Black Bear mother and cubs in den (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My husband and I celebrated our eleventh anniversary this weekend. We kept it low key and went out to dinner with all three kids and had a great time. But the best part of the day? When our brand new king-sized bed was delivered. I had been begging for a king for years because my older sister (and mother of four) told me the best piece of baby equipment she and her husband owned was a king-sized bed. But my husband kept saying our room was too small (he did have a point), we’d have to buy all new sheets in king-size (another good point), and he didn’t think we should spend the money (and there I heartily disagreed).
Since none of our kids have been great sleepers (read my blog “When Will My Babies Sleep Through the Night? Maybe Never,”) we ended up co-sleeping by default. I liked the idea of co-sleeping anyway, I mean, baby bears don’t sleep in a nearby den do they? And yet, I was nervous about rolling over on a newborn or having a baby fall out of the bed. In the end, it was our babies themselves who made the choice. They woke so often to nurse or for a snuggle that it just didn’t make sense for us not to sleep together. It was the only way any of us got any sleep (and sleep is very good thing).
Having a queen-sized bed and one newborn was not a problem. Even when Kate was born and Lauren was two and a half, it was still ok. Lauren loved her crib. We didn’t rush her into a big girl bed because Kate was sleeping in bed with us or in the bassinet in our room and if Lauren was happy in the crib and staying in it all night, who was I to mess with that?
When Cooper was born however, things changed. Never have I had a child so physically and emotionally attached to me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s wonderful having my little Mama’s Boy but it’s new to me. Both of our girls are very independent. Cooper, much less so. At three and a half he’s happy to go to school but as an infant and young toddler, it was Only Mama or Big-Time Drama. This holds true today if he is hurt or tired or waking up in the middle of the night. I don’t think that there has been a single night since Cooper was born that he hasn’t ended up in bed with us. Have I attempted to get him back to his own bed? Sure. Yes. Did I give up rather quickly since we have a small house and Cooper screams really loudly? Yes. Yes. Yes. Call me “one of those mothers who doesn’t follow through” or “a parent who allows bad behavior,” if you must. But I’d much prefer to be called an exhausted mother of three who just wants everyone in the family to get some sleep: my husband who needs to get up to go to the office, the girls who have to get up to go to school, and bleary-eyed, coffee-siphoning, yoga-pants wearing me. Oh, and Cooper, our littlest family member who won’t be doing this forever.
The image of our sleeping baby boy, feeling safe and secure, nestled between his two parents is a nice one. The reality however, is often more like this: a large, sweaty, toddler sleeping horizontally between us (is it better to have the drooling end or the kicking end?)….or a large sweaty toddler donkey-kicking the covers off of his two shivering parents…or a large sweaty toddler attached to his mother like an adorable, sleep-sucking parasite while she clings to the edge of the bed in unnatural positions, trying to fill every millimeter of space she can find despite the LOVE that is both pushing her both off the edge of the bed and off the cliff of sanity, into the dark waters of sleep-deprivation below.
Last night was our first in our new, gloriously roomy, gigantic bed. We went to bed alone but we woke up both Kate and Cooper in the bed and the dog. So did we need this bed? Was it worth the money?? Yes, yes, and yes! And guess what? Now my husband can’t believe we waited this long.
Do you have plenty of room to get your Zzzzzzzzs or are you cramped with cuddlers?