This was no slumber party. Today we discuss co-sleeping with a toddler. I have nothing against co-sleeping, but it is not for me. Before I begin my little cry for help, let me share my experiences co-sleeping with my girls. Hopefully, after you read this you will be able to help me. Please. 🙂
When we brought Cakey home from the hospital, we tried co-sleeping. Well actually Cakey and I tried co-sleeping while James slept on the couch. That lasted about one night. No one (except for James) got any sleep.
The next night I put Cakey in her bassinet at the end of our bed. James and Cakey slept great, I did not. James and his CPAP make a lot of noise. Cakey wiggling around made a lot of noise. Every time she moved I jumped up to check on her. No sleep for Mommy. 🙁
After about a week or so of this I moved her into her own room. That’s also around the time that I finished reading On Becoming Baby Wise: Giving Your Infant the GIFT of Nighttime Sleep, which is a pretty good book. I recommend it. Just take what you need discard the rest. Books aside, I slept better. Everyone was happy. No co-sleeping.
Cakey and I did, however, enjoy many naps together on the couch. Honestly, there is no better way to nap than with a baby snuggled down on your chest. It’s just heavenly.
When Pie came along I didn’t even try co-sleeping with her. She did sleep in our room a lot longer than Cakey did but that was due to her colic and GERD issues. The only way I could get her to sleep for more than a few minutes was by letting her sleep either in her bouncy seat or we both slept in the recliner in the living room. I guess I kinda co-slept with her but not really.
Now that we are done with the backstory part, we’ll move on to the real reason of today’s post.
No babies in our bed has been our way of life, until recently…
I do not know when it happened or what happened, but all of a sudden (it seems to me anyway) Cakey has been sleeping in our bed with us. I have been trying to pinpoint when this began but I can’t remember for the life of me. I know Cakey and Pie both slept with us a couple of times (or tried to anyway) when we were all sick back in March. I feel like she has slept with us more since she got bitten by the dog at the end of March, which is completely understandable.
The problem is I do not like it. Not one bit.
Sure, I love snuggling with her, but sleeping with her AND James… not cool man. Not cool at all. James takes up a good chunk of our bed. Plus, he’s a cuddler and is always inching closer to me throughout the night. I am a stomach-to-back sleeper. I start off on my stomach and flip to my back. Then I reposition and repeat the process over and over again until I get up.
Cakey…well that girl sleeps all over the place! I probably would not have such strong feelings about this if she just laid still and in one general spot but she is up-here-down-there-on-top-of-me-under-me-knees-in-my-back-feet-on-my-head-flip-flopping-limbs-flying-all-over-the-place-sleeper! She even tries to use my behind as a pillow while cuddling with my leg! You see, it is very uncomfortable for me and mommy does not get much sleep on these nights. This in turn makes for a cranky and unhappy mommy the next day.
How and when does our bed get invaded you may be wondering. Aah! That is the key to this mystery. It usually starts by Cakey still being awake when we go to bed. One of us who shall remain nameless, ahem James oh excuse me I had a little cough :), goes in to check on her and find out why she is still awake. Here is the typical scenario:
J: “Cakey, why are you still awake? It is bedtime. You should be sleeping.”
C: smiles and nods head while climbing back into bed
J: “Did you pee-pee?”
J: checks diaper, “Nope your diaper is dry.”
J: “Do you need to go potty?”
C: “Yes!” Goes to bathroom, tries to play, does not go potty. In fact, she usually refuses to even try once she is in the bathroom.
J: “Okay. It’s Mommy and Daddy’s bedtime. You need to go to sleep too.”
C: sadly, “Okay.”
J: “What’s wrong? Is something bothering you?”
J: “Does your head hurt?”
J: “Would a kiss help?”
J: kisses head, “Okay, better?”
C: “Yes. Boo-boo?”
C: points to random body part
J: “Do you need a kiss there?”
C: nods head
J: gives kiss and tries to leave.
C: whimpering sounds
J: “Are you scared of something? Can you show me what is bothering you?”
C: “Yes. Scawed. Mommy, peas?”
Usually at this point James carries her into our room, both of them give me the “puppy-dog eyes” and he tells me that she is scared. And that folks is how I end up with a toddler in my bed.
It does not happen every night just once or twice a week but still I would like to nip it in the bud before it happens more often. James and I have been joking that the next time it happens I should wait for Cakey to fall asleep and then go sleep in her bed.
However, when I started writing this post, I sorta kinda stumbled upon the problem and the solution at the same time. I noticed that first of all it does happen more often than not when James checks on her. Solution: James and I have come to the agreement that we are not going to bring her into our bed anymore. Secondly, I noticed that there is one key phrase that James and I say that ends up bringing Cakey into our bed. Did you notice it too? Yup. “Are you scared of something?” Anytime James or I say that phrase to her she ends up in our bed. Solution: We have both agreed not to ask her that question.
I would also like to note that Cakey is not actually scared. She is not having a bad dream and most of the time she is not even crying. She has just learned that when Daddy and Mommy ask her if she is scared and she says yes we let her come hang out in our room. At first I thought this whole co-sleeping drama was because of the dog bite and that she was actually scared but after careful observation of her I have realized that that is not the case. I have started paying attention to what happens throughout the day and noting if we need to readjust her bedtime. Did she nap too long? Did she not get to take her nap on time? Did she get to run and play today? Or was it an errand day where she was stuck not having freedom? Those are some of the questions I have started asking myself throughout the day to help eliminate the problem. So far they seem to be working. For instance, last Monday afternoon Cakey took a longer than normal nap so I told my mom (who was watching her for us) to put her to bed an hour later and she was sound asleep when James and I went to bed.
Anybody else go through a toddler insistent co-sleeping or refusing to go to sleep problem/stage? Do you have any advice to share with me? I would love to hear your experiences in this area. Please impart your wisdom on me in the comments section below.
Have a blessed day!
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