Sunday, August 18, 2013

Worst Co-Sleeping Parent In The World

My children are not very cuddly people. When Carter Henry was a baby, I may or may not have described his cuddle habits as "it's like trying to cuddle an ironing board with claws." Addison has become more cuddly the older she gets. Hugs, wanting to sit in my lap and lean her head against me, and just loving pats and wanting to be close to me- I love it all.
 (cutest ironing board ever)
But I have always thought that perhaps their non-cuddliness is the reason that co-sleeping never worked for us. I have seen huge discussions on co sleeping- the pros and cons- but to us it was never even an option because our children would start writhing and kicking like their diapers were full of ants the minute we would all try to snuggle up as a family for even a nap. Sleep? Only taken seriously by them if they are all alone in their rooms with no one else in their sight.

We are still in Wisconsin visiting family, and for this long visit I have been very thankful that my sister has an extra two rooms where Addison sleeps alone in one, and Carter (and eventually I- after he is asleep) sleeps in the other. This means that they relatively keep their schedules, and Addison hasn't yet fallen into her usual travel sickness that seems to plague her every time we venture out on a big trip (knock on wood.)

This past Thursday, I threw both kids into the car (figuratively, of course), begged the help of my mother, and then we set off on a 6 hour road trip to go visit A and C's brand new cousin Kjell and his big sister Svana (and of course...their parents.) This exciting adventure meant a brief, 2 night hotel stay- which meant that I would share a bed with Addison. She really is too old to be sleeping in a pack 'n play, and she is so used to her toddler bed that she really accepts nothing less than a real bed now.

The first night, we ended up changing hotels 3 times (this may or may not be my fault....and may in part be blamed on the smell-triggering-sickness that comes with pregnancy- guilty.) We finally settled in a beautiful room that DIDN'T smell, and Carter decided to stand in his crib and chatter excitedly until 10pm because he could SEE US...why on earth would he ever go to sleep???

Addison fell right to sleep before I even climbed in beside her. SCORE! This would be easy to share a bed with her! What had I been worried about????

All went well until around 3:30am, when I felt her slight frame restlessly move and then shoot into a sitting position. "Car Car!" She called excitedly.

"Go to sleep, sweetie. Car Car is asleep."

"CAR CAR!" She yelled, so much louder this time. At this point she began to quickly move herself off the bed to go wake him- she could SEE HIM!!! Time to play!

I calmly brought her back to bed, wrapped her up in my arms, and attempted a sleep inducing cuddle. NOPE. She was wide awake and ready to go and wanted NOTHING to do with my cuddles, or staying in bed, or my polite requests for her to stop yelling her brothers name. She wiggled and danced like water on a hot griddle.

The next two hours? We repeated that ten million times. I spent the time wrestling her down in the very comfortable bed that was calling my name toward dreamland, but instead had to be the launching point for frantically trying to keep her away from her brother who is a very light sleeper himself.

Finally I was at my wits end. And exhausted. I set her up in the bathroom with her iPad and a snack and then tried to go back to bed. A few minutes later when I checked on her, I saw that she had shredded her granola bar in teeny tiny pieces all around the bathroom and was starting in on the tissues and toilet paper.

This is when Grandma woke up- and offered Addison to share HER bed (after cleaning up the bathroom mess.) What did Addison do? Fall obediently asleep on the other pillow. Of course. (apparently Addison was trying to say to me "it's not me...it's you")

The second night, she once again fell asleep pretty easily. I lay next to her and just marveled in her cuteness. Little button nose. Eyelashes that sweep her rosy cheeks. Tiny little hands resting on the sheet next to me. Oh her hands are so tiny!

It was when I stopped marveling and started trying to get some shut eye of my own- that I found I couldn't block out one little detail. The snoring.

Addison snores. Loudly. Aggressively. Think fog horn...on steroids...into a megaphone

I can't believe someone so cute and little can snore so LOUDLY. It took me a while to fall asleep even though I was exhausted. I slept rather lightly that night. I woke up every time she readjusted her little body that could fit pretty much every direction on that big bed. I went to the bathroom once and came back to find her right in my warm spot (so I switched to her side of the bed. DON'T DISTURB THE SLEEPING PRINCESS.) I checked on her frequently to make sure that she wasn't over by Carter. Night #2 seemed to be going much more smoothly than the first night. We can do this!

I woke up at 4am unable to sleep and just lay there, watching her sleep and marveling in her again. I love this little girl. I decided that co-sleeping with your kids is awesome. I loved being close to her and watching her snuggle into me (she was unconscious...but still...)

I finally fell back into a fitful sleep around 5:30am. All was well, until I was awakened by a child's laughter out in the hotel hallway. My child's laughter. Even in my sleep fog, I would know that laugh anywhere. I shot up in bed, and saw that the bed next to me was empty. "ADDISON!" I cried out. Co-sleeping fail.

I knew that was her I heard out in the hallway. Because of the previous night, I was convinced that she was out there with Carter. I started calling his name too, until I saw his peacefully sleeping form- completely undisturbed by the drama- in his crib.

I woke up (and freaked out) my mother with my cries, and ran out of bed toward the hallway, thinking surely my ears had deceived me. Nope. On the other side of the door was a half dressed little girl running, yelling, and laughing with glee at the freedom that was found on the other side of that door. Conquering the lock...the heavy door...escaping the bed right next to me...sneaking toward the door...all in complete silence- this girl is a freaking genius when she wants to be.

The sick feeling in my stomach did not go away as I grabbed her, brought her back into the room, and lectured her within an inch of her life. Once again she was then sent to Grandma's bed....where she lay really still waiting for Grandma to fall back asleep so that she could go continue her hallway party. (Grandma was too smart for her.)

So to sum up- I am the worst co-sleeping parent on the planet. Either I spend most of the night wrestling my child back into bed...or she escapes so silently into the night I am haunted with all of the unfortunate "what ifs" that we narrowly avoided. I have a feeling this is something you get better at the more you do it...but I'm not sure my nerves can take many more nights trying...

At least our visit was awesome. I am finding travels with my two...combined with pregnancy exhaustion...to be rather difficult. But completely worth it as we spend time with family, watch cousins play, and plant seeds for awesome family get togethers when the kids are a few more years down the road.

Right now...chaos and noise and bobbles and cookie bribes and some rough nights of sleep are necessary. But I pick out the good from the exhausting and call it a success. Now...how soon can everyone just move to Vermont so we never have to travel again? (-:


Like peanut butter on the fingers of a curious toddler, this post is begging to be shared.

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