Monday, April 2, 2012

We are no longer a co-sleeping family.

Well, I just lost a little bit of my crunchy-mom cred. If you need me, I'll be putting a bird on something.

Alice is now sleeping full time in the crib/converted daybed. Now the bed has been used by all of my children AND my cousin's two kids. That kind of makes me feel good in a full-circle, family kind of way.


It is funny how the whole thing happened too. We have talked with Alice extensively about moving into her own digs, and while she seemed ok with it in theory lots of times, in practice it was a whole 'nother ballgame. We would talked to her and get her excited about making the space "hers"--adding special blankets and toys and what have you. Then she would revolt, and I would feel so horrible that I would welcome her squirmy little body back into my personal space. Then she weaned herself. Still, even though she wasn't using me for the occasional nighttime comfort nurse, she seemed to NEED my hair. I started thinking about cutting it off and gluing it on a Dora doll for her. I started sleeping more and more on the couch, but only if I could pry myself away from her incessant little grasp. I was (even more) tired all the time and starting to really resent the bed partner.

And then, magically, on Friday, she just up and said she wanted to sleep in "[her] bed." It had become a repository for stuffed animals, unused blankets and a few unmatched socks, so Matt joyfully cleaned it off for her and we made it up with the softest and prettiest blankets we could find. I still fully expected her to go back on it. But then Friday night, after several Olivia books and an interminable amount of time spent discussing the finer points of Sesame Street, she was asleep. She made it until about 4:30 and then rejoined us. On Saturday night, though, she slept undisturbed all night long, and then walked into the living room and peacefully played with a dollhouse until I woke up, heard someone in the living room, and went running in there like a mad woman. I'm just glad she wasn't wearing a hoodie at the time, because sometimes children look mega-scary, you know? And I can't guarantee that when I'm scared, I won't violently disembowel someone. AMIRITE?

I can't tell you just how amazing it is to be able to stick my ass out at night and know that Matt is on the other side of it. We had not really snuggled in 2.5 years, ya'll (except for the odd vacation/kid's night at my MIL's). I even didn't mind when he tried to wake me up to have sex/tell me something dumb about a book he's reading (I normally don't mind either of those things, except when I am sleeping the sleep of a thousand nights or when they are related in some weird way, which it seems they were the other night? Maybe?). I HAD MISSED THAT. I feel about sleeping now the way I felt after I ate really good tiramisu for the first time--I literally cannot wait to do it again.

All that said, I am not anti-co-sleeping at all. It worked for us for a good long while, and actually, I was able to get more sleep in the first year than I would have been able to any other way. Allie is a good kid, and a good sleeper (aside from talking in her sleep--more about that later). Did co-sleeping make her that way? Maybe. Maybe not. We never had to deal with a night of her crying it out (which I did with Gabby and it.was.horrible. Poor kid had sleep issues until she went to school because of it), nor did we have to deal with the kind of sleep issues Sam had, which mostly had to do with him getting up at odd hours in the middle of the night deadset on eating popcorn and watching Cars. I would advocate any kind of sleeping you can get your kid to do. If it is co-sleeping, AWESOME. If it is putting them in the back of a Peugeot and driving them around while singing James Taylor until they conk and then putting them in a crib, GREAT (note: that is the only way my mom could get me to sleep, apparently).

I think I've said it before, but my grand experience with more natural parenting has taught me that it is best to be super non-judgmental about any kind of parenting choice. You do what you do because you think it will work. And then you reevaluate. And you put up with some discomfort because you want your kid to be happy/healthy/better off. And then they change whatever it was that you wanted them to change and you realize that things do, indeed, work out. When they are good and ready to do so.

And now without further adieu, I present to you the wacky and bizarre things Alice has said in her sleep in her first nights out on her own. Apparently, if she doesn't have my hair to fondle/yank, she dreams about some weird crap and talks about it. And it is awesome:
  • Kiss me! I'm sleeping beauty!
  • I'm hungry, but no doughnuts!
  • Mommy here. She bite me.
  • garble, garble, garble BOOTS!
  • Rosita say Buenes NOCHES!


  1. My brother kind of co-slept off-and-on with my parents, and he had to yank my mom's hair, too. I was often scared as a kid -- too much "Twilight Zone" and too many late-night horror films, I kid you not -- so I slept on their floor a lot.

    By the by, I'm currently reading Mayim Bialik's book about attachment parenting and it's really cool. Check it out, yo.

  2. Thanks for telling me about your brother. I have worried that Alice had some kind of hair fetish and it was really freaking me out. I'm not joking. I walk in the door after work and it's like, "MOMMY!" and then her hands go right for my hair. It is weird.

    This is funny, but I've been so worried about this that I emailed a question to Mayim on a radio show she was doing about how to get a co-sleeping child out on their own. She answered it in a roundabout way with a couple of other questions about how that AP actually fosters independent children and talked about making the space her's and waiting until she's ready. I love Mayim--she's amazing!--even though Matt has a crush on her. He he.