Family Bed

20140507-222440.jpgNothing says sleep-deprived like a toddler in your bed.

When they were teeny little babies, they slept in a pack-n-play crib right next to me. As they got bigger, and louder, we moved them into their own rooms so we didn’t jolt awake with every murmur or throat clearing. (Which in our experience happens all night long.) This was easier with our first than with our second since we live in a two bedroom condo. (Our second child moved into a temporary nursery converted from the master bedroom’s walk-in closet that is much cuter than its description suggests.)

The plan was to put the boys in the same room as soon as the baby could sleep through the night – one in the big beautiful crib, one in a brand new car bed sized for toddlers. When we first made the transition, everyone was into it. The car bed was accepted after a few days of convincing and some reverse psychology; the baby was more than comfortable in the crib. We felt like we succeeded.

Until the baby started teething.

The stretches of sleep got shorter as the bottom two teeth cut simultaneously through his gums. And the toddler who does not like to hear his brother cry woke up with him.

Long after the baby was soothed back into dreamland, the toddler was wide awake and cursing his open eyes through temper tantrums so severe that they sometimes culminated in vomit. (This kid does not appreciate disruptions to his beauty rest.)

Alas, finally, *smh*… Last night we were defeated. We brought the baby back into our almost-reclaimed walk-in closet after his teething screeches caused yet another a midnight fit that was calmed only by a YouTube video of Common, Colby Caillat, and Elmo singing about “Belly Breathing.” (We watched it four times in a row.)

It was exhausting for all of us.

Needless to say, when my big boy toddled into our room at 6 am with his blankie, it wasn’t hard to convince him to collapse in our bed for another couple of hours. And when I asked him if he likes sleeping in the same room as the baby, I wasn’t surprised to hear his no.

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Mel Kozakiewicz a professor, editor, writer, and mother of two.

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