We’d wanted one for years.
As soon as we got married, we started planning for it. We knew we’d need a bigger place first, and should probably try to save up a little too. But there was never going to be a perfect time for it. We just had to take the plunge, come what may.
It would change our lives, without a doubt. But we were confident the benefits would make it worthwhile. We watched our friends with envy and we knew we had to do it too.
So we did it. We finally got ourselves a King mattress.
Unfortunately, then we had a kid.
My son was always a good sleeper. We cried it out, he got the point, and from a few months in, he was sleeping through the night pretty consistently. There have been speed bumps, but nothing out of the ordinary: if we go away for a few days, there’s an adjustment period both at the new digs and back at home when we return; during the interminable teething stage he was waking up pretty frequently; and after we converted his crib to a bed we foolishly told him he could get out of it when he woke up, rather than sit there and scream our names for thirty minutes. Not the best idea.
But, for the most part – compared to many other kids whose sleep-deprived parents we’ve encountered – Detective Munch sleeps like a champ. So much so that we’ve never worried about letting him spend the occasional night in bed with us.
Over the last few weeks, he’s been waking up repeatedly, and having a hard time getting back to sleep. He claims he’s scared and just needs a snuggle, but I think it’s a ploy. No one is scared of a basketball hoop, right? (Plus, if it’s not a ploy, then I’m a mean, heartless asshole, so I’m sticking with “it’s a ploy.”) He’s a trickster, this kid, and his endgame is our bed.
Apparently we let him in one time too many, and now he’s addicted. It’s fine once in a while; I won’t deny it’s nice to have him next to me some nights. But it’s also nice to sleep, and most of the time when he’s in our bed, he’s the only one sleeping. (At least, I think he’s sleeping. If he’s consciously kicking me in the face and crotch all night, then let’s just say we have bigger problems than him pretending to be scared of stuff!)
I know there are people who love “co-sleeping” as it’s sometimes called, and as I mentioned, it has its perks. But I cuddle my son plenty during the day, so I think I’m covered there. And I desperately need the little sleep that is left in my life. With him in my bed, that goes away.
The one thing that makes his presence even slightly tolerable is our king bed. We had a queen for the first two years of his life, and trying to fit a third person in that thing, even a tiny one, was like playing Tetris and always losing. It sucked. We thought the bigger mattress would help, and it does, but even the king isn’t always big enough. We’ve even taken to turning the sheets sideways when he joins us, so that he can sleep between us without potentially falling off – though the sound of a toddler ker-plunking onto the floor is undeniably delightful! – and we can each have some room to navigate without feeling trapped.
So one night a week was fine. But now that he keeps waking up, and demanding to sleep in our bed without taking no for an answer, it’s becoming more frequent. And because we’re caving, the cycle continues, and his dependency grows stronger. He used to do a little but a little wouldn’t do it so the little got more and more.
If he were still a baby, it would be easy to share a bed with the little guy (if I weren’t worried about smothering him to death, of course). Or we could even cry it out again (spare me your protests, I’ve already made my feelings clear), but there’s something different about ignoring someone who can actually scream your name (not that that’s stopped me with Mom and Buried!) I’ll gladly ignore my son when he’s a teenager, but right now it just seems cruel.
So we’re trying to find new ways to break him of this habit. I’m thinking that maybe letting him catch us in a compromising position might do it, except every time he sees us hugging he runs over to join in so that could backfire in spectacular fashion.
The kicker is that Mom and Buried kind of loves having him in bed with us. So there’s a decent chance I’ll just be on the couch until he’s 12.