Finding the funny in parenthood before somebody loses an eye...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Co-Sleeping with the Enemy

The "family bed."

Do you know what this is? It's how psychologists refer to your bed when your children sleep with you. It's the pillow-y haven where the family nestles down together for the night, arms and legs draped across each other in a trusting, completely unprotected fashion. Soft breathing whooshes in and out of your little angels' puckering, lightly parted lips while their dry warm bodies cuddle into your scooping frame and together you recreate the feel of your womb.

Well, I don't like it.

And I confirmed this to myself last night when I let my son sleep in my bed.

I'm not big on co-sleeping. I've never been big on it. I know it works for some people. I however can't have anyone else in my bed. Ever. Even when my boyfriend sleeps over, he is relegated to one side of the bed. If he crosses the line there are consequences. Consequences that usually involve sex being withheld. Or a lot of scowling.

And here's something they don't tell you. Kids are pointy. They have elbows, knees, heels, chins and cheek bones. And all these parts move. A lot. Especially when they're sleeping. I needed shin guards and a face mask to protect myself from the onslaught of kicking, smacking, stretching.

And then there was the grinding. Somewhere around 2AM I woke to a sound like nails on a chalkboard...Grrrriiitttttt.....gggrrrrraaaaaatttttt....griitt....gggrrrrrrriiiiittttttttttt. My son was grinding his teeth in his sleep. Who knew such tiny teeth could make so much noise?

Shortly thereafter came the snoring. Loud snoring. Like, old man snoring...

And kids are much bigger than they look.

I've also let my oldest daughter sleep in my bed on occasion and I am always surprised to see how she unfolds to five times her natural size. I call her "Origami Girl" because it's like her body is a folded paper design and at night the whole paper unfolds all over my bed. My son is a smaller origami form, but he takes up more room than my boyfriend. And he’s only 7. It's unreal.

And let me introduce you to my son’s favorite stuffed animal, Funky Chicken, who spent the night staring at me with his wide chicken eyes. I'd wake up and there was funky chicken. Watching. Waiting. I'm not sure for what. Maybe for me to hit REM so he could prod Ben to shift positions. Why would I think this? Well, at 4AM I was jolted awake by a kick to my thigh. My son was now sleeping sideways. Across my bed. Across me. There is no doubt in my mind this was Funky Chicken's idea of retribution for putting him in a washing machine a few weeks earlier.

And then, of course,...there was the "accident." (Don't tell my boyfriend though because he doesn't know - and it was on his side of the bed...).

I won’t go into details, but let me just say that upon waking the bed was immediately stripped and cleaned.

I know there are moms out there who love this experience. I totally "get" the love you feel when you look at their tiny sleeping faces smushed up on the pillow. I totally "get" the feeling of protectiveness you experience by having them so close and I completely "get" why kids sleep so well in their parents beds. Yeah, yeah. All very sweet and cute.

But unfortunately the one thing about the "Family Bed" I didn't "get" at all is one of the things I cherish most.



  1. Co-sleeping is definitely the wrong word for it... only one person gets any sleep and that is the kid. I've done the co-sleeping thing for almost 7 years now (since the day my son was born) and now that he's growing it is no longer the most comfortable thing. My son does the same stuff your son did... sleeping across the bed (except his feet end up in my face) and there have been numerous accidents. But even with all that said, I love it and we're not looking to change it any time soon.

  2. That's hysterical. I am exactly the same way (and I agree about kids being pointy, too), so I decided about two years ago that I was getting my OWN room with my OWN bed. I have two boys - one is almost seven and the other just turned 13 months. Both my husband and my older son snore...LOUD. I think not! I'm a light sleeper as it is, so NOBODY sleeps with Mom, not even the Hubs. I've gotten some pretty good sleep for awhile now, now that I've smartened up. It's the best!

  3. Hilarious! You're so funny! Hope you can make up some sleep tonight!

  4. Sarah, Great story. I remember those days and never want to repeat it. When the babies stay over they can nap on me in the recliner, but overnight - no way! My kids had their own beds from day one. I can't say whether it is better or not from child development point of view. I just know I needed it. Unfortunately, to get my loud-snoring, pillow-grabbing husband out of my bed I had to divorce him.
    Sharon p.s. cute picture

  5. I can sleep anywhere at any time. I am famous for it, but my kids have figured out ways to make sure that doesn't happen.

    Upon the odd occasion that my daughter has made it into our bed she has always found a way to use my body as a punching bag. And when she is isn't punching me she is pressed up against me.

    She finds is comforting and I find it suffocating as I am always worried that I'll inadvertently roll over and smother her.

  6. Oh and what about the breath! When they are toddlers oh so cute but when they are six and they sleep with their mouth opene its like a squirrel made a deposit and then ran away!

    We haven't had my daughter in bed for a week and it was heaven. Then last night in she comes and it felt like we were all wrestling in our sleep. She would throw a leg over me and I'd throw it back and then her feet are somehow up by my head, now that's pleasant, not! Plus you can't have a blanket on when their head is down there. I don't even like my husband that close to me, so what makes you think I want you all up in my face?

    Ah, sleep, what is that?


    aka ~

  7. I so agree! I love having the sweet cuddly time but that usually lasts for a short time. The rest of the time I'm feeling their "pointy" elbows and knees everywhere and, in general, NOT sleeping at all. I liked this post! It made me giggle. :)

  8. I know I had this story up before, but I was stupid enough to let a child sleep with me again and had to remind myself what a moron I am.


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