Co-sleeping: Calling it Quits

I do not call it co-sleeping. I call it our personal version of contact sports. The children roll over or stretch and I get injured. Just like high school dodge ball and volleyball, I am not good at this game either. They always end with me wearing bruises.

We never planned on co-sleeping. We just new we did not want our kids crying for extended periods. It started out when I was nursing my son 12 years ago. Being a bit of an insomniac in the first place, getting up and going into the nursery to nurse and wait out the wailing, would leave me wide-awake and on the verge on insanity the following day, which was every day. We worked out a schedule where I pumped and hubby fed him a midnight bottle, but then there was still that 3 am feeding to contend with.

We put a bassinet next to the bed so I could just pick him up and nurse him while dozing away, which guaranteed that I would go back to sleep. As my son got bigger, we felt safer keeping him in the bed and we learned to balance our bodies on the mattress trim so basically he had the bed, and we were the bumper rails. When he needed to nurse, I just rolled over and fed him. I destroyed the cursed pump. At age one my son when my son accidentally weaned himself by biting me (repeatedly), he went back into the crib and it worked pretty well. There were still nights when we let him sleep with us, basically whenever he cried for more than 10 minutes.

When my son was two, my daughter was born. We used the crib sporadically, the bassinet when needed, but mostly she slept with us. As soon as our son realized what was happening, he was joining us for the fun. Two adults and two children on a queen-sized bed meant smallest baby in the middle, one adult as bumper guard, other parent next to child holding 2nd child in a vice-grip so they do not fall of the bed. Considering the fact that the youngest child sleeps sideways, and hallways has, this was actually a safe arrangement, though not very conducive to adults sleeping. We were much happier when child 2 turned one, as we were happy to put them back in their own beds without guilt.

The only problem is that they did not stay in their beds and neither of us was ever alert or lucid enough to walk them back to their beds. The good news was that, as they got older, they gradually spent more time in their beds and less in ours. However, at the ages of 10 and 12, we would be happy if they never returned, except for the 10-minute morning hugs we get every morning.

Here are my methods for kicking them out of our bed:

1. Buy a hotel lock for the bedroom door, as both they and the cat knows how to hit the door just right and make it fly open.
2. Inform them that the door will be locked and I will not be getting up till morning
3. Insist that the only reason for waking you is blood, fire, or fever (I am convinced nightmares are just convenient excuses made up by little kids)
4. On the morning after those days when they do get to your defenses, claim that you are in great pain from the beating you took during the previous night, guilt does work. You can further prove your point by screaming ouch in the middle of the night and claiming that someone socked you in the eye
5. Continue to lock the bedroom door at night only giving in for emergencies and temporary insanity. These occasions (of the children attempting to get in our beds) have become few and far apart.

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