, drool, or piss on which my elbow is resting. This is only difficult because she produces equal ratios of all three liquids. Animals in the wild sleep with the pack, so it only makes sense that your child (who is wild in every sense of the term) wants to sleep with mom and dad. You are their pack, it’s instinctual.
On a positive note, I’ve developed a superb self-defense technique and I am now blessed with the ability block tiny punches and headbutts with my eyes closed. Ok, maybe blocking isn’t the correct word. It’s more like gracefully accepting an unexpected blow to the nose without flinching. Why on earth are toddlers such violent sleepers? I think mine dreams about fighting Chuck Norris. I haven’t received any black eyes, but my legs never fail to look like spoiled bananas.
My daughter slept in our room from day one in a bassinet beside our bed. The place where she slept looked more like a prison cell because even the slightest piece of comfort was not worth risking a suffocation or a choking hazard. I don’t think anything brings more anxiety to new parents than listening to an infant sleep. Keeping her in our room meant that we could relax and although she had no blankets, she was comforted to know we were close by.
Now here we are, two years later, and more often than not my toddler still ends up right next to me only now she’s in my bed. It’s just a place to sleep. I know I’m breaking all the rules of parenting by giving in, but if allowing her to snuggle up next to me means she and I both get a full night of sleep then that’s all I care about. We all go to bed happy and we all wake up happy. Well, ok, maybe all except my poor husband who was hoping to get a little something-something (but that’s another blog).
I know the primary reason I am so against crying it out at bedtime is mostly due to the guilt of not being there for her during the day while I am at work. We only have a small window of time together during the week, so if she is simply asking to be close to me because she’s uneasy at bedtime then I am totally going to hug that little girl until she sleeps peacefully, knowing that she is loved and not alone.
I’ve known enough moms in my lifetime who would trade anything, anything at all… including their own comfort if it meant spending one last night snuggling their baby. I’m blessed enough to have my baby to hold in my arms at night and I will never forget that. She will not be this small forever and life is too short to put so much focus on these small battles.
She’ll sleep an entire night in her bed when she’s ready, and I know she won’t be in mine forever. I am just hopeful that day will come before we send her off to college.
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