The newest trend in sleep: Sibling Bed Sharing.

siblingcosleepingI may have lied in the title.  As far as I know sibling bed sharing isn’t a trend.  It is however trending in the Rosas household and I’m getting excited about what this new bedtime tactic has afforded us: drama free bed time!

It all started last week.  My youngest son Everett decided that he no longer wanted to sleep in his own bed.  He got out of bed one night to find me and explained in his own way that he was afraid of the dark and of monsters.  It went something like this: “Rawr Rawr” he said as he pointed to a pirate ship coat hook on his wall and shook as if afraid.  Toddler charades are so fun, right?  Next he took off towards my room and pointed to tell me he wanted to sleep in my room with us.  I told him no.  We worked very hard to end his dependency on nursing and laying with me to go to sleep so I wasn’t about to back track.  I’m still working on night weaning him and having him sleep through the night…

Then it hit me!  What if he slept in the room with his brother for the night?  I had tried to have them sleep together before hoping Ev would learn to fall asleep on his own that way but it never worked.  This time Ev has learned to fall asleep independent of me so I thought it would be worth a shot.  Fletcher’s room lacked th “spooky” pirate ship also.

  “Everett, would you like to sleep with your brother in his room?”

  “YEAH!” he yelled excitedly and scurried off to his room.  

I directed him to be quiet and we snuck into the room, then I picked him up and put him in his brother’s twin sized bed.  Fletcher had already fallen asleep like the angel he is.  At first I thought I would get away with sneaking another person into his bed but Everett started talking to his brother.  I love the look on a child’s face when they wake from a deep sleep.  It is like they have no earthly idea where they are; they are so wide eyed and dreamy.  I’m sure he was dreaming about Transformers and saving the world from Decepticons.  I explained that his brother was afraid of the dark and thought he saw a monster in his room so he would like to sleep with his big brother.

“Your job is to keep him safe and in bed.” I told him.  He was more than up to the task.  I felt pretty good about my decision and left the two boys, wide awake, in bed together.

I didn’t have a monitor in Fletcher’s room and really wanted to know what was being said.  I overheard Fletcher tell his little brother that there was no such thing as monsters but that was it.  I walked away and held my breath.  

I continued to hear talking for a few minutes and then it was silent.  I marched in with my camera because of course… I had to get photographic evidence.  There were my boys sound asleep in the tiny twin bed.  It had worked!

Each night since then I have let the boys sleep together except I switched their rooms.  Everett isn’t afraid of his room as long as Fletcher or someone is with him.  Everett has a queen size bed so it makes more sense to have them share a bed there.  I’m pretty amazed at how well this is working.  Both boys really enjoy sharing a bed as far as I can tell.  When asked if he would rather sleep alone in his bed or room in with his brother Fletcher always wants to sleep with Everett.

The other bonus to them sleeping in Everett’s room is that I have a video monitor in there.  Last night Everett put up a fight because he was overtired.  It took a while for him to stop crying after I stopped nursing him.  He knew I would leave and he didn’t like the idea.  Fletcher meanwhile left the bed to get a late night snack.  When Everett calmed I left him, alone, just to see how it went.  No crying.  Fletcher went back to the room, Everett’s room, on his own accord and crawled in bed.  I just sat back and listened.

After about ten minutes of chatting about Transformers, monsters, and some wrestling I intervened.  I used the two-way function on the monitor. “Boys, it is time to go to sleep.  Put your heads on the pillow and go to bed.  Love you!”  Fletcher replied “How many minutes until you come in here?  10 minutes?  100 minutes?  2,500 minutes?  When?”  “No minutes… you can go to sleep now.  I’ll see you both in the morning.”  I heard Fletcher tell me goodnight and instruct his brother to go to sleep.  Then silence.

Some of you might be thinking that I am passing my parenting duties on to Fletcher.  To this I reply- Hell yeah I am!  I’ve been in charge of getting Everett to sleep by bouncing, rocking, nursing, patting, shhhing, singing, for over 2 years.  With the rare exception when his father was able to get him to bed it has been me.  Sometimes for over an hour each night.  When he started refusing to go to bed my first thought was “Oh crap.  I’m not ready to do this anymore.  I’m done.”  It was a fluke that the brother thing panned out.  I’ll be honest and say I have no other intentions with this bed sharing thing other than making my life easier.  I’m not all “I want my kids to sleep together because it will make them have a closer bond.” or whatever.  I was in survival mode.

I have no grand design in mind.  Will this be happening next week?  Next month?  In a year?  I know that I used to sleep in the bed with my sister (and yes, we cuddled) for what is probably an embarrassingly long amount of time.  Especially for my older sister!  She would help me to the bathroom when I was terrified of the dark in the middle of the night.  She took on a parenting role overnight and I relied on her for comfort, warmth, and as a level headed older sibling when I was afraid to put my feet on the ground next to the bed in the dark for fear of a monster grabbing them.  I can remember many nights of waking from a nightmare and having her calm me down.  I know firsthand how comforting having an older sibling to sleep with can be.  Lucky for me my Fletcher is an outstanding big brother (who can sleep through anything, including Everett crying multiple times a night) and enjoys looking after his little brother.  For now.

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