Every night I start the evening off in my big comfy bed with my big comfy husband. Some nights I don’t get the “call” to snuggle my youngest son until 5 am, some nights the call comes early at midnight. On very rare occasions he never calls at all and I wake, confused, in my own bed and see daylight streaming into my own windows. It doesn’t matter how old my kids get- if I’m not woken before 7 am I’m checking to make sure they are breathing before celebrating.
I’ve spent at least 30-50% of each night sleeping cuddled up with my 2.5 year old in recent memory. In our earliest days he slept all night with me. Now that he has a queen sized bed in his room I just sleep with him.On our worst days when we are butting heads and my boys seem to be doing everything in their power to test my sanity- those are the days we need a family nap the most.
But more than co-sleeping at night, the thing that I look forward to most in life is co-napping with both of my little ones. I have two very cuddly boys who fight over who gets to cuddle with mommy. Punches have been thrown over the issue. My solution? A family nap. Mommy sandwich… if you will. And while I may play it off as a way to give each child their fair share of cuddle time with Mommy, secretly I’m overjoyed at a reason to slow down and savor time with my kids with no interruptions.
The primal mothering instinct in me prefers sleeping with my children. When I’m sleeping in my room they are so far away it is unsettling and truthfully it often keeps me awake. “Are the doors all locked?” “What if one of them wakes up and leaves the house while I’m sleeping?” Before our pool fence was installed the thoughts were of them escaping through the back patio door (even though they would need a key they couldn’t possibly obtain) and drowning in the pool. Co-sleeping is my selfish way of sleeping deeper and more peacefully. There- I said it!
Maybe the irrational thoughts stem from the fact that, about 2.5 years ago, a car drove into our duplex. It drove into the house to our left, the mirror image of our floor plan, into the room that was the mirror image of Fletcher’s room. Luckily, no one was harmed even though our neighbor’s young daughter was in that room at the time. And yes, after that incident she began sleeping with her mother again. I would have too.
So often I fight that inner battle when my oldest son won’t sleep in his own bed- should I make him sleep in his bed or should I give in and let him sleep in mine? Usually a cuddle session in his bed will convince him to stay in his room… but sometimes he comes into my room and I can’t say no. I try to put myself in his shoes and in his world where monsters could be real, and shadows could hide them…. where mommy’s presence takes away all those fears. I have fond memories of crawling into my mother’s bed in the early morning hours and I see nothing wrong with him having those memories either. In fact- I hope he looks back on this time of his life and feels loved and safe. I’m a mama tiger protecting my young from the predators (both imaginary and real). What could be safer for a child than sleeping next to a mother who sleeps light enough to hear even the quietest cry for “mama” or who can sense when her baby is close to the edge of the bed and will pull them in tighter and closer?
On our worst days when we are butting heads and my boys seem to be doing everything in their power to test my sanity- those are the days we need a family nap the most. Both boys are calmed and centered by our cuddle time. I can literally feel my older son’s bad mood slough off when he puts his head onto my bare stomach- his happy place- and centers himself. It is warm body and heartbeat that can often reel him back in from his worst moods. For Everett, it is a nursing session and a sweaty cuddle in the crook of my arm. He still fits, but just barely, under my head. Truth me told, I need that nap just as much as they do to quietly reflect on how much I love my boys; I love them more when the house is quiet and they are asleep in my arms and can forgive the tantrums and forget the messes they create. I can soak up the pure love that emanates from their little bodies. It is healing after a morning, like yesterday’s, when my oldest yelled loudly during a tantrum “I dont want nothing is this world!” “I don’t like anything except my room!” after refusing to buy him a ukelele. As moms we have to pull them close when they are the worst and love them the most when it’s the hardest.
I want to look back at this time in life when my boys are still almost babies and know that I took advantage of their willingness to still snuggle. In the not so distant future my boys won’t want to lay in the crook of my arm with their heads on my shoulder. I won’t get to run my fingers through their hair and my boys won’t tell me how comfy my squishy belly and boobies are. I won’t be thinking… “I’m so glad I made my kids stay in their beds” because no child goes to college sleeping with their mothers. I’ll be thinking…”God, I wish they could have slept me me just a little while longer.”