Some parents believe strongly in the benefits of co-sleeping with their children and choose to have a family bed. We are not such a family, although I don’t think my kids got that memo.
I’m not denying the advantages to having a nursing child by your side throughout the night. I am not arguing the value of snuggle time with your kids. The fact is, for me, I need my space. I need to spread out to get comfortable. The pillows need to be arranged just so. I just can’t relax when I have a 5-year-old’s foot in my neck.
Let’s take the other night, for example. First, the twelve-year-old joined us. This is unusual as she has always been our best sleeper. She just couldn’t get sleep so she decided to make sure I couldn’t sleep, either. OK, so that wasn’t her goal, but that’s how it turned out. We have a queen sized bed and I was in the middle of our three adult-sized bodies (she’s 5’6”) and I was feeling claustrophobic. After a few minutes of quality time (or as long as I could stand it) I mustered up enough energy to kick her out of the bed. With love, of course.
About an hour later, another body climbed into bed next to me. Why do they always pick my side??? I assumed it was the same daughter, but this time it was the youngest. Even though there is a two feet height difference between the two, I couldn’t tell until I did the facial “pat-down”. Smack, smack…yep…there’s a nose…pull, pull…I think those are bangs…must be the youngest. All of this semi-conscious activity woke me enough to realize I needed to empty my bladder. When I returned to bed, I had to physically shove the sleeping Princess over to find enough room to lie down. I was just too tired to carry her back to her own bed.
A little science lesson for you: although the human body contains a lot of fluid, I think most would agree that the body is a solid. However, the Princess is liquid. If you look up the definition of a liquid, you will learn that liquids spread to take the shape of their container. So does this little girl. If you move and expose even the tiniest bit of mattress, she will immediately fill it. Likewise, if you roll on your side and expose a good amount of surface area, she will fill it. You are out of luck. You are never getting that space back.
After sleeping (kind of) for a bit more, Mr. Dude walked into the room half asleep. He stood up on the bed and surveyed the situation. His sister occupied the coveted Spot Next to Mommy and there wasn’t room on Daddy’s side of the bed. Before I was awake enough to fully comprehend what was going on, he squirmed his way between my husband and me. At that point I was awake enough to comprehend – comprehend that I wouldn’t sleep much at all for the night.
I contemplated what to do. I considered getting up and finding another place to sleep but the options weren’t appealing. Squeezing into the 5-year-old’s kid-sized bed wasn’t an option. Mr. Dude had been sleeping on the couch, but that didn’t sound appealing, either. When I kicked the Dancer out of our bed she climbed into Mr. Dude’s vacant bed so that was taken, too. The only other bed that was empty was the top bunk in the girls’ room. Uh, no thanks.
Instead, I spent the rest of the night/morning staring at the clock and calculating how long it would be before the alarm would go off and I could kick everyone out of the house then go back to bed. I know I dozed some, but not what I would call quality sleep. R, E, and M were just miscellaneous letters in the alphabet.
Please don’t think I am arguing against so-sleeping. If it works for your family, great. It just doesn’t work for me. Hey, I think I’m being generous letting my husband share the bed. At least he doesn’t stick his feet in my face.