My friends and I have noticed a strange phenomenon, in that our first-borns have never really shared our beds with us, but our subsequent babies do it all the time.
Perhaps that is something that is unique to my own set of mama friends, or perhaps its something more common – I don’t know.
But I do know that my little Koby has slept in our bed more often in 7 months than Skye has done in her entire 2.5 years. In fact, I think I’ve only had Skye in our bed once or twice when she was a baby. More to the point, she never really wanted to, and always seemed happier on her own.
Maybe because Koby is the baby? Maybe because when it’s the middle of the night, and he’s crying and upset, I put him into our bed because a) its easier, and b) I don’t want him to wake his sister with his crying.
I was always so terrified to do this with Skye – always worried about SIDS, always worried that I’d roll on her, or that she’d suffocate with a blanket over her face. I still worry about it with Koby, actually I don’t really sleep much myself when he’s in the bed with us, but I still do it.
When Skye was first born, she slept in the basinnette beside the bed for about a week. By then I’d fully realised that I cannot sleep in the same room as a baby, with all their snuffling, wriggling and farting. So she moved straight into her bedroom beside ours.
When Koby was born he spent a grand total of 2 nights in the basinnette beside our bed, before he was moved into Skye’s old bedroom.
So they are both used to being on their own, and we all sleep better that way.
But on Friday night, something spooked my brave little girl and she didn’t want to sleep in her bed that night. When we went to bed I switched on the baby monitor for her room, and immediately heard her whimpering. Not quite crying, but just a very gentle, quiet moan every couple of minutes, a sniffle, a muttered word.
When I went in to check on her, she was sitting up in bed, and instantly its was “mama… can I sleep in your bed?”
And so in she came, along with her pillow, and Panda and Turtle – her beloved stuffed bedtime companions.
And there, nestled between the two of us, she proceeded to wriggle, squirm, sit up, lie down, kick her legs, sigh and fidget for the next hour. It took many repeated warnings and soothing words before she finally gave up and went to sleep… nuzzled into me.
And it was then that I realised that I wasn’t bound to get any sleep myself that night. Squeezed onto about a foot of mattress, I literally had my right shoulder blade, and my right butt cheek hanging off the side of the bed. Plus, its winter, so I’m dressed in my flannel PJ’s, under flannel sheets. With a hot little body curled up into mine. I was sweating and stinking hot!
Hubby later told me that he froze all night, because she hogged all the doona and blankets – and he didn’t want to take them off her in case he woke her.
The things you do.
And I have also now discovered that she flails her arms around in her sleep. I lost count of the number of times she whacked me in the face while she slept on.
I got up twice to Koby that night (in his own bed) and both times when I came back to my bed I discovered that a little toddlers body can take up a whole heap of space when sprawled out, spread-eagle style.
I can tell you, I’d go a long way to avoid having a repeat episode of THAT particular parenting experience!
Do you share your bed with your kids? How do you sleep?