Monday, December 31, 2012

My bed is your bed and why not: Every living thing in this house winds up in my bed every night already

One day, these googly-eyed boys will demand privacy. Hmph.

One unexpected memory that sticks out for me from childhood is being allowed to stay up late to watch Saturday Night Live with my parents. I can't remember how old I was, but probably not really old enough to get most of the jokes, not that it mattered. We all knew I'd be asleep on the couch long before Chevy Chase tripped over something or Eddie Murphy hee-hawed his way through a Gumby sketch. 

But somehow, this routine really meant something to me. Partly, it was a privilege because my little brothers weren't allowed to stay up that late, but mostly, it was because I got to be with my parents by myself. I'd drift off to sleep to the sound of their laughter, one on each side, and even with my very limited wisdom, I sensed that these routine moments were the important stuff. When you're little, the adults in your life are your assurance that everything is OK.

So now, when both kids wind up in our bed almost every single night, and I can't quite stretch out because the dog has taken up the area where I'd like to put my feet, I can't help but smile a little. Anderson barely fits between us these days, one arm stretched out on top of me, one on Kurt, and David seems to think his feet belong in my ribcage. It can make for a fitful night. But I know how fleeting this is, and I'm struck by the magic power that seems to draw us all together so often, whether it's our bed or a small bathroom, dog and cat included. It's safe and warm, and a little claustrophobic, but mostly, it's a kind of love I couldn't have imagined.

I know in that really, really hot moment - seriously, they are both little furnaces - that they are both content in one of the happiest places they can imagine right now, right between mommy and daddy. I realize sleep-sharing to any extent isn't for everybody, and I've read about all the terrible outcomes we'll all face as a result of this "permissiveness," but I'm not buying it. We have sweet, independent, well-adjusted little goofballs and I'm not sure why their growth won't continue based on where they wake up each morning. I'm sure someone will fill me in via email or the comments below. ;)

At any rate, I have a feeling life will look a whole lot different this time next year. A lot can happen in 12 months. My goal is to keep recognizing the beauty in the seemingly mundane, no matter how much the big picture changes. We can't slow down the fleeting, but new things are always on the horizon. Here's to hoping the new things involve changes for the better, as opposed to angry, hulking grizzly bears that have migrated to the suburbs seeking revenge for all those times they've been excluded from a lovely forest pic-a-nic.


Jen said...

I though I responded to this a month ago, but apparently not. I come over here to copy your link so I can put it in my post, and I find myself reading stuff. Again.

I can vouch for the independence and well-adjustedness of your furnaces, not that you need anyone to. I am a fan of the Cincy Sarah family, regardless of where you sleep. But, um, when they DO eventually move out of your bed for good, whenever that may be, could you maybe tell us how it happened? Not because I need, like, tips or something...nope, not that. Just because, um, I am very interested in the, um, progress of this...situation. Yes.

Sarah Hunt said...

Sorry, Jen. I turned on comment moderation after gaining the attention of the spam monster and I'm apparently lax in actually moderating the comments.

I hear you, believe me. :) I think I read in that big Dr. Sears book long, long ago when we were just starting to co-sleep with Anderson, that if you start down this path, most likely, it's going to be a very long commitment. And that was no lie. It's interesting, though, that David is actually more amendable to sleeping independently, and will usually make it through the whole night in his bed. Anderson usually winds up popping over here by 2 a.m. or so, though we try to get him to wait until it's light outside. He has nightmares, though, and it's hard to turn him away. In fact, I just don't. I'm confident he'll continue working through that on his own and we try to address that stuff during the daytime hours because nothing good happens at 2 a.m. when my brain is working poorly.

Anyway. My assumption is that it will be gradual, but also that it's really variable depending on the kid. David loves to snuggle and sometimes really wants to sleep in our bed from the beginning of the night, but he is pretty easily persuaded to at least try to start in his bed, and there he stays. Usually. Anderson really does not like being alone, EVER, and I think it's more a product of an overactive imagination, burgeoning reading skills and the lure of reading spooky stuff than anything else.

SO I don't know, man. I will certainly keep you updated once they are actually not in my bed anymore for real! I assume at some point, they will value their privacy more and will want to be right on top of me all. of. the. time. less. :D

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