No, not by my husband. By my little boy! My little Quinn who likes to snuggle at night has ditched me for his older sister. It’s a good thing, probably, but I miss that little warm body in the bed.
About once a week I have an evening rehearsal and my neighbor comes
over to put my kids to bed and sit in the house until I get home.
Quinn has never been happy about going to sleep alone, so sometimes I
would come back and find him still up with the neighbor waiting for me
to arrive, and sometimes he would have passed out wherever he was
despite his best efforts to stay awake. But in the past couple of weeks
he figured out a new solution: Share Aden’s bed.
Aden also loves a good snuggle and seems to like adding a real live
boy to the pile of stuffed bunnies she hugs all night. After a couple
of rehearsal evenings in a row the pattern was set. Quinn now expects
to crawl in next to his sister for the night and so far they are both
happy about the arrangement. They giggle and hunker down under the
covers and somehow don’t get in each other’s way once they fall asleep.
There are several advantages to this new system. The first is that
Quinn is going to bed at a reasonable hour for a change. He used to
follow me around until I went to bed, no matter how late I stayed up to
wash dishes and get the house in order. His sisters go to bed somewhere
between 7 and 8, so this is better. It also means he gets up in time
for breakfast. In my bed he would just keep sleeping until I scooped
him up to put in the car when I drive the girls to school. Now that
he’s in the belly of the squeaky beast he gets up with the girls before 6
in the morning and gets caught up in their squeaky start of the day
I like not fighting anyone (however small and dimpled) for covers,
and stretching out as far as I want in bed, but I miss the company. I
liked the giggle time and the way Quinn nuzzled up behind me as he
slept. I liked seeing his little blond head first thing in the morning
and hearing him tell me sometimes that it was daytime outside and I
needed to get up.
It’s funny, because I used to feel a bit disapproving of people who
let their kids sleep in their bed. Not disapproving in a harsh way–I
just didn’t understand it and couldn’t figure out why anyone wouldn’t
correct that right away. With Aden and Mona I used a co-sleeper when
they were first born. It was nice to have them conveniently within
arm’s reach of the bed without being in it. It made nursing them easier
and gave me more opportunity to rest than if I’d had to get up and go
to another room in the night to find them.
When Aden hit the three or
four month mark and started sleeping through the night we moved her to
the crib. I waited a couple of extra months past that with Mona just
because I was concerned about the girls sharing a room and waking each
other up, but that turned out not to be a problem. They tune each other
out as they sleep. I cried the first night they each spent in the next
room and I was left with the monitor next to my bed instead of a baby.
It was hard, but it was for the best. I believed (and still do) that
parents should have privacy in their own bed and kids need to learn to
sleep on their own.
But there are few absolutes in parenting, and you can never make
assumptions about what things with the next kid will be like. Quinn has
always been a different story. He was born during my husband’s first
deployment and was about 8 months old when his dad came home. Without
Ian in the bed there wasn’t any particular need for privacy, and I had
concerns again about possible room sharing issues since three kids in
one room seemed like a lot. I enjoyed having Quinn next to me at night
and starting the day with his little hands on my face and his smile as
my alarm clock. He almost never cried and was my happy constant
companion. I didn’t start trying to move him over to his crib until
about a month before his dad was supposed to come back from Iraq.
I’m trying to remember now during 2008 and most of 2009 how Quinn
slept. It’s funny how things that consume your life fade when you move
past them. We converted his crib to a toddler bed when he was about 18
months or so, and eventually got him a big kid bed with drawers
underneath like his sisters and he was very proud. With Ian home we
tried to get Quinn out of our bed. I’m remembering a lot of nights
where we’d wait for him to pass out next to me and then we’d move him.
There were some nights Ian would give up and sleep downstairs rather
than wait Quinn out. If I wasn’t home at bedtime, Ian reported that
Quinn simply went off to his own bed at the same time as his sisters
without a fuss.
Quinn had some trouble warming up to his dad when Ian came home from
that deployment. I think he mostly sees Ian as competition for my
affection and attention, and he doesn’t like it. I’m expecting similar
problems in the fall when Ian finishes this deployment. It made simply
kicking Quinn out of the bed difficult, because we didn’t want him to
resent his dad even more. How do you convince a child that he’s not
being pushed aside in favor of some strange man, when you are literally
pushing him aside to make room for some strange man? I didn’t want his
dad’s return to be a bad thing in his mind, but he was happier with the
way things were before his dad came back, and part of that was sharing
In any case, before Ian left again Quinn was pretty good about
sleeping in his own bed, but as soon as space opened up next to me at
night he slipped back into it. I don’t sleep well by myself so I didn’t
But now I’m on my own again. It takes me longer to fall asleep and
bad dreams creep in more often without my cuddle boy there to ward them
off, but I recognize it’s a step in the right direction. The fewer
things that Quinn has to adjust to when his dad eventually returns, the
better for us all.
It will be interesting to see what happens in the new house. Quinn
has a few sleeping options aside from crawling in bed with me or one of
his sisters. He has a little mattress on the floor of his sisters’ room
in case he wants to use it, and in his own room he has a new little
bunk bed he picked out at Ikea recently. That makes six different spots
to crash upstairs alone so I’m sure something will appeal. In the
meantime, it’s nice watching my kids treat every night like some happy
sleepover event. That’s better than the sweetest of dreams.