{Messy Parenting} Unintentional Co-Sleeper

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When Emily was born, Ben and I both agreed that she would sleep with us until we were ready.  By 6 months – when she started playing rather than sleeping with us, we moved her to her own bed.  We did the same routine for Andrew.  Initially, the kids slept better in their own bed than when crammed into ours with us.

And then came that magical age of 2, when pretty much everything changes for the, er, better.

Emily started having nightmares (typical for this age) and feeling scared about things in her room – shadows, monsters, bugs, etc.  We tried leaving the light on.  I went through months of checking on her every 5 minutes until she fell asleep.  She would do fine for a month and then would return to her previous freak-out-whenever-we-shut-the-door state.  (Yes, we did try keeping the door open but she would come out every 10 seconds.)

Soon, she was keeping Andrew up until 11 pm or later.  We finally had to separate them so Andrew, our fabulous sleeper, would get his much-needed sleep.

Once we moved to our new place, which was significantly smaller and had two rooms instead of the three, we used all our old tricks.  Once again, she started screaming and creating such a ruckus that we had to move her out of the room.  We put her the only space we had available: our room.  For a few weeks, she slept in our bed with us.  Then Ben and I came up with the brilliant idea of moving her bed into our room.  And we had two weeks of pure bliss.

But, the joy of having two kids close together is as one moves out of one stage the other one moves into it.  Andrew began having nightmares and fearing everything in his room.  We tried the same techniques we did with Emily for a couple of days and then said “screw it” and brought him into our room as well.

When Ben and I go to bed, we move the kids to the toddler bed and enjoy a nighttime of relatively few interruptions.  Funny how that works, huh?

Now if they could just learn to stay in bed and fall asleep before 10:30, Ben and I would not feel so overwhelmed (and would have some desperately needed couple time).

Have a messy parenting story you wish to share?  Share it in the comments or write your own blog post!

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “{Messy Parenting} Unintentional Co-Sleeper

  1. Over the years, we have gone through stages where she crawls in bed with us, never lasting very long, but we definitely revisit it. Recently her ten year old self discovered that she’s actually too big to crawl into bed with us anymore, there’s just not enough room, so we may finally have gotten through this. Maybe.

  2. You know my story is similar. There are moments I wonder why we even have bedroom for the girls. Oddly, for my middle girl, if I get her to bed early (starting the wind down at 6) she doesn’t wake at night. It’s a pain (kind of) but the sleep is brilliant.

  3. aunt sue

    I remember when your lovely husband was a wee lad of about 3 and HATED to sleep alone (night fear)–or at least with just Eli in the room. One time he toddled out to the living room where I was hanging out with his parents and he said tearfully that he was afraid he’s stop breathing when he wnet to sleep. Poor little Ben! So anxious! Then his quick-thinking dad went and got a little houseplant (I think it was a 4-inch cactus!) and said he’d put it in his room to be safe because plants produce oxygen, and he’d never run out of air. Worked like a wonder! [And for the record, we only tried once to make Henry sleep alone in his crib, but after the third night hours-long sobbing and screaming–from a normally happy little boy–we looked at each other and said “Why are we doing this again?” Peer pressure. He came back to bed with us, wrapped up like a burrito, and the rest is history.] love, Susan “Attachment Parenting” Turner

  4. aunt sue

    I remember when your lovely husband was a wee lad of about 3 and HATED to sleep alone (night fear)–or at least with just Eli in the room. One time he toddled out to the living room where I was hanging out with his parents and he said tearfully that he was afraid he’d stop breathing when he went to sleep. Poor little Ben! So anxious! Then his quick-thinking dad went and got a little houseplant (I think it was a 4-inch cactus!) and said he’d put it in his room to be safe because plants produce oxygen, and he’d never run out of air. Worked like a wonder! [And for the record, we only tried once to make Henry sleep alone in his crib, but after the third night of hours-long sobbing and screaming–from a normally happy little boy–we looked at each other and said “Why are we doing this again?” Peer pressure. He came back to bed with us, wrapped up like a burrito, and the rest is history. I’m just sayin’..] love, Susan “Attachment Parenting” Turner

  5. I don’t fault anyone doing what it takes to get a good night’s sleep. I am very lucky that both of my kids were good sleepers. I remember when I was a single parent with Javi for his first year and there was one night where he cried for hours and hours. I acutely remember wanting to throw him out the window just so I could rest. The crying ended and we’ve been well rested ever since. I knew — and I guess the universe knew, too — that I couldn’t be the parent of a child with sleep issues. Good for you for figuring out how to make it work for everyone!

  6. Tamar

    After reading your story I feel like I am very lucky. I have two kids too, a boy and girl, and they are really good sleepers. Thanks a lot for sharing.