I walked in the door this afternoon and it flashed across my mind, for no particular reason that I could not remember where I slept last night. I don’t have a wild lifestyle. I just have two small children.
For the first few weeks after going into his own bed Rafa settled down happily and put himself to sleep. Then he realised he could get out of bed by himself. Since then (nearly a year) Rafa has at some point in the night gotten out of his bed and into ours.
Back when we thought this was going to be a short lived phenomenon I struggled against it. We would try to put him back to bed in his own bed, I would toss and turn feeling claustrophobic stuck between my husbands body and my sons and lie awake waiting until I thought he had gone properly back to sleep so I could move him back to his bed.
Even worse than the feeling of claustrophobia was the feeling of him digging his long toe nails into my legs. He seemed to derive comfort from doing this. I did not.
Then I had one of those inevitable conversations with another mum. I was complaining about this interruption to my sleep, and wondering why he couldn’t just stay in his own bed, my friend, in her quiet, generous way pointed out how – during the daytime a child of his age – 2.5 -3 years old will not manage to spend long periods without being in either verbal or physical contact with their parents, so why she asked would this be different at night?
This realisation of his need to be close to us through the night did not solve the ‘problem’ of Rafa coming into bed with us, but it did allow me to stop thinking of it as a something I could ‘solve’. Instead I made some adjustments to help me to cope better.
Now when he comes in I guide him to the centre of the bed. This way I have some air on one side. To lessen the impact of the digging toenails I now sleep in leggings (it is Scotland, this is mostly a good idea anyway).
Sometimes I kick my husband out of the bed, and sometimes when the male snoring, wriggling, toe nail digging is all to much I quietly slip out of my bed, and go and sleep in Rafa’s bed.
Then there are the nights when the baby wakes up as well. At 17 -19months We are gradually transitioning way from me feeding the baby at night. So I can sometimes send my husband to settle the baby, give him a drink of water (tsa in Finn-ese) and snuggle down with him. Sometimes he wants ‘mulck’ (said with an amazing gutterul ckkk). And the musical beds move around once again.
It can be:
All four of us in one bed.
Rafa and mummy in the big bed -Finn and daddy in the little bed.
Rafa and daddy in the big bed – mummy in the little bed, Finn in his cot.
Finn and mummy in the little bed, Rafa and daddy in the big bed.
Do you have a sleep story you want to tell? Get in touch and add to the sleep series.
About the Sleep Series: It is a truth universally acknowledged that whenever two or more parents of young babies and children meet they will have a conversation about sleep. The Flamingo Rover sleep series is not intended to provide expert advice – more to tell sleep stories in an attempt to reassure parents that there is no such thing as a ‘normal’ nights sleep, and there is no such thing as a parent who is doing the ‘wrong’ thing.
Please please please – If you’ve had a bad night’s sleep – or a bad week or a bad month do make sure you tell your friends about it. Your welcome to tell me about it if you like. If you still don’t feel like yourself tell your GP and your midwife and your Health Visitor. Find a sleep clinic and talk it through. Try to take a nap.
Look out for your sisters – If you see someone with a baby who looks like they have had a bad night’s sleep – or a bad week or a bad month go and chat to them.