Thursday, September 18, 2008

First Time Failure (Never Trying it Again)

I like sleeping. I enjoy it uninterrupted at night, and I love it during the day. I like it on my left side or on my right (never on my back, as it causes me to startle repeatedly until I finally turn over on my side). I can do it at home, in hotels, or even on other people's couches (hopefully only when sleeping over). I consider sleeping to be my right. This is apparent in the way we deal with our kids at night.

I want my kids to enjoy their sleep as much as I enjoy mine. For this reason we've always had a pretty structured bedtime routine. After all the toothbrushing and prayers and songs (actually, we don't really do the singing anymore, sniff sniff), and hugs etc. we say our farewell for the night and that's that. See you in the morning! Now it's me and Greg's free time before we go to bed ourselves. We start this at an early age. Our kids never sleep in our bed (apart from occasional daytime naps with mom). Babies sleep in the car seat or the crib. Even though Aaron didn't sleep through the night until he was almost 10 months old, he still slept in his crib, and I went into his room and fed him. No family bed in this family*!

Well, for some reason last night became the exception to end all exceptions (literally. see title). We've been a little sick and Aaron and I seem to have the worst of it. Last night, after going down as usual, Aaron woke up a few times before Greg and I headed to bed. He sat up in bed and cried. Laying him back down and patting and kissing him didn't help so I picked him up and rocked him for a minute and put him back down. Five minutes later? Same thing. We realized he wasn't breathing well with his pacifier and he refused to be in bed without it.

Finally Greg decided that we should just put him in bed with us for a little while. At first we had the lights on and just wanted to relax him and put him back in his crib. Greg turned on the iPod nano and let Aaron watch with him. After a bit of pointing with his chubby little index finger and commenting on the show, he settled down a little. But only a little. He didn't seem to be getting tired at all. It was after midnight. Greg made an executive decision and said that Aaron would just sleep in the bed with us. We decided to turn off the lights while he was interested in watching the screen. As soon as it was dark, Aaron started laughing. How silly are mommy and daddy! What a funny new game!!

We turned off the iPod, told him "Night-night" and kissed him a few times. Silence. One minute later, "Da da da?" 30 seconds later, "Aaaah! Da da sa sa da da!" We patiently ignored him and waited for him to settle down and fall asleep. He raised his hands straight up in front of him and realized that he could see them in the blazing light from my over-sized digital alarm clock (it sits almost two feet away from my face, and since I don't wear my glasses while I sleep, those numbers need to be a good 3-4 inches tall). He started waving his hands around, watching them in the green glare, and doing some type of singing. Then he would stop and yawn. Silence. 30 seconds later? More hand waving. Then some searches in the dark for mommy and daddy's noses. And a bit more chatter. Soon the bed started shaking. I admit this was my fault. I was giggling. And giggling. And trying not make any sound while I did it. This causes beds to shake.

I decided this wasn't working. And why should we teach him all his life that his crib is the place for sleep and then suddenly say, actually, no, tonight we're completely changing everything, okay? No sense in it, really. I thought I'd take him downstairs and watch a little TV and then take him back up and put him in his crib, pretending that it was a normal bedtime and not the middle of the night . But first I decided to try laying him in his crib to see what would happen. Well, what DID happen was he fell asleep. Probably glad we had finally finished our silly turn-the-light-off-and-lay-in-the-dark-in-mommy-and-daddy's-room game. (he probably doesn't realize that we sleep, since he only ever sees us up and at 'em.)

So, uh, we won't be trying that again, I don't think. Two of us find it far too funny. And between the hand waving/ nose honking and bed shaking, I don't think any of us would get much sleep at all. I mean, I enjoy a good laugh as much as the next guy, but sometimes, I like sleep even better.

* I don't mean to disparage those who DO have a family bed. Especially because I recognize that people often do that for many of the same reasons that we do the opposite! Funny how two extreme opposites can bring so many similar results!

15 comments:

Thora said...

How funny. I love sleeping with my girls. I have a crib set up, in their bedroom (Lydia does sleep in a toddler bed in there). I have a beautiful cradle in our room. But usually Elisheva ends up in bed with me. I really like sleeping with her and I did with Lydia - that is until Lydia got a little older, and moved around a lot, or like Aaron did, didn't want to go to bed when we did. Then the family bed was definitely on the way out.

It's amazing how different each kid is too. Lydia was a very high need baby; she never napped regularly until about six months old, she hated being set down, etc. Elisheva is the kind of baby that if you lay her down while she's sleepy will actually go to sleep from that point, like most parenting books tell you. (Lydia would just scream until she became hysterical). I love it, and I've always loved her regular, long naptimes.

The important thing, like you said, about parenting with anything, whether sleep or anything else is what works for your family. Isn't it nice to know that all along a family bed definitely didn't work for your family?

McEwens said...

That is too funny!! You are a great mom laying down those rules (no bed sharing) in the begining! I hope you both feel better soon!

Hope you get a nap today too!

Nance said...

I'm amazed that with three kids and as old as they are, you've never succumbed in a middle of the night, half asleep, daze. Our kids aren't in our bed. But at night they do sometimes wander in. I'm pretty good about carting them back to their beds either as they are falling asleep, or after they are asleep. But there have been times when they've wandered in at 5 or 6 in the morning and they are still there when my husband wakes up (surprised to see them there). And sometimes, they are allowed to go to sleep in our bed when we aren't in it (ie: it's 9 or 10 o'clock, we're still well awake and the two older kids, who share a room are complaining that the other one is keeping them awake). And then as soon as they are asleep we move them. Although this gets harder and harder to do now that my 4 year old has moved to the top bunk. My arm muscles and height work against me on that.

Becky said...

We're not bed sharers, either, which means that we can still like our children in the morning.

Do your kids sleep in the same room together? I was just wondering if Aaron's antics last night woke up the other kiddos. That's what we're struggling with right now. If one of them wakes up, then the other is sure to follow.

jonesfamily said...

FUNNY! What a cute little boy. Matt and I are in betweeners. So, when one is in our bed for whatever reason (not usual) as soon as we get annoyed I tell them they can choose the couch or their bed and they never fight it. It works out swell.

Melanie J said...

I used to let my oldest sleep in our bed on the weekend until I started waking up five times a night with his foot in my face. It was straight to the crib for the second one and it's worked out just fine. He too thinks that being in our bed means it's time to play so he's only on it during the day while I fold laundry and whatnot.

Lisa said...

I love you, my commenters! These are so interesting to read!

Becky - Aaron sleeps in a separate room. When he started making noise we just closed the door to Evie and David's room. Plus, our kids are heavy sleepers. They don't wake up on New Years, when there are tons of SUPER loud fireworks. A whiny baby doesn't wake them up either.

Kazzy said...

We never had our kids in bed with us either. Besides the tossing and turning and crowding, what about Mom and Dad time. If I had ever even hinted at it my husband would have objected. There is real symbolism to separate spaces at night. Those kids get us all day! Good luck and feel better!

Erin said...

My philosophy is do whatever you need to do to get the most sleep for everyone. Lucky for you that is out of the bed. I find that my kids go in stages. They have been good sleepers while in their cribs, but once they moved to a big bed they take to wandering. Lizzy is now coming into our room at night and I don't let her in the bed but she brings in her pillow and blanket and sleeps on the floor. I just remind myself that Ethan did this at her age too and now he stays in his own bed through the night. She will grow up too soon anyway and as long as I don't step on her, then we are all getting decent sleep.

Kimberly said...

This was so funny to read because we've had the exact same sort of experience! We're adamant the kids sleep on their own. Not for any great reason other than that I'm a light sleeper and literally cannot get to sleep with them in with us (tried when they were babies). When the kids are sick Neil gets all tender hearted and wants them in with us. We've tried half a dozen times but it always goes exactly how it went for you. Too funny!

Alison Wonderland said...

We end up with kids in our bed all the time and I hate it! Unfortunately in the middle of the night I'd just rather sleep and if they'll only sleep with me (as often happens) then I go with it. I just need to be comatose.

Marivic_Little GrumpyAngel said...

We're like you. We decided really early that kids sleep in their own beds in their own rooms. Our kids were allowed to jump in bed with us for cuddle time, but when it's bed time off to their own rooms. It worked well for us. I wish I could say I get enough sleep because of this though. I have so much to do I get by on 5 hours sleep, which stinks because I love sleep, too! So on Saturday mornings (day off!) the entire family sleeps in and then have a pleasant brunch!

Me plus 3 Hecks said...

I love having my little babies sleep with me. I am superhyper paranoid about the tiniest things with babies, but cosleeping just feels right to me. Up to a point. About 3 months in, it's crib time and then the only deviation from that is illness/bad dreams (and even that, for as small a portion of the night as possible).

I get frustrated with Brody though, when it is the 10th time your child has woken up and you can't stand the thought of getting up one more time, I bring him to bed with me. BUT IT NEVER WORKS. He just rolls around until he gets his butt or feet dangerously close to my nose, and then either I or he starts to cry.

Taj was the opposite. He LOVED sleeping by mommy. He would calm down the minute I laid him next to me. And the only reason why I didn't let him sleep next to me forever was because I was afraid to have an 18-year-old man still sleeping there someday.

Moody said...

Family bed definitely worked for me, but I always envied those who could get their kids to sleep in their cribs. I could just see your little guy thinking what a fun diversion, and the bed shaking as you're trying not to laugh and encourage him! LOL

Susan said...

I think adding the actual quote of his chatter really adds to this story, Lis :) And the shaking, of course. We, of course, have no consistency whatsoever when it comes to where our kids can and will sleep. We do some of everything.