Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Sharing Space at Night

Every once in a while, one of the kids asks to sleep with another...not Matthew and Seth together as much as one of the boys with Lizzie in her bigger bed (hers is the only double bed).  Usually it's Seth and Lizzie who want to sleep together and we usually say ok.  I sometimes feel badly that they come from a first family environment where families routinely share beds and each other's space; and that they moved to a country where we have more (too much?) space and where we tend to separate family members at nighttime.  Lizzie, in particular, would love to have someone sharing her room and bed (she regularly asks for a sister, poor thing) because she's such a cuddly little thing.

When Geoff's away for a night or two or several, I have been in the habit of having one of the kids sleeping with me - they love that!  In earlier years with Matthew, I learned to put a pillow down the middle of the bed once he fell asleep so that I could have a bit of my own space during the night (I'm not a great sleeper, so I can't have someone kicking me or lying all over me if I hope to get any sleep).  I still do the same thing.  And this method works fine with the boys, but Lizzie is another matter altogether.

Lizzie  rolls, kicks, grabs, snuggles, pokes, snorts, name it.  In her sleep she worms over or under the pillow divider and is a heat-seeking missile for my body; she then spends her night kicking and scratching me while cuddling up and hanging on to me with a vice grip.  The last two times I had her with me in bed, I would merely roll over and she would sit bolt upright in bed and shout "what?  what?" and then crash herself back to the mattress, shaking the whole bed.  It was awful.  I lay there for hours feeling sorry for her future husband.  The last time, I slept not a wink until almost 2:00am, when I picked her up and carried her back to her own bed.  I'm not sure how to manage this situation now, given that the boys are great to sleep through the night with and given that Lizzie really is not...and given that they all want the privilege.  Suggestions on this front?

All of this provided context to my reluctance when, a week or two ago, all three kids begged to sleep with each other in Lizzie's bed.  I knew it wasn't going to go well...but decided to give it a shot anyway because they'd been wanting to try it again for so long.  (I didn't bother to remind them that every time they've tried sleeping together in sleeping bags in the basement in some fort they've constructed, it has. not. worked.)

So, they crammed themselves and their chosen teddy into Lizzie's bed, along with separate blankets.  Even though they're still small, there wasn't much room on that bed once everything was crammed in; in the pictures below, you can't see Seth's and Lizzie's teddies, but they were no smaller than Matthew's.

They lasted just under an hour...not even to the point where Lizzie's nighttime body gyrations could create havoc.  Just as I was walking towards Lizzie's bedroom to check on them, I saw the boys exiting her bedroom and diving into their own beds across the hallway.  I asked what had happened.

"She just won't stop talking," Matthew said.  He sighed.

"Yeah," said Seth.  "We told her and told her and she just won't listen."  He yawned.

They were all asleep within minutes.

All in all, I figure that it was a worthwhile experience for them to learn for themselves that it's just not always going to work out...and I didn't have to say a single thing!


  1. Oh that's funny. My girls often ask to sleep together as well. They've yet to last longer than about an hour as Kaitlyn won't stop chattering either!
    Out of necessity (i.e. lack of sleep), we had to tell Kaitlyn, our own wiggling heat seeking missile, that she can only come into our bed after 5am, so I've had a chance to sleep first. This works much better!

  2. Did Lizzie protest when they left? They did look cute.

  3. Good call Missy! Yes, Lizzie protested (loudly) when the boys left...the good news was that she was so tired by that point b/c it was so late that she fell asleep within 5 minutes, despite all of her protestations!

    How funny, Kristin - and a good solution, too, re: post 6 am. That might work at some point - we tried it briefly with Lizzie, but she kept forgetting what the #6 looked like so she kept waking herself up during the night to come and wake me up to ask if it was 6:00 yet! SIgh...some day.


  4. Ah yes... very familiar with this. In our house we refer to this type of "sleeping" as the octopus. I have a 9 year old octopus. He currently loves to share what feels like 8 arms/legs every night. I too am not the world's greatest sleeper. But, I have yet to figure out how to get him to comfortably sleep in his own bed when he feels like he needs to be right with Mommy to make sure she's ok. And afterall, Mommy has half a bed that just seems to need to be occupied. So why then do I only seem to end up with a quarter of the bed to sleep in??? Every so often I declare an octopus-free night and oh is it nice!