After years of sleeping on the left side of the bed, last night I tried sleeping in the middle. I’d like to say this move came from new-found comfort with my single status, but necessity forced my hand. Quite possibly, my younger’s favorite part of having only one parent in each residence is the space it opens up in the parent’s bed. I co-slept for years with my younger, at least for part of most nights. He was an all-night nurser for more years than I care to tell, and sharing a mattress on the floor of his room for most of each night kept me vertical during the day.
Until last week, I laid with him until he fell asleep. Every night. For eight and a half years. I’d tried to coax him toward independent sleep in the past, but illness, travel, and parental upheaval interruped our plans. It simply wasn’t important enough to me to seriously stress my rather sensitive and volitle younger son, and I believe in choosing my battles. But this month, he was ready. It’s gone swimmingly. I read to him as always, snuggle for 10 minutes, and leave. We’re both proud.
So what’s with last night’s full bed? He sometimes uses his blonde, eight-year-old wiles to win his way into my bed for stories and subsequent sleep. I still leave until my bedtime, but he likes the idea of waking with me in the morning. Fine by me, especially given nightly lows in single digits. At least the bed is warmer. Last night, however, my older needed a bit of mom, too. Anxiety brought him in for conversation and distraction but overcrowding (here’s where I end up in the middle) drove him back to his bed.
After he left, I tried to stay in the middle, figuring it was time to claim the bed as mine, despite the small, warm addition to my right. After seven years of two sleepers (and two years of just one) creating dents inthe pillow top mattress, no amount of rotating makes for a flat surface. The middle is a hill between the valleys, and I prefer level ground when sleeping. Back to the right side of the bed.
Spider bites to the feet sent my older scurrying back at some obscene hour, so I returned to the middle. We’re all pretty small people, but this load is just a bit much, even for my queen-sized bed. The night was long. Finally my younger awoke, earlier than I usually prefer, but at least we could all get out of bed. Nighttime parenting continues as long as the kids are in the house, but I’m hoping to limit my number of nights in the middle of the bed. Perhaps I’ll celebrate that point with a new mattress.
(Moon image thanks to NASA public domain photos)