Friday, July 9, 2010
There Were Four in the Bed…
At the risk of being controversial, I am going to admit: I’m a co-sleeping mom. Neither of my boys were the kind of infants that you just swaddle up and lay in the bassinet to drift off to sleep. In fact, I would be inclined to consider that type of baby a complete myth if my mom didn’t tell me my brother was that way. I tried to climb out of bed for each feeding, but found myself asleep in the rocking chair. Daddy tried rocking, walking, and soothing so maybe they’d learn to fall asleep without me, but mostly they screamed. I tried lovies, music, fans, and routines. Then I gave in and did what felt right in the first place, I tossed the blankets and pillows, snuggled my baby up to my breast, and slept. There was a time when I wondered if B would ever sleep on his own, but at just over a year, he transitioned with minimal effort. That fact convinced me that I wasn’t making an enormous mistake by allowing T (and myself) the same comfortable sleep scenario. We aren’t a co-sleeping family, at least not regularly. We’ve made exceptions for vacations and the occasional bad dream, but B normally sleeps best in his own room. Sometimes Daddy nods off when he’s putting B to bed, and spends an hour or so there. Sometimes he’s with me and T. Sometimes he’s in the extra bed on his own. It works for us. I’ve expressed concern that my husband might feel “kicked-out” of our bed, but he assures me that he’s happy seeing the boys sleep comfortably and admits he’d be enjoying the same arrangement if the roles were reversed.
Comfortable is a State of Mind
When we came across The Biggest Bed in the World at our library, I had to bring it home for a bedtime story. In it, Lindsay Camp tells the story of a Mommy and Daddy whose bed just keeps getting fuller and fuller as their family grows! At first, Dad feels cozy with his family cuddled together in bed, but as more and more children come along (7 altogether) it gets too crowded. Dad tries several humorous solutions before building the biggest bed in the world. In it, they can all tuck in comfortably; but unfortunately the biggest bed in the world is too big for their house. With the whole family inside, it falls through the floor, slides down a hill and floats them out to sea! When they return home, they go back to a regular size bed and Dad insists that all children sleep in their own beds. But once he is on his own, Dad finds he can’t get comfortable enough to sleep, and realizes that sacrificing a little space is worth the comfort of sharing a cozy sleep with his family.
If you’re trying desperately to convince your little one that their bedroom is the best place to sleep, you might want to hold off reading this book until you’ve finished that battle. However, when we read it with B, we talked about sleeping where you are comfortable, and that worked for him. He’s comfortable where he can stretch out in his bed, and where he has his nightlight and his fish tank to watch. Right now, T is comfortable sleeping with Mommy because he still wakes up to eat at night. B knows that he can come to our bed if he is sick or scared, and we will help make him comfortable; and he loves to come cuddle there in the mornings! I’m going to risk controversy again when I say I think it was a positive emotional experience for B to share our bed until he was ready to sleep on his own. I’d recommend The Biggest Bed in the world to parents who co-sleep with one child, to those who want to explain why the baby is co-sleeping but an older child isn’t, or to those who just want to enjoy the humor, exaggeration, and fun illustrations.
Appropriate for: toddlers, preschoolers, primary grades.
Linking up with:
Feed Me Books Friday (at Aspiring Mom2three this week)
Meme’s the Word (on Saturday)