The Family Bed Is Fleeting
I hear the pitter-patter down the hall, and the flying thump as she hits the middle of the bed. “Mummy, let’s snuggle,” says the sleepy voice as she wraps her arm around me and she is back asleep.
I am awake now, but I don’t really mind. She is my last baby, and after the years of fretting about having kids in the bed I now like it. In a few short years I will be sleeping through the night without disturbances (except the ones that come with aging) and I will miss our 4 a.m. snuggles.
We have always had an open door/bed policy with our kids. We struggled to get son number one to sleep on his own but always made it clear that he could have company if and when he needed it. As long as it was not every night.
In fact, if you had told me seven years ago that my son would put himself to bed, read to himself and turn out his light, wake up in the morning and go downstairs by himself, I would not have believed you. When he was three I could not imagine him ever choosing to sleep alone. And now he is our easiest child (when it comes to bedtime).
I have never understood why adults get to sleep together but kids have to sleep alone. And then they turn 18 (optimistic?) and they start the quest of finding bedmates so they don’t have to “sleep” alone anymore.
I agree with the expert in this article about co-sleeping. It is about your attitude as a family. If the family bed works for everyone, it works. But if the kids know that you want them out of the bed and they are still in the bed then that is a parenting problem. If you resent the sound of the kids climbing into your bed then it is probably time to stop the nocturnal practise.
It hasn’t been easy getting to the point that we are at. We have played musical beds with the best of them. We have spent many sleepless nights getting kicked in the abdomen and the nose at the same time. But now that I know that the time is drawing to the end, I enjoy that little soft body beside me for the small amount of time I have left.