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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

those who sleep in our house sleep well

My friend Ange said to me the other day, "Are we the only people in the world whose 3 and 6-year-olds still get up in the night?"

Not very helpfully, I told her I think we are.

Ella has been increasingly scared to go to bed at night. I know this is all very developmentally appropriate but it is still heart wrenching and downright frustrating when you spend 30 minutes reading, soothing, relaxing and snuggling a child for slumber and then have them freak out the moment you go to leave the room.  The easier softer way?  Stay with them until they fall asleep.  Problematic?  You betcha.

The next easiest, hopefully less damaging, more manageable path we have been taking?

"You can come in our room in the night if you are scared."

Sure, no sweat.  Maybe once or twice a week such an event would occur and to have a snuggly warm body scooch in between her favorite people on earth and sigh with deep contentment was really pretty sweet. 

But now I think Ella sets an alarm so that she doesn't miss her nightly scamper across the hall.

Her entrance is more noticeable, her requests more demanding, her failure to bring her own pillow and be sent back for it more disruptive, the kicking and perpendicular position in the bed more maddening.

But can you imagine (or remember?) how comforting your parent's bed, especially with them asleep on either side of you would be??  It is this imagining that has me allowing it night after night.  Plus I want my sleep and this seems the best way to get it.

For her part, Maya can be persuaded not to wake at 4:30 or 5:00 AM if you lay in her bed with her.  I literally tell her to lay down, that it isn't time to go wak up yet and I think she must be too asleep for her will to set in because she DOES IT.  Lately she has been sleeping until 6:30 or 7 AM.  This makes for a better night and day for all involved.

But can you picture it?  Awakened at 2 AM for Ella's entrance and bedding down and then Maya's a mere 2 to 3 hours later?  And then to get myself dressed and settled in Maya's bed and get back to sleep... I think, what is this mad version of musical beds we've got going on here???

Sometimes when Ella comes in I just go right into Maya's bed so I don't have to be woken twice.  Good grief I'm so glad Sandi lobbied for the top of the line pillow top mattresses for the girls.  Maya and I may be squished on that twin but at least I'm comfy.  And there is something about a warm little body curled into your belly that is irreplaceable.

 I tell myself they won't be little like this forever...and if I don't sleep they won't live to get big enough to outgrow our bed or me theirs.

But then you come along this sight in the middle of the day and you can't help but burn with resentment.


gretchen said...

When we were expecting #2, we worked really hard to get the almost 4 year old to stay out of our bed until 6am, because we knew we'd be cosleeping again and didn't trust a preschooler with a newborn. So we set up a cot and sleeping bag next to our bed, and she could come in and lay THERE, but not with us until the magic hour of 6, when we have family snuggle. Only recently has she pretty much been staying asleep until after 6, but the cot is still out just in case. (And the baby is 8 months this week.) And I read this in the middle of the process (we started quite a while before the baby came along) and it totally made both of us tear up:

Carver Fam said...

Gretchen, I love the idea of the cot. I did read that post and I am sitting here with big tears running down my face. Thank you for sharing it. Sometimes I need to be smacked over the head with the reminder to turn my head to appreciate a hard moment than complain about it.

My friend Emilie passed on this mantra when your kids are crazy and a particular moment is insane: "I will miss this." So true.

Angela said...

Ok Ok, I was going to make a comment of how I would probably have given Coconut (the cat) a little kick, but now I'm bawling. Thanks, Gretchen :)

gretchen said...

Hah, and after not remembering the last time we had to put the cot to use, about 5 hours after I posted that, it was occupied.
I like "I will miss this." I need to remember that one.

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