So we co-sleep. Always have since Caleb was born. He’s 4 now and we’ve got another baby on the way, so our king sized bed won’t necessarily hold four of us. We’ve been trying to convince him to sleep on a separate mattress next to the big bed, but he wasn’t ever impressed by the idea.
For the last month or so, we’ve also had problems with Caleb kicking, hitting, yelling at us when it’s bedtime. And especially on the nights when Darrin has to get up at ungodly o’clock the next morning, it’s a real pain in the neck. Sometimes literally. And it’s not as if I can just carry him out every night, wait for him to calm down, then carry him back to bed. I’m getting to the point where it really hurts to pick him up – and not just for the minute or two that I’m holding/carrying him either, it goes on for a while after because I’ve strained my muscles.
So. Monday night we were going through our usual dance of us trying to get him to calm down and him not playing along. Finally in exasperation, I asked him ‘Do you want to go sleep in your room by yourself?’ And he surprised me by saying yes! I asked him ‘Are you sure?’ and he said yes again. So we got up, grabbed his pillow, blanket, and water bottle, and set him up in his bedroom on the little cot mattress on the floor. We’ll see how long this lasts, I told myself. And I tucked him in with his blanket and another blanket, and a hot water bottle at his feet, and his stuffed bunny, and his torch in case he needed to go to the toilet in the night, and read him a couple of stories. Then I sat on a chair next to him and he fell asleep.
Well. Okay then. I went back to our bed and tried to sleep. As I suspected all along, I had more trouble sleeping that first night than Caleb did! He slept in his room by himself all the way till about 4:30 when Darrin was getting ready for work. He said he was hungry, so I went and got him a leftover sausage from the fridge. Darrin left for work, Caleb was still half awake, I was almost falling asleep sitting with him so I went back to my bed. I think it was around 6:30 when Caleb came in to our bedroom and crawled into bed with me. And then we both slept till about 9.
Then Tuesday night, he decided to sleep on the couch in the lounge. He got himself all sorted out with a pillow & blanket, and Darrin & I both figured that hey, if he’s choosing to do this, he’s probably ready for it, and at least the lounge has a heater, so he should be fine. And he was. A few stories later he was ready for us both to go into the bedroom, and he fell asleep on his own. He did wake up a few times in the night and asked me to put his blanket back on because he’d fallen off the couch. But each time, as soon as I put the blanket on him, he was asleep in seconds. Even the time he walked into the bedroom to tell me he needed the blanket on again!
Wednesday he decided to sleep in with us. Thursday & Friday he slept on the couch again, straight through on Thursday. Last night he woke up from a dream at about 5 and decided that he HAD TO fix his block constructions on the floor that the cats or we had knocked over. So he fixed those and went back to bed with a carrot to munch on.
So this is for all of you co-sleeping naysayers – you know who you are. You’re the ones who say ‘you’ll never get him out of your bed’ and things of that nature. This didn’t take any prodding from us (I wouldn’t call my original suggestion ‘prodding’ because I was fully prepared to let him come back in the bed with us if he was going to be sensible and go to sleep). And suddenly, we don’t have the bedtime battles we used to have! It was his decision to move out of our bed, and he knows he’s always welcome again if he needs us. But I guess in a way you’re right – we didn’t get him out of our bed. HE got himself out of our bed!