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!