Lindsay "sleeping" in her new "bed" our first week in our new house - 2010
I am a bit more lenient on bedtime than I am on anything. I know, shocker, right? Sorry, Smockity, my kids are only allowed to go "down" the slide.
It has been a long road, but I finally realized, my body and my husband's NEEDS sleep and we'll kinda just take it where we can get it. It's almost like a drug ;)
When Derek was born, I co-slept with him while I breastfed him. As he got older and I quit breastfeeding (bad mom!), we put him in his crib. I'm not sure how it all happened, but I remember having a pillow in his room and laying on the floor next to his bed waiting for him to go to sleep, so Ronnie and I could sleep together alone. Then my wise aunt, gave us some advice, he was only doing this because we let him. So we did the "let the child cry themselves to sleep" thing. It was hard, very hard. Especially when he would make himself throw up. It did in the end work, but it was almost too much trouble.
Lindsay, was a very, very easy baby. Thank Goodness!! Because I was pregnant with Hannah by the time she was 4 months old and was very sick!!! I would breastfeed her and rock her and put her to bed. She didn't sleep with us until much later. Derek and Lindsay both spent a lot of time at other people's houses while Hannah was in the hospital, so they learned multiple sleeping arrangements wherever they were.
By the time, Leah came along, I was babysitting 6 other children, 2 of who came at 5 am! (Did I mention, I'm not a morning person? I'll touch on mourning routines around here, next post.) I took 2 weeks off for maternity leave for Leah (Who does that?!?! I'm nuts, I know!) and then started baby-sitting again. It didn't take me long to figure out, I couldn't handle all the extra kids (one of which was the same age as Leah) and my newborn and be the mother, I needed to be. I hated giving it all up, but it was something I had to do for our family. This is why I call it survival. You go through seasons and you know you just can't do some things anymore.
Anyhow, Leah, slept a lot, so this was very nice for me during this tiring time. Isn't it wonderful, how God knows exactly what we need and what we can and can not handle?!?!? Since, I breastfed Leah, the longest, I did co-sleep with her quite a bit more. However, she did not give us any trouble transitioning into her own bed. (Her toddler bed, has been a different story!)
We no longer practice (for now) letting the child cry themselves to sleep. For the most part, bedtime is very smooth around our house. The children put the pjs on, brush their teeth, and if everyone is in a good mood, we sit down on the couch to read a story before bed. Daddy fills up sippy cups (yes, I let my children take milk to bed, I know, I'm a terrible mother!) and then Daddy tucks in the girls and I tuck in Derek. There are some nights when Ronnie has to work late and I tuck them all 3 into bed or when I have a meeting and Ronnie tucks all 3 in, but for the most part, that is how we do it. They all 3 drift off to sleep very easily.
During the night, however, is another story. I'm normally up at least once, sometimes twice, a night, filling up a sippy cup or taking someone to the bathroom, but they always go right back to sleep, we are never up for more than 5 minutes. We do allow our children to get in bed with us, if they have a nightmare or can't seem to get back to sleep on their own. So, there are many mornings that we wake up and have 1 or more children in bed with us. And I am thankful for a husband that allows this. Some of my fondest memories are being able to get in bed with my parents or grandparents after having a bad dream. (And I had a lot of them, really, I did!)
There also has been many of nights, that I have taken a baby to the couch to sleep, so that Ronnie does get a good night's rest. It's better for me to be tired at home, than for him to be tired, driving a semi all day. And we have quiet time here, so if need be, I can lay down, he doesn't have that luxury.
Remember, the main thing is to cherish the small moments while you can, and if that means loosing a little sleep because someone needs Daddy or Mommy to cuddle with, it will be worth it in the long run. Behavior issues are another story, and I don't encourage anyone to give into bad behavior, but for us, a couple of hours of co-sleeping works. For me, I have to remember to put my husbands needs first. So for us, getting all the children to start off in the beds is priority. That gives us some one on one time to discuss and day and go over what's going to happen for tomorrow.
Children are a blessing!!! The "littles" stage does not have to be a burden, even with multiple "littles". Because they won't stay little! Attitude
Getting ready for bed last night.