Tuesday, March 10, 2009

You Never Know When It's Going to End ...

I'm a little sensitive today (still getting used to having my period after a decade -- ! -- ) of no menstrual ups and downs thanks to pregnancy and nursing. But I burst into tears reading a journal entry from a mom of five. Don't think I could find the link again -- I was chasing information about colonial costumes down the various rabbit holes of the web, and ended up at this sweet family site by a homeschooling, religious farm woman. One might think we wouldn't have a lot in common, so wittily urbane am I. :)

Her children are pretty spread out (unlike me, she didn't wait until her thirties to start) so she has a couple teenagers. And what she said that had me sniveling like a baby was, "I wish they would tell you when something is happening for the last time."

She was reminiscing about her now-twelve-year-old boy, and realizing that at some point last summer, he had been draped over her lap reading a story, and hadn't been in her lap since. If she had only known, she would have hugged him a little tighter back then. And that made me think of all the people I've seen lately wanting their kids into their cribs at two months or four months and how they were adamantly not going to ever let them into their beds. And that made me remember hearing a radio host, Dennis Prager, once proclaim what a gift it was to share sleep with your child.

Granted, some of us have to contend with pretty annoying side effects, like an elbow to the nose or a kick to the groin while you're in REM sleep, but I can tell, like all things, that this too will pass. The majority of American parents actually have their kids get into their beds at some point during the night -- with my babies, they just started out there. Would I do anything differently? Sure -- I would have had an Arm's Reach Co-Sleeper with our first child -- a great in-between compromise, and well worth the money.

But would I give away a single night of snuggling with our precious kids (who look and seem more precious when they are, in fact, asleep)? No. Will I be wistful when I look back and realize that they'll never make me sleep like a pretzel again? Yeah, a little bit.

But that's what worked for our family. You have to do what's best for yours. And because God has a sense of humour, each child will be different!


Kylie said...

Both of my babies slept in an Arm's Reach co-sleeper and I loved it! I just clicked on the link and saw they now have sleigh bed co-sleepers. Still as functional and wonderful but so beautiful, too. What is wrong with me that I am so excited about this?! :)

Blacktating said...

Co-sleeping is a beautiful thing. When people are adamant about NEVER having the baby in their bed or have the baby in the crib down the hall from DAY ONE, it really upsets me. Even the AAP recommends that babies sleep in the same room for the first year and they are very vocally anti co-sleeping.
Today my son and I stayed home from work/daycare together and took a 2-hour nap. On the weekends, the whole family jumps in the bed together for naps. I can't imagine it any other way.

Roxanne Beckford Hoge said...

Oh, a nap sounds so lovely! I have to say, though, there are some babies that don't like to be touched. And when my twins were younger, they were in a crib together for a bit.

But one day, it all ends. Bittersweet is the best word, because while my back will rejoice, and hubby and I will be alone together, we'll be saying goodbye to our little birdies.

Jason Hurt, M.D. said...

My wife and I have a 2.5 yr old daughter, and she starts out in her bed but always ends up btwn us before morning. It is amazing how many people think we would be interested in their advice without offering it to us .... they simply insert their 2 cents worth without request. Why do so many think parents are interested in their advice? I am an OB/GYN and rarely ever get a full uninterrupted night's sleep, but I can say I have never been so bothered by having a third member of our family in bed that I would prevent her from joining us if she wants. What do you think? see I am asking!

Roxanne Beckford Hoge said...

Thanks for asking, Jason! :) I can't find the study now, but some big, mainstream mag, like Parents or Ladies Home Journal or something like that, did a survey 8 or 10 years ago and the results proved that the majority of American parents are like you guys -- their kids end up in their parents' rooms at some point. Not that you should always do what everyone else does, but it's comforting to know.

We work the opposite way: everyone falls asleep in our bed and gets moved out later. We have too many kids (4) to do individual good night routines. Okay, so I seem supremely lazy -- I prefer to think "efficient."