Yes, it looks like peaceful bliss, but less so when you're laying underneath all of that lower leg and can't breathe. Oh, how I have dreaded this very day. Hear me out...
I know what you're thinking. "Well, I guess she's not into the whole co-sleeping thing." No, I'm not (she said unapologetically). When Dallas was an infant, I was simply too scared to do it. And now that he's a toddler, I just plain don't want to. I remember the very first night that I moved him from his co-sleeper next to my bed into his own room. He was five and a half months old and even though I knew it was the right thing to do, I will never forget crying myself to sleep that night. Just...that...night. Because once I stopped crying long enough to drift off to gorgeous, REM sleep, not waking up ten times a night for reasons like - the baby turned over, the baby talked in his sleep, and yes, the baby's still alive - I was more than happy to fold up that co-sleeper and throw it in the basement...or a nearby incinerator. You know, whichever I came across first.
At that point, I adopted a strict policy against Dallas sleeping in my bed. I know, it sounds harsh. I guess I've just listened to so many parents over the years complain endlessly about getting kicked in the face, kneed in the back and pushed out of bed altogether that I'm just not willing to endure that for love of the child. Here's my logic... This isn't 1906. We aren't a family of twenty people living in a two-room shack, peeing outside and rubbing sticks together to stay warm. I work this job and pay these bills to provide my child with his very own room. I even spelled his name out in big, white letters on the damn wall. As long as the room says "DALLAS", that's where he needs to sleep. Case closed.
Lately, though, my "strictly adopted policy" is falling short of perfection. Turns out, you can adopt policies (strict or otherwise) all day long while none of that sh*t is actually happening. So when my baby was locked up tight in that crib with nowhere to go all night long until I decided it was time to go and get him, all of my convictions, policies and assertions felt pretty tightly locked up too. So, of course, a couple of weeks before Dallas's third birthday I decided it was time to replace the front side of his crib with a toddler rail and give him a "big boy bed". It didn't occur to me that I would be waking up to my small person crawling into my bed at all hours of the night requesting snacks, TV shows and just generally wanting to chit-chat.
And as cute as it is to retrace all of the tiny little steps and decisions he makes to get from his bed into mine, it's difficult to fully appreciate them at 4:30am. I usually just mumble something at him like "Come on in, beans...let's go back to sleep." That usually works, but I still wake up with a small sleeping body awkwardly draped across my face or shoving me so close to the edge of the bed that I'm basically falling off and can no longer sleep unless I pick up his entire body and move him over, running the risk of waking him up. And since common sense dictates that if he sleeps, I sleep, it's perfectly logical to surmise that I would rather carve my own right eye out with a butter knife than wake this child. I just make like a mannequin and catch my last few Zs.
The only other rule I have adopted is what I like to call my 4am cutoff rule. If the child shows up in my room before 4am, we go back to his room and I put him back to his own bed. It stands to reason that just because he wakes up at 2am doesn't mean he's ready to party. Chances are, if I can coax Dallas back to his own bed and lay down on his floor, he will fall back to sleep and I can successfully sneak back into my own bed within twenty minutes if my mom game is truly on point - so, 95% of the time. 'Cause at 2am, you either tighten up your mom game quickly or it's gonna be a long night. Pretty sure I heard an amen. Whatever happens, though, I DON'T GET IN HIS BED. As tempting as that actual mattress is, don't fall for it. I've made that mistake. Once I got in the bed, I realized that there was no logical way to quickly and quietly sneak out of his bed without making all kinds of raucous. Mattress crackling, bed frame squeaking...I spent that entire night using a baby chick stuffed animal as a pillow and a baby blanket that would either cover my shoulders or my ankles. The crook I had in my neck for the next two days serves as my "never forget" moment. Bumper sticker complete with photo is in production.
Why am I telling you all of this? I forgot, exactly. But I think it has something to do with all of these things we have to give up as parents, and which ones we decide to try our hardest to hold onto come hell or high water. Do we eventually succumb to this one or that one? Of course. Are we going down without a fight? Hell no! Not this mommy. Sleep is precious and I am so lucky to have been blessed with such a great sleeper in Dallas. So why is he trying to rip it all away from me? What's that, you say? Because he's three and everything I cherish he seeks to destroy? Pssh...no, that's not true (she said sarcastically).
What is your stance on the family bed? Are you pro or con? This one's pretty personal so I'm expecting some strong opinions. Bring those comments!
Stay sane...in our own beds!