Since the day our little Bean was born, we’ve been practicing a form of co-sleeping known as bedsharing, something that has been a sweet, sweet bonding experience – especially since I’ve returned to work full-time.
We hadn’t set any expectations for this practice to end, but simply waited on a time that seemed right.
This bittersweet time has now (sort of) come for us.
It started a few weeks back as Bean approached the 18-month mark. She sleeps between my husband and I on our queen size bed, which has generally provided enough space for all involved, until she decided to start taking a little more than her fair share!
How could a tiny toddler take up so much space??
And yet one or both of us (my husband and I) would all too frequently find ourselves hanging on to the side of the bed by a hair, curled up in a bottom corner, or simply relegated to the couch or guest bed when we couldn’t take it any longer.
This grew progressively worse, to the point where for several nights in a row I was being pushed, kicked and prodded by a little Bean who was no longer seeming to get the concept of bed ‘sharing’ and seemed all too consumed with the idea of bed ‘hogging’.
I don’t mind admitting – I lost my patience with this idea pretty darn quickly.
I didn’t want Bean out of our bed and couldn’t really conceive of her leaving our room yet; I was starting to come to my wit’s end when something popped into my head. I grabbed her (never used, very small) crib mattress and plopped it down next to our mattress (which sits on a box spring on the floor).
Bean seemed quite taken with the whole idea of having her very own space. She marched up and down, jumped a few times, and generally displayed a happy demeanor. It did take me donating my pillow and blanket (which I’ve shared with her up to now) to get her to lie down for sleep, but whatever works, right?
She tried to climb back into the big bed a few times, but wasn’t at all frustrated when I gently laid her back on the crib mattress. If she had displayed any real frustration I would not have pushed the idea, but she didn’t, and in the end it was easier than I imagined it would be to get her to sleep there.
We ended up borrowing a twin-size mattress and box spring the next night; we have this little compact crib and that mattress just seemed too small. Bean likes her bigger mattress even better, and for the past few nights has been sleeping there without any fuss – and I must say sleeping better than she has been for awhile.
I am both thrilled that she now has her own space (and that I am no longer getting beat up at night!) and saddened by the fact that she is no longer in ‘our’ bed, as close as she still is. It’s a strange mix of emotions, to be sure.
But ultimately, while it’s not the prettiest bedroom set-up (I gave up caring about that a long time ago!) it seems to be working. And who knows – maybe when she does eventually transition to her own room, it will be a little bit easier. But probably not.
In the meantime, I’ll just try to enjoy the comfort of being able to stretch out in bed, along with the knowledge that I can still stretch out to reach Bean whenever she needs me. I think Bean pretty much feels the same way.
Do you have a co-sleeping arrangement? What have you found works best for your family?