I saw a status update on Facebook that amused me recently. My sister-in-law (Aly) described how her 3 year old climbed into their bed in the early hours of the morning and they grudgingly allowed her in. After lying still for about a minute she started bouncing around. They told her to keep still and she said, “But I’m a froggy. I want to hop, hop, hop like a frog.” So her Dad said, “We don’t want any frogs in our bed. No more froggy jumps please.” After a short pause a little voice piped up, “Can I leap like a deer?”
I can relate to this story, especially lately. Last night I said to Birdy, “Night, night, mind the bed bugs don’t bite.” And she said, “Well if they do, I will just crawl into your bed!’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I bet you will.” I think because the weather’s been so cold, a certain little person keeps turning up in our room at about 4 am. And I must say it’s quite convenient because it’s a lot warmer if she curls up with us than if I have to go and settle her in her bedroom!
We’ve come full circle on this one, but it’s partly an age thing. When Birdy was little we had a rule that she couldn’t come into Mummy and Daddy’s bed until the birds were singing. This was mainly because she’d wriggle and squirm so much that none of us would get any sleep. I was pretty firm about it, because I thought that if she came into our bed I’d never get her out again. But there was one day a few months ago when neither my husband or I noticed that she’d got into bed with us until we woke up and found her asleep between us in the morning. And I thought, well if it’s not disturbing anyone, then what’s the problem? So now we let her stay there as long as she doesn’t start doing the cha-cha in the middle of the night.
Last week on my radio show I interviewed Rozanna Lilley from the Children and Families Research Centre at Macquarie Uni about the way children and families sleep around the world. Her point is that in most cultures, some form of co-sleeping is the norm. Not necessarily bed-sharing, but sleeping together, rather than expecting infants to sleep alone. The idea that children have problems sleeping is a relatively recent phenomenon in western cultures, and it may be that our expectations of children have changed, rather than that their sleeping has become worse. To hear the full interview click here.
Anyway, we actually quite enjoy it when Birdy comes to snuggle up with us. So far she hasn’t vomited or wee’d in our bed, though I’m sure the day is coming. Obviously I might feel differently if I had four kids, but with just one, she’s actually quite a good hot water bottle. I’m sure I’ll have second thoughts about it when summer rolls around though!
Do your kids climb into bed with you? What time of morning is OK? Do you let them sleep in your bed, or is it strictly a kid-free zone? What rules do you have to make sure everyone gets a good night’s sleep, or as good as possible?