Any parent will tell you children and sleep are the chemical equivalent of oil and water: they don't really blend well.
We didn't start out this parenting gig thinking about sleep styles. Ittybit slept in a crib next to our bed for her first 11 months. She occupied her own room by the time she was a year-old when she attained the holy grail of milestones: Sleeping Through The Night.
Contrary to popular belief, however, we didn't look down our very long noses at folks we knew who were still sleeping (or not sleeping as the case may be) with their school-aged kids because they had adopted the Family Bed sleep style in their offspring's infancy. We didn't eschew the idea of sleeping like puppies from the start. In fact, with Annabel, I had hoped to sleep in the same bed at least until the round-the-clock feedings spaced out.
But it was clear quite early that she wasn't comfortable with the puppy arrangement. She fussed and fidgeted until I laid her in her own bed, where she instantly relaxed and fell into a restful sleep. Maybe it was because I didn't "room in" with her in the hospital. Who knows. Having never really babysat or changed diapers before her birth, I was afraid to be alone with her at night. Or maybe she just sleeps better solo. I know with my snoring soul mate I would.
Silas' early days were different. When he was born, three and a half years later, I wasn't petrified of motherhood or of a tiny child. Unlike the staff who cared for his sister, the nursery staff on duty during his stay had to come and find him for weigh-ins and examinations. Usually they'd find us both sleeping, him in the crook of my arm, in the hospital bed.
The custom continued after we got home because of nerve pain that came with his birth. It was too hard to get out of bed to breastfeed around the clock. And he was still and comfortable, hardly moving a bit.
We we all somewhat comfortable back then, probably helped in part by my husband's insistence on getting a king-sized bed after numerous late-night visits from the sleep-master-flash herself in the months prior to Thing 2's arrival.
He's been very patient, my husband, even though I know he's wishing for the day when we can clear the cribs and changing tables and plush toys from our bedroom and install a lock.
I'm in no rush.
I know there are days when I should have more sleep. Not only is my disposition more similar to a rabid beast, but having to drive upwards of 100 miles a day (more for Jed) makes sleep deprivation a potentially dangerous condition for everyone.
But I also know that these kids are only little for such a little window of time. And sooner than an blink they'll be sleeping like logs and locking their own doors ... (all except for Silas, poor guy, since he won't really have a door to lock only a closet-size cubicle with a bed and dresser will fit in the place we currently call the Guest Prison. But I digress).
It's just that waking up before the kids do and watching them toss and turn during their sleep life unconscious, may indeed be the best part of my day. I can see their personalities from the first eye open: Annabel wakes like a lion and Silas wakes like a lamb.
I think Jed can see the beauty of it, too.
We laugh together as Silas opens his eyes and notices his sister has crawled in beside me during the wee hours of the morning. He screams in delight and claws his way overtop of me to get to her. A little brother wake-up call.
"Do you think they make a bigger bed than king sized?"