For those who don’t know, we have been a co-sleeping family pretty much since S first came home from hospital. I’ve written about this before.
So first there was my lovely husband, myself and S in the bed. Then when M came along, S moved to a toddler bed next to our bed. And finally the arrival of baby A meant that we tried (mostly in vain) to move M to his own toddler bed too, still in our room. In reality though, M has pretty much never left our bed. He’s far too much of a cuddler.
I am often reluctant to tell people about our sleeping arrangements. I know that many people think it’s odd and have heard more times than I care to remember that we’d never get them out of our bedroom.
However, it’s worked for us. Really. I’ve loved having my boys so close to me in the night and with extended breastfeeding (S until he was 3, M until he he was 30 months and A still going strong at 19 months) it has made life easier. It’s also easier for me to deal with the frequent late night eczema flare ups that occur in our house. And I’ve never really got over my fear that S could have a seizure in the middle of the night and I wanted to be close to him, just in case (fortunately, he is still, to this day, seizure free). For all these reasons and more – including the cultural acceptance and encouragement of co-sleeping in Indonesian families – we’ve been happy to all sleep in the same room.
But all good things must come to an end. And it’s been apparent for a little while now, that it was time for these sleeping arrangements to change.
Firstly, there’s the fact that S is almost 7. I don’t know, but it just seems right to me that a boy who’s nearly 7 is ready to have that extra independence. Also, the fact that for the first time he had expressed some interest in moving into the room next door suggested that he also thought it was time.
Then there’s the fact that at 4 and a half, M is not so little anymore – and he’s a bed hog. It literally had become a pain in the bum (and the neck, and the back etc) to have him in in the bed. I’ve had problems with my lower back for a while and I realised that the sleeping arrangements were just not helping at all.
Finally, there’s baby A’s very ridiculous enthusiasm for waking up at 4am for a play. With all of us in the same room, one boy awake quickly means 3 boys awake so on more than one occasion at 4.15am, I have been building train tracks or watching DVDs with three tired but wide awake boys.
Last Saturday, I woke up with a sore back and a goal. To have the middle bedroom sorted by the end of the day and for S and M to sleep there that night. S was excited straight away. M was in denial. My husband was convinced it would all end in tears.
But by 3pm, we had the room rearranged, the boys beds set up and M was excitedly asking if it was time to go to bed yet.
S had set up an elaborate system of different bells to ring in case he needed a drink, to go to the toilet, had a nightmare etc. M was just excited about his Thomas the Tank engine sheets.
Any fears that it would be a drama and a disaster were allayed when by 7.30pm, both boys were sound asleep. And both slept through the night. It was me who didn’t sleep well. I missed them. I worried about them. And I waited for them to wake up and need me. But they didn’t. S’s bells stayed silent.
It’s night 4 now of the new sleeping arrangements. And I’ve began sleeping much better again. And boys both love their ‘new’ room. The transition has been a complete success.
The only one who’s not so sure about it all is baby A. When he wakes in the morning, he’s still looking for his brothers and heads straight into the room to see them.
Fortunately though, not at 4am. It was 5.30am this morning, which still breaks my 6am rule, but at least there’s a hint of the sky lightening at 5.3oam.
I can’t even begin to describe how relieved I am that the shift in our sleeping arrangements has been so smooth. It’s been fantastic.
Now to prepare for the next ‘big transition’. I’ve a goal to get my boobs back for my 40th birthday at the end of the year. I am fairly sure that baby A is not going to be so willing to give up his milk as S and M were to move out of our room. But you never know. I might just get another pleasant surprise :-).