I woke up this morning at 5 am to the sound of my husband's alarm. I rolled over, as much as I possibly could since there was a 4 year old sleeping with her elbow in my face. I poked her and quietly whined for her to move over just a little bit since her 41 lbs took up the majority of our queen size bed (I mean, come on! How does that even happen?) As she smiled at me in her sleep, I stared at her half wanting to drag her back to her bed, the other half of me wanting to pull her closer and not let go.
If you read the About Me, section, you would see that I have two babies. Our son is soon to be 8 years old and our daughter is almost 5. That's it. We are done reproducing. No more "babies". It's funny, with our little man, we were so "by the book". I mean, seriously, I read everything. What to eat while pregnant, birthing plans, baby names, breast feeding vs bottle feeding, organic food, making your own baby food, etc, etc. One thing that my husband and I agreed on was that our child would sleep in their own bed from day one. Think about it. They told us not to let our puppy sleep in bed with us when we got her but she was so stinking cute, and I thought, it's just while she is little...Ten years later, Olive, our Lab/Sharpe 40lb dog, is the other women in our bed. So you see, in our new parent eyes, we saw a lifetime of sharing our bed with our son.
Things changed for me because I was a breast feeding mom and it was easy and convenient to just pop him in bed next to me and have him latch on. Husband was not so much on board. Guess what? We made it though. Those long nights of sitting outside of our son's room, crying while we waited out his crying himself to sleep. We handled the crib to toddler bed transition with our first before our second one came along. Boy, was she easier. All that stuff I leaned with number one, most went out the door with number two. Instead of sterilizing that binky that feel on the floor, I popped it in my own mouth before I gave it to her. Pack a giant diaper bag? Heck no! I was a walking bottle factory and running on way less sleep this time around. I tossed a diaper and wipes in my purse and made sure I had my hooter hider.
Maybe it was the lack of sleep or the new mom of baby #2 guilt. I went through a phase where I used to climb into bed with my first born because I felt that he thought I didn't love him as much as before since my time was being split with the new baby. Any one else here go through a crazy phase after baby two was born? Now that my babies aren't really babies anymore, I am fine with them sneaking into my bed at night or in the early morning because one day, they won't do that anymore.
I am personally against co-sleeping. In our home, our bedroom is our quiet place where we go to get rest and power up for what the next day has in store for us. We have even added a gate so that our doggies can't disrupt out sleep. But I know what I need and I know what my kids need (I like to think I know what hubby needs. I'm just putting it right out there, when it comes to our kids, my needs trump his. Sorry babe.) Here is what I know:
I know that once a week, I fall asleep with my son in his bed. He still wants me to hold him and snuggle with him. He tells me how much he loves me. We talk about anything he wants to, karate, space, pizza, school, the President song he is learning. Anything. My little man isn't so little anymore. He stopped holding my hand out in public. Sometimes he will grab it and realize what he did and shove his hands in his pocket. It breaks my heart. So if he needs me one night a week for snuggle time, I'm there.
I know that if either child sneaks in at 3:47 am (Yes, that is usually when I wake to see my daughter standing there all Children of the Corn like), I don't ask questions. I lift the covers and let them in.
I know that when I wake up at 4:05 am because there is a little person, literally laying on top of me, that it is my job to move over, teetering on the edge of the bed so that they can be comfortable.
I know that I am one person, but I am mommy and as great as a dad my husband is, he isn't mommy. When they are sick, or tired or had a bad day, it's mommy that they want to hold them. My husband is a trooper and always gives up his spot in bed so I can hold a sick baby in comfort.
I know that almost every morning, my daughter sneaks into bed with us, just to snuggle, so she can "hold me" and I am OK with that because one day, she will stop coming in. My husband can't wait for that day. He is over the kicking and blanket stealing but I am not. Once she stops coming in, that's it. I won't get that back.
As I sit here a little teary eyed from thinking about the inevitable, I will gladly take the mild back pain from sleeping with a 5 year old in a twin bed with 12 stuffed animals (one being a giant hot red pepper named Pepperchino). I'll take stubbing my toe stumbling through the dark while I make my way back to my bedroom. I'll take the very edge of the bed so one or both can take the middle. I will take the coverless nights for the warmth of their cuddling. I will gladly take the early AM wake up calls for the chance to watch my babies sleep. I will take every minute I can because they are only young once and I don't want to miss anything and I don't want them to miss anything either.
My husband and I never went for co-sleeping. Each kid has their own bedroom with bed sheets that they love (Star Wars and Hello Kitty for right now) But I have convinced him that this sleeping arrangement wont last forever and if this helps them know how much we love them, the the sacrifices are worth it. So let me apologize now for passing judgement on all those parents I knew that let their kids sleep in bed with them here and there. I did that before I had my own cuddle bugs. And just because it works for our family, doesn't mean it will work for everyone.