Thursday, March 22, 2007

Sleeping Like Dogs

We're like dogs at my house. We're like a little pack of puppies wriggling and squirming, jockeying to get the most comfortable position every night. I've re-instituted the family bed. I'm not getting any more hours of sleep each night, and I'm still oft-awakened, but I'm greeting each morning happier and more satisfied with the hours that preceded it.

We have always practiced co-sleeping, but when Oliver was about 18 months old we finally (and with MUCH struggling) moved him to his own bed. First this was a mattress on the floor next to our mattress on the floor. Then it was his own bed on the floor of his own room down the hall. Then Sam came along and we never got around to moving him to his own bed and as I have gradually come to the conclusion that he will be my last baby I haven't been in a hurry to move him. I'm not yet ready to be independent.

But bedtime had been kind of a hassle because our routine required me to lay down with each child in turn until he drifted off to sleep. This sometimes stretched out to where I wasn't enjoying it anymore. So, in an effort to both shorten the routine and help Oliver and Sam bond a bit more, I began bringing them both to my bed for book reading. Then we turned out the light, sang a couple of songs and curled up around each other until both were sweetly breathing deeply into sleep. At that point I would extricate myself and watch as they turned and twisted around each other in the warm vacuum that I left.

At first we carried Oliver to his own bed down the hall. But then Nik was away and I just kept him there with me and the three of us made our way towards morning every night. Together. And I started to really look forward to going to sleep each night. And Oliver, who can be quite a non-sleeper, has been sleeping solidly almost every single night. Maybe he is as comforted by our little nest as I am. Or maybe that is just how things will go for now. And later they will go differently. And that is the beauty of learning that the best mothering is by instinct. For me this means doing what feels right regardless of what the books say, what the experts opine or how I imagine my mother might react.

So for right now, anyway, we're sleeping like dogs in our little green house. It's liberating. And deeply satisfying.


  1. I love it! I lay with my boys each night in their own beds, but I never mind if either ventures in to be with us. I love the sound and smell of my babies sleeping next to me. You can bet this new little one will be right next to me all night long. You know I'm all about the instinct!

    That is the sweetest picture ever!!!

  2. What a cute picture! My child sleeps in a tent on the floor.... no judgement here:) Anything to get a good night sleep.

  3. With our oldest at 7 and our youngest at 3, we have just moved away from the family bed, mainly because the oldest likes to dig and paw like a rabid dog while he sleeps. His hands and feet dig and dig into my flabbiness and I just can't take it anymore! More nights than not, I am in bed with one son and Hubby in bed with the other. The boys share a room now, which I think offers them comfort and peace. I have also just weaned my youngest from breastfeeding (because he drew blood). Oh, both of my boys are on the spectrum... I need to bookmark your blog; I like the way you think! ;)