We’ve always taken the easy way out when it comes to sleeping.
And by easy, I mean whatever involved the most sleep and the least hassle. That’s how we became co-sleepers – it was pretty much born of default, an exhausted mix of laziness and a death grip on the idea that a good night’s sleep was possible with tiny babies.
But with our youngest knocking on three, it was time for a change. E had started referring to the spare room, used as a playroom, as “my woom.” When they got in her way, she’d order her siblings out – and she wasn’t joking.
At night, when we sent the three big kids up to bed and made the goodnight rounds, our two year old had started wavering between glee that she was still up (because we knew she’d crash on the couch within minutes) and despondency that she had no room of her own in which to be tucked.
The problem was, we knew that moving her into a room by herself would accomplish nothing beyond spending a bunch of money on a bed and mattress that would basically serve as decorations. Luckily, our eight-year-old was open and excited about moving into the bigger playroom and gaining a spunky little roommate – on one condition.
“Do I get a new bed? And you have to promise she won’t touch my stuff!”
Absolutely, and well, no promises. But the excitement of a brand new room was too much for her to resist.
So we hit the web and after a lot of Pinterest surfing, found a photo of a beautiful custom bunk bed that had been built in and would suit the awkward room configuration. Then we called up our favorite cabinet maker/handyman and did this thing.
He did his usual amazing job and I surprised myself with my distressed painting job. It really looks wonderful, and the girls were beyond excited for their first night. We all were.
At dinner, E told us she couldn’t wait for bedtime – “because I get to sweep in my new BIG GIRL BED!” Literally, leaping with joy. And when it really was time for bed, she marched straight upstairs with everyone else, blowing kisses from the stairs.
Maybe two minutes later, she returned, announcing that she needed her water.
Another minute or two: she needed a book.
After we tucked her in for the third time, she snuggled in, rolled over and boom, went to sleep. All. Night. Long.
All four kids, all asleep in their own beds, felt like some insane milestone. But because one of us had to get up practically in the middle of the night to go teach a crack-of-dawn fitness class, we didn’t celebrate with grown-up TV time or, you know, shots.
We just went to bed, which suddenly felt enormous.
Night two was equally successful, and that’s about when we started congratulating ourselves for our awesome parenting skills. Clearly, we had the sleep thing handled.
So, obviously, that’s about when the two-year-old suddenly decided she couldn’t fall asleep on her own anymore. Last night, a week and a half into the big girl bed situation, I laid with her for a good forty minutes while she sang softly to herself and tried dozens of different positions before finally nodding off.
Three separate times, I told her I was going to let her fall asleep, and she would clutch my arm and beg me to stay. Then, when she woke up twice and belligerently yelled for me – and me alone – I weaved my way down the hall to snuggle with her until she went back to sleep.
I remember doing the exact same thing with her five-year-old brother, the one who has no problem going and staying to sleep. I’m reallllly hoping this is a little bump in the big girl bed road, and that we can rationalize with our three-year-old (ha!), and that having the security of her big sister laying literally right above her head, will all make bedtime a piece of cake again. Because we had a taste of that, and it was glorious.
If not, well, it can’t last forever. Right?