Sleeping with the …. Toddler

Let me start by saying that I love my daughter. More than anything in this world, I love my daughter. She is the light of my life, she fills my heart with joy,and her presence reminds me dailyto live and love fully. She has been my absolute greatest gift. I mean, come on. How could you not love this face?

That said, I want my bed back.

Thanks to that charming little smile, that I unfortunately have a very hard time saying “no” to, I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in 2 years. (Save for those magical nights that my mom or mother-in-law take her for a special sleepover).

When G turned 6 months old and she still wasn’t sleeping through the night our pediatrician told us to let her “cry it out”. We tried. And failed. Miserably. Like I said, I have a hard time saying no. And an even harder time listening to my baby girl crying alone while I selfishly lay in my bed and listen.

Numerous other people – friends, family members, doctors, dentists … should I go on? – gave us that very same cry it out advice. I’d say we “tried” it another time or two over the years, only to be too soft-hearted (or gullible) and fail again.

Fast forward to today. My daughter is about to turn 2, and she not only wakes up during the night …. she wakes up in my bed. Not only does she wake up in my bed, but she falls asleep in my bed too. Gone are the days of putting her down in her crib and at least having a shot of having the bed to ourselves (or myself if I’m really lucky). I’m not too sure where those days went. But gone they are.

Sure, you’re probably thinking “what is she complaining about – this kid is tiny”. Well, allow me to demonstrate with an illustration or two …

Hey, I didn’t say they were good illustrations.

As you can see as illustrated above, G makesherself very comfortable. Very comfortable.I am inevitably pushed to the side of the bed where I am almost falling off each and every night. ShouldI try and scoot her over, she’ll wake up and say, “No mommy. My bed”. I’m not kidding. Notice in the illustrations, my hair is piled on top of my head in a bun. This is not by choice. I think it’s unhealthy for my poor hair to be bundled up like that. It causes breakage! But, since G nestles so close to me I live in fear that my enormous amount of hair will suffocate her, and so I’m forced to bundle it up. There are also the kicks in the face, ribs, back, or belly that I suffer each night, the leaking water bottles, and – dare I say it – the leaking diapers.

So, you see, sharing the bed with my toddler is no fun.

About 6 months ago, my mom bought me this book.

I’m on Chapter One.

Lately my literary choices have been limited to anything written by Sandra Boynton, Dr. Seuss,or that features Dora the Explorer. At the end of the day, when G goes to sleep, I would much rather curl up with Jersey Shore, or The Real Housewives of Wherever than read anything that requires real attention or thought. Call me trashy, but it’s true.

The truth is, for all the karate kicks and blows that I suffer unexpectedly during the dark of the night, and despite the fact that I’m writing this mere weeks before my child’s 2nd birthday, I know that this time too shall pass and a time will come when she won’t want to be bothered with me and her friend’s will be far cooler than us. I know that time will come too soon, and for all of the sleepless nights and broken hairs, when she wakes up and says, “Mommy, hold me”, somehow nothing else matters.

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