Friday, November 9, 2012

Everybody take a baby

I know I've told this story before but it bears repeating.  For a period of time when the girls were infants, Rich, Grammy and I all slept in separate bedrooms, each of us with one baby.  The idea was given to us by my friend, Regan, who had twins nine months before my girls were born.  The hope was that with only one baby to feed and care for during the night, we adults would sleep better.  At first, we set up a baby rotation program so that the girls wouldn't become accustomed or attached to one person.

When Rich returned to work, Allie, more often than not, became his baby for the night because she was the best sleeper.  Emily was the most restless sleeper and, more often than not, ended up in the bed with me.  By the time the girls were about 6 months old, we had discontinued the Everybody Take A Baby Sleep Program but Emily still ended up in our bed most nights.  We mentioned this to their pediatrician and he commented that if we didn't break her little habit, we would end up with a five year old in the bed with us.  Oh, how I laugh.

At some point, I accepted that the girls were going to seek us out in the middle of the night.  I accepted that I had made the decision to share a bed with one (or two) of them.  This doesn't mean that I'm always happy with that decision.  I've muttered, "I can't believe that I have to sleep on this bleeping pillowing pet." I've cursed.  I've complained.  But I've accepted.  My babies are no longer babies and that fact has been hitting home as of late.  I've also snuggled and cuddled and comforted.

Tonight, I feel a bit defeated though.

About three or four months ago, the girls regressed BIG time with their sleep habits.  Emily has been coming into our room and bed in the middle of the night almost every single night.  And when I say almost every single night, I think there has only been one night the past two months when she slept in her own bed all night.

Allie wakes me up and says that she needs me to sleep with her at least five nights a week.  At least five means that it could easily be every night of the week.  Anna, thank goodness, has been a heavy sleeper and she's usually good on her own.  Usually.

Last night was an example of a bad night.  Emily comes in at some point with her pillow pet, Little Lion and various members of the Gone Family.  She settles into bed with us and we all fall back asleep.  Then Anna appears so I go into her room and fall asleep in her bed with her.  Then Allie appears in Anna's room looking for me.  I tell Allie that after I go to the bathroom, I'll join her in her bed.  When I'm in the bathroom, Anna awakens, realizes that I'm missing and starts running bedroom to bedroom looking for me.  I have to negotiate with her so that she'll go back to sleep by herself while I spend some time with Allie.  Anna agrees and I fall asleep in Allie's bed with Allie.  Anna wakes me up right before six o'clock this morning.  I manage to sneak out of Allie's bed without her awakening.  Anna keeps saying that her tummy hurts so I cath her.  Allie wakes up and climbs into the bed with Rich and Emily, which wakes up Emily, who comes looking for me.  Emily joins me and Anna in Anna's bed.  She falls back asleep as does Allie.  Anna and I do not.  (Anna had some intestinal issues today which was the reason for her discomfort and inability to sleep this morning.  Poor baby. )

(I should note that the girls are getting enough sleep.  Last night was not the norm.  They have an early bedtime and sleep anywhere from 10 to 12 hours a night, which is average and adequate for their age.  If they do get up in the middle of the night, it is usually once (occasionally twice) but there are three of them, so that's three sleep disruptions for me.)  

I'm tired and ended up snapping at the girls tonight.  I also told them that they need to sleep in their own beds.  When I went to tuck Allie into bed, instead of telling me that she loves me she told me that she didn't like me because I had yelled at her for pulling up the tread on the treadmill.  Long story but yes, I could have taken a different approach.  I'm not perfect.  We discussed it and she even agreed that if she were me, she would have yelled at herself.  We then talked about her sleeping in her bed solo and she wasn't very convincing that she would even try so I told her that I was going to come into her room tonight and wake her up a few times.  When I asked her how she would like that, here was her response:

"That would be okay because then I could cuddle with my child.  It's my child so I would want to sleep with it."

Okay, so the use of "my child" and "it" made me smile but I also feel guilty.  Tonight's a new night and tomorrow's a new day.  I know.  (Parenting is not easy.)  


Mommy (Kelli) said...

Ohhhh... Burn from Allie!

Jess said...

Would it work if the girls slept together so that they could keep one another company?

Also, how about offering rewards? A sticker is earned for every night slept in their own bed. After x amount of stickers they can go to the store and pick out a prize.

Good luck! Mama needs some sleep!

Sally said...

I think this is much more common than people admit to. My parents also got me into this habit as a baby, and as a result I became scared to sleep by myself. I would get up in the middle of the night and go get in my mom's bed. I think she always just assumed I'd grow out of it, but I was still doing it in high school. Sometimes she would lock the door to keep me out. I was embarrassed that I did this, but I just couldn't stand to sleep alone. I felt so much safer and just so comforted sleeping next to my mom. I also liked to make sure I could always feel her; I'd have an arm over her, or make sure that my foot was touching her leg, or something, just so that I knew she was still there.

One day, junior year of high school, a bunch of us were hanging out and I don't remember how it came up, but one of my friends (who happened to be the most popular girl in our grade) mentioned that she still slept in her mom's bed every night. You should have seen the sheer relief on everyone's faces as almost everyone in our group admitted that they thought they were the only ones who still did this.

I didn't grow out of it until college, when I started to associate sleeping in the bed with someone with "shacking up." Once it took on a sexual connotation for me, I was repulsed by the idea of it. I think it actually hurt my mom's feelings a little bit when I came home from college and suddenly had no desire to sleep in her bed!

Deanna said...

Heh, suddenly I don't feel quite as frustrated that one or both of my twins has come to our bed every night for the last month or so. At least the four of us can fit in one bed without TOO much trouble.

Seriously, though, we are working on this issue as well. I have thought about a sticker chart like is mentioned above, but haven't had the energy to implement it yet. I know I will have to decide to fully commit or it will never work!

Jessica said...

Amen girl. Amen.

a_est said...

I was one of those kids who ended up in my parents room far too often. I've never had an easy time sleeping, even now 24 years later.

Anonymous said...

love this! Not so much for you but so I know I'm not alone... I hear once they get to college we can get some sleep!

Stacey L. said...

My husband works nights and he gets so frustrated when he comes home at 6am and at least on of our twins is in bed with me. I hate it, but one of the girls has nightmares, so she comes into our room. I figure she'll grow out of it. I hope. I guess I view it like bottles or diapers, they won't do it forever.

Nikki said...

Best of luck figuring out something that works! You will smile about this soon :) (once it's all over!)

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Anonymous said...

I never, ever allowed it, so it was never an option. Kids know the name of the game. They'll even get used to it to a point that their bodies will wake them up just to see you. If this kind of sleeping is okay with you, then fine, but if not, I promise you as soon as you stop letting it happen, they will realize they won't get it, and will stop waking up altogether.
If my kids wake up, I give them a hug, and send them on their merry way back to bed. I'm nice about it, but firm in my decision. Night time is when we all need a good sleep to re-energize, it's also a time to share with your partner, even if you're just sleeping, I strongly feel you need that time alone together.
Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

I gotta agree with the above. Its not an option in our house - you sleep in your own bed. I will give hugs and kisses and wlak back into their room, but that's it. My twins have slept in their own cribs/beds from day one. We all need sleep.