Cai, age 4, spends most of his nights crawling in bed with me.
I’m happily married to my husband. We share a bed. To repeat, happily.
My dad reads this blog, so that’s enough detail on that.
So, why, if I share a bed, would I say that my son crawls in bed with me, instead of with us?
For two reasons:
1. 4 out of 5 children prefer me in the middle of the night. They don’t seek out their father. They come find me. Cai appears at the edge of my side of the bed, and then he sleeps on me. Yes, on me. He’s my active sleeper. At times, I have just a Cai foot or knee thrown over me, but most of the time he chooses to sling his entire torso over mine. He does all of this from my side of the bed. At no time does he stray onto Greg’s side.
2. Greg sleeps like the dead. Really. He’s the guy in college who left his entire dorm standing outside in the freezing cold in the middle of the night during a fire drill because the flashing strobe lights and blaring sirens didn’t wake him. If that didn’t work, a sleepy child doesn’t stand a chance.
So lately Cai spends most of his nights crawling in bed with me.
Last night, he crawled in bed with me 4 different times.
I’d like to point out that good parents don’t allow this.
I never slept with my parents.
Greg never slept with his parents.
Our parents enforced appropriate rules with their children. They were sympathetic to bad dreams and other causes of midnight wandering (the time I went a’sleep-walkin’ to the garage and relieved myself in the dog dish comes to mind), but they always took us back to bed (sometimes after yelling, “Don’t pee in the dog dish!”).
Greg and I both learned good sleep habits.
But something went awry. Greg certainly can’t be blamed for my poor nighttime decisions. He’s too busy sleeping.
So why in the world would I allow my child to sleep with me?
Because I have one driving force in the middle of the night, and that’s to sleep. Oh, dear God in Heaven, I just need to freaking sleep.
I wasn’t always this way. I used to have nighttime discipline and enforce rules.
I took the long view. If we take the time to train them to sleep now, we’ll reap the benefits of full nights of sleep later. Right? Right.
Sadly, the children wore me down. Somewhere along the way, I stopped believing that a full night of sleep is possible. I’m like a sleep refugee. I take what I can get when I can get it, and I don’t spend a lot of time or energy mourning what I can’t have.
These days, if a child wants to fling his oh-so-hard noggin’ right into my rib cage at 3am or elbow me in the back at 4am, I have to evaluate… is this affecting my sleep? If so, how much? I’m only waking up every 5 minutes? So that’s 5 minutes of sleep I’m getting at a time? Hm. Sounds good to me.
Besides, if I didn’t allow kids to crawl in bed with me, I’d miss their nighttime exclamations.
Like last night, when Cai sat bolt upright and yelled, “Poop nuggets!” at the top of his lungs.
And then fell back onto the bed, slammed his knee into my bladder, and started snoring.
Seriously, who wants to miss moments like that?
Not me. Life’s too short to miss out on the funny.