Thud. Pitter-patter, pitter-patter.
Those are small feet. Can’t be the big one. Must be the little one…
“Mama? Daddy? I peed the bed,” they say.
Oh! It’s the middle one.
“I’ll get the sheets,” my husband says.
“Climb on in, baby,” I say to my kiddo.
So in they climb and in we snuggle and once Dad is done taking the wet sheets off the twin bed, he climbs back in, too. And then the three of us fall back to sleep, curled tightly together in our queen-sized bed.
And we usually can fall back to sleep—quickly enough. Not each time, of course. But most times. If we didn’t let them into our bed, we’d not only have to change our kiddo’s clothes and make their bed again, but we’d likely have to lay with them in their bed until they fell back to sleep and then either (super) uncomfortably fall asleep in their bed on accident or wait too long to go back to our own bed, we’d be up for the day at that point.
There’s really no sugar coating it: We are extremely tired people. We’re extremely tired people with three children, we were extremely tired people with two children, and we were also—you guessed it!—extremely tired people with one child.
We have been extremely tired for more than six years.
We may not be extremely tired forever (TBD), but we are right now. So we will take any extra sleep or rest we can get. (Except when we’re staying up until midnight when all of our children are sound asleep because we’re binge-watching Cheer or Love Is Blind on Netflix and therefore, that supersedes sleep, and I will take no questions on that because we are the parents and we’ll do what we want and that’s how parenting works.)
So the one way we’ve discovered we can get extra shut-eye comfortably in our own bed is by allowing them to climb in when they wake during the night, or early morning hours.
Like the other morning.
Quite literally, our 6-year-old came into our bedroom a few days ago at 4 am and said, “Who’s ready to paaaartaaay?” like she was Kristen Wiig in the movie Bridesmaids.
“Is this real life?” I thought to myself.
“No one is ‘partying’ now, Maggie. Climb on in, it’s still dark out,” I said, and she did, and we fell back to sleep for a little while.
There have been many nights of high fevers or vomiting which means an automatic pass to sleep in Mom and Dad’s bed. I need them close to me, and they want to be close to us.
Growing pains? Climb on in, let me rub your legs.
Bad dream? There’s room for you here.
We’ve been this way from the start of our parenting journey. As long as we were being safe, we’ve let them come in and sleep with us for whatever reason. It has been the quickest and most efficient way to calm them down and get them back to sleep. But it hasn’t always just been for them—it has been for us, too. Like when I was nursing each baby for what seemed like round-the-clock hours, we’d let them lay with us while I breastfed so I could rest too.
The one piece of parenting advice we’ve always taken seriously is this—do what’s best for your family. Because I know this doesn’t work for everyone—but it does for us.
For now, anyway.
It’s one of those “do what works for you, until it doesn’t” type things. Our kids are growing faster and faster, it seems. And they won’t always want to sleep with us (which is a good thing, I think), so we’ll take the snuggles while we can get them. There have been times where all five of us are smooshed into our queen-size bed (at 6′ 2 and 5′ 11, we are not small humans), which sounds crazy now that I type that, but oddly enough, those are some of my favorite memories.
And I know they always will be.
“You can’t sleep tonight, my baby? Climb on it. You are always welcome here.*”
*Unless the door is locked. Because let’s just say, we’ve recently installed a door handle with a lock—for everyone’s protection.