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.)