Monday, May 28, 2012

A Co-Sleeping Story

The Little-Bugs and I have been visiting Brother-Bug's Godmommies over the holiday weekend. On our last night there, he decided to have a sleep over with his Godmommies, cuddling up in their bed instead of the bed that he was sharing with Sister-Bug and I. This is common - he loves them so, and since we see them only a few times a year we try to fill him up with as much Godmommie time and love as possible!

Sister-Bug was upset that she didn't get to have a sleep over too. Sad face! I offered her the option of having a special Mama sleep over, just the two of us, or making her a bed for her very own self on the floor. She chose her own bed on the floor. I folded a comfortor into a sleeping bag shape and she tucked herself in. She fell asleep, on her own, a few minutes later.

Cozied up...she looks so little to me, to be sleeping all by herself...but that's my bias.
I think it has been close to six years since I had a bed all to myself at night.

I wish I could say I fell asleep reveling in the freedom to shift to any comfortable position, unhindered by son, daughter, husband, dog, or cat. But without those anchors that give my sleep definiton, I was restless. I kept waking, confused by the lack of bodies. Sister-Bug slept for about two hours on her own and when she called me, I chose to pull her into bed with me so that I could get some solid rest. I wrapped my arms around her sweaty toddler self and finally fell deeply asleep.

Co-sleeping is really important to our family. I relish these years that my children want to be close to me. I treasure the moments when dimpled arms reach out to make sure I am still there. I adore how they shift in their sleep to find me, knowing I'm not ever far away. I know that soon they will be independant and lanky teenagers, or even their own adults in beds far from mine, so I soak up every night that I share with them.

But co-sleeping is not as important to me as respecting my child's right to their own space, and their ability to make good decisions for themselves. There has been a lot of chatter about Attachment Parenting recently, both good and bad. If you've read my blog at all, you know that I'm pretty attached and I like it that way. It works for us.

In my heart of hearts, this decision process - the offering of options, supporting choice, listening to needs - is the very essence of attachment parenting. And last night, Sister-Bug showed a perfect example of a Securely Attached Child: she made a choice, having faith in its rightness for her, sure that she would be cared for if she needed care. She felt loved and attached all night long, alone in her floor-bed or cuddled up with me in the wee hours. My Attachment relationship with her contributed greately to her ability to confindently make that choice.

None of my kids will sleep with me forever, but I am happy to know that they will choose when to move on from my sides when it is right for them.

Last night after posting this, Sister-bug requested that we make her a bed for herself. We did, but exhausted after a long travel day, she fell asleep in my arms and I put her to bed with us. I woke her up to pee at about 3:00 and in her stupor she insisted on her own bed. She slept there till 6:30, when she happily got herself up and came to find me.


  1. Beautiful. Eloquently stated...those are some lucky kids who have parents who respect and help to guide them to their comfort and independence!!

  2. Thanks for the vote of coincidence - sometimes I feel like I'm just faking it till I make it!