Something’s Gotta Give

I’m not sure how it happened, but we’ve fallen into a classic parenthood trap.

As you all know by now, Will is not sleeping. When it first started we’d go tend to him, give him a bottle, get him back to sleep and then put him back in the crib. But when the the overnight wake up calls started getting more frequent and increasingly more difficult, we started to get tired. And lazy.

We’d go pick him up, make up a bottle and bring him into our bed while we fed him. And then…we’d fall asleep. Soon Will would fall asleep too and slumber away, most of the time for longer than he would’ve in his crib. Well it’s been a month now and we haven’t gotten out of that pattern. He wakes up, we feed him and we all fall asleep together.

But it needs to stop for several reasons.

First of all, I’m against co-sleeping. I think it creates dependent children. I know not everyone agrees and that’s fine, but that’s our point of view. Second, our bed is getting VERY crowded.

I know what you’re thinking. How can a queen sized bed be crowded with just you, MJ and a baby. If only it were that simple. First of all, you have to realize a few things about my wife. Namely, she sleeps as if she’s a folding chair. Seriously, she sleeps in a V-shape. Her ass sticks all the way to my side of the bed while her arms are at one corner and her toes touch the other corner on the same side. That wouldn’t be so bad, but then you have to consider the animal element in the house.

We have two 55-lb dogs and both of them end up on the bed at some point. Haley will sleep at our feet, but Fenway thinks she’s a human. She barks or growls until she’s allowed to sleep between us. And oh yeah, did I mention it has to be under the covers? And let’s not forget the two cats that often grace us with their presence.

And the cherry on the crazy cake is Will.

So last night I’m trying to sleep by summoning my inner contortionist in order to twist my body into the obsence position in which I am destined to slumber. I’ve got my wife — snoring like a busted chainsaw I might add — taking up 75% of the bed with her V-shaped sleeping style. I have Haley laying in between my feet. I have Fenway between me and MJ near our waists, and Will is sleeping up by our heads.

I woke up (largely due to the pain of contorting my body) and tried to find a better position to sleep in. At the same time, Will starts to stir. It’s pitch dark so I can’t see him, but I’m straining my eyes to get near him and make sure he’s OK, when all of a sudden — WHAM! Will pulls this baby ninja move and swings his whole body around toward me. As a result, he little fist of fury smacks me directly in the right eye, which was open at the time.

It was completely unexpected and it hurt like a MoFo. I was actually seeing stars. So as I said “Ouch…dammit!” it wakes up MJ. And what does my loving, concerned wife do? Does she ask if I’m OK? Does she offer to help? Of course not. I was met with “SSSHHH! BE QUIET!”

I was nearly blinded by my own child, I’ve put up with her Sasquatch-esque snoring, she takes up nearly the whole bed and now she’s yelling at me? Hell no!

Things are going to change around here at night, that’s all I can say.

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28 thoughts on “Something’s Gotta Give

  1. When David was old enough for a bigger bed, we got him his own full size mattress and boxspring and put a guard rail on it (he was a little over a year). I was still nursing but it made it quieter and easier for all of us to sleep. One of us would go in there and we’d take turns. It kept him out of our bed and in his own. A harder transition than one would imagine.

    Co-sleeping It helps with the sleeping for longer periods of time especially when there are bad dreams, teething (which is a looonnngg time) But as long you put him to bed at bed time and he falls asleep on his own he will not be dependent on you to fall asleep, but will be dependent on you to go back to sleep…not to confuse with overall dependence-most studies show the contrary actually. Because htey have the security when they need it most, the feel most secure in other aspects of life. BUt again, every child is different.

    Also, I know you have your strong opinions on co-sleeping and you know I disagree but I have living proof. If you’d like to meet my son, I’d be happy to arrange it and then you can make your judgements and no offense taken. (My daughter also co-sleeps but she may be too young to determind her “dependence”.

    He’s 3.75 years old and well, since I don’t like to brag I won’t give you exact results but his cognitive development is that of a 2nd or 3rd grader in his last assesment. He is extremely independent, loving and yes he still wakes in the night but so do most kids…some are blessed with those that do sleep through the night and some aren’t.

    The thing about being a new parent is you quickly find out the list if “I will not do” and this is what I believe goes out the door…because fact is, you know squat until you go through it yourself. You can only judge others and that is not a proven method of parenting-trial by experience is always fail proof.

    You can go on to not cosleep if you like-but if it is getting you all more sleep then I think you should consider it for short term-maybe until you can explain to him why it’s not okay then go for it?

    If you really want to work hard at it, my guess is that he’s figured you all out-and unless you want to hear him scraem and cry all night long for several nights in a row, you may have to succumb to occasional co-sleeping.

    Also, while you’re at the expert search, ask about co-sleeping and how it effects children long term. I’d be interested to see if David falls into any categories of dependent…but I highly doubt it. ;)

  2. Meri, the co-sleeping stuff is not an attack on you or other parents who do it. And I’m sure there are happy, well adjusted, independent kids out there who co-slept for years. And also, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with doing it once in awhile (teething, bad dreams, etc). You don’t have to prove your son’s success or defend your own parenting methods. To each his/her own. I’m not judging anyone else, just making a determination of what I think is best for me and my family.

    My point was I don’t want to make a habit of it and have it be a longterm thing. It’s just something I feel strongly about. So yes, the “I will not do” list does change when you become a parent. But some things don’t. If you feel strongly about something as a parent and you think it’s for the benefit of your kid, you stick with your beliefs. This is one of those times.

  3. My wife does the V-sleep, too. Except instead of snoring, she farts.

    It’s more awesome than it sounds because sometimes her ass is pressed right up against mine and I wake up from the sudden vibration.

  4. Aaron, I wasn’t really defending MY choice really-mostly yours. I just wanted to validate what your “habit” has become and how it can sometimes happen and that it’s not the end of the world if it’s not what you set out to do-if it IS a problem for you and your family, than I wouldn’t reccomend it. But really (and I hate when people say this) but in recent studies-co-sleeping is actually HELPFUL toward a growing independence. In most cases, a baby Will’s age can only benefit from it. If it doesn’t suit your family though, it can’t keep happening. It will divide you all if you resent his behaviors and the nights are awful as they were last night.

    I’ve been where you are now, and I just don’t think there is an any easy answer. I’ll just hope that soon he’s comforted and will sleep on his own again soon:)

    I’m not being sarcastic-by the way:) Just know that I’ve been there before and I had to make a choice between forcing a non cosleeping family and a cosleeping family. I chose what worked for us and did the same with my second child. It wasn’t an easy choice to make, as with many parenting styles are judged, I felt judged. Just as I did with breastfeeding for almost 2 years (which is really the reccomended time period). So, I respect that it is YOUR choice, but I wanted to be sure that your ideas on cosleeping wasn’t influenced on things that don’t matter…if that makes sense…

  5. Hi Aaron,
    I have been reading your blog for about a month now and love it!

    I am the mom of a beautiful and amazing (just telling the truth) 7 month old girl. About a month and a half ago my husband and I went through the exact same thing you are going through with your baby boy. We were at our wits end. We finally decided to let her cry it out (I know – Gasp!). I don’t know how you feel about this issue (people tend to be either completely for it or adamantly against it), but it worked for us. Granted, those were some of the most terrible moments of my entire life – I cried probably as much as she did. My husband and I came up with a plan and decided to be consistent and persistent with it – otherwise why put our little girl and ourselves through that for nothing. Well, she cried an hour the 1st night, 2 hours (yes – straight) the second night and that was the worst of it. Then, she went on to cry about 15 – 20 minutes the next few nights and now she cries no more than 15 minutes if any at all (usually she doesn’t cry at all) and sleeps 10 – 11 hours through the night. If you want details of our plan and/or of our situation, please let me know. I am happy to send those to you.
    All that to say, “crying it out” is not for every parent or for every baby – I am not delusional enough to think that what worked for our baby will work for yours (as most parents seem to think), but I am offering any help I can provide as I know personally how difficult and exhausting these sleepless nights can be.
    Best of luck to you!!

  6. Also, I’d be happy to share our reasons for choosing to let her cry-it-out as opposed to continuing our “feed her, rock her, shush her, give her mylecon, rock her again and repeat every 30 minutes” routine.

  7. Mommy of Sleeping Girl! You are SO brave! We tried that with our son and I forget how long we waited it out but we needed sleep so badly we caved…

    Good for you for sticking it out!

  8. Creates dependent children? All children are born dependent. They stay that way for most of their young lives. That’s saying you’re against clean air because it creates blue skies.

    I’ve never met a coslept that child that any more dependent than a non coslept child. Actually most of the kids kicked to their own cribs and left alone end up more dependent because their are alone, cold, hungry, terrified and their useless parents are ignoring them all night. If not having to bother with your kids depending on you was an issue why have kids at all? Wouldn’t a toy doll have been better. You can dress it up and show it off without any of that burdening dependence stuff you seem to dislike.

  9. Really Summer? Babies can’t care for themselves? Thank you for that insightful bit of news. Well done.

    Your comments are so ridiculous they don’t even warrant a response. If you read this blog you’ll see I’m a very hands on parent and I care about my son. Just because I don’t want my son getting used to sleeping in bed with mommy and daddy for the next two years doesn’t make me useless. If you have a different opinion, fine, but try not to be so condescending because you sound like an pompous ass.

    Basically what I’m saying is go screw yourself.

  10. Summer, isn’t it interesting how he and his dogs cosleep without any problem? Just look at the situation. HE’S having trouble sleeping thanks to some whiney mutts and the legitimate needs of his own flesh and blood. Something’s got to give. What’s it going to be? The helpless baby of course!

    Aaron, you are obviously a terrible father who cares more about a couple of stupid dogs than your poor defenseless child.

    No! Bad Daddy!

    That was fun. Seriously Summer, you need help. It’s not that you’re clearly the type of person who names their kids Earthspirit or Felicity. There’s nothing wrong with that per se. I lost my virginity to a Felicity (in fact half my football team did), and my weed dealer’s name is Earthspirit. It’s that you’ve become as closed-minded as the folks who came up with this crap were open-minded, which was really the best thing they had going for them. You raise your kids around that everyone-who-doesn’t-share-my-exact-opinion-is-morally-wrong attitude of yours and they’ll be watching Fox News before you can say Jackie Robinson.

  11. I’ve taken alot of child psych classes and they all say the “family bed” is a bad idea. Not only does it cause problems with the child, it has an effect on the parents. Parents need alone time.

  12. Hehehe, just wait until he can get out of bed on his own. It’s like a scene out of a Stephen King book made into a movie. One minute you’re sleeping and then you think you hear something. Then you open one eye and there is a 3 yr old girl like 2 inches from your face.

    So then you take her into bed with you (mind you this is 5am on a Saturday morning) and she asks you the same questions over and over again. Finally you give into watching Dora the Explorer. Halfway through that she gets bored and kicks you in the family jewels for no apparent reason. Then I think to myself, “Wow it’s only like 5:30 in the morning and I already have to put my daughter in timeout.”

    Yeah, we realized a long time ago that it just never works when we have her sleep in our bed. Good luck with that buddy!

    P.S.- TheBear knows what he’s talking about!

  13. Just calling it as I see it. You don’t want your kids to be dependent on you, hope you’re not feeding them, changing their diapers, or dressing them. They might start to expect you do it for a couple years. Oh the horror!

    And Bear, my kids are Evan and Trey. Sounds like normal names to me. And the day they stat watching Fox news is the day after I’m buried. We don’t tolerate that kind of crap in our house. In other words you know as much about me as you do about raising kids.

  14. Well Summer, you want might to get your vision checked out then.

    Because obviously it’s logical to assume that since we don’t want Will to get used to sleeping in our bed, we must not be feeding him, changing him or dressing him. That’s like me saying since you obviously allow your kids in bed with you, you’re raising a couple of spoiled mama’s boys who don’t have to lift a finger for themselves because you do everything for them and you don’t plan on teaching them any kind of personal responsibility. Have fun breastfeeding until they’re 12 as you wonder why they can’t make friends while the football team continues to give them swirlies well into their senior year.

  15. I really should just let it go. But nah, I’ve got some time to kill here. Okay. Sarcasm can be a little tricky; let me help out a little (in fact if you look really close you might just find some there). First of all, I’m not saying you’re wrong. You’ll notice I’m not picking on Meri. Unlike you, she laid out a case for her beliefs. Her passion for those beliefs may have shone through strongly, but good for her. My issue has nothing to do with cosleeping. It has to do with your closed-minded, arrogant, dismissive, and insulting demeanor.

    The baby names? I was just being mean. I didn’t like your tone, so I took a pot shot. (That’s a pun. I’m here to help.) The Fox News comment? I picked it for a reason. It had nothing to do with conservatism. You’re obviously very ideologically distinct from the Fox News crowd. You are, however, nearly identical in your methodology. It all boils down to a way of thinking. You both replace logic and civility with fallacy and insults. Let’s review the ways in which Summer’s comments are like Fox News.

    1. You’re either agree with everything they say or you’re wrong. In fact, you’re not just wrong, you’re a bad person. You’re either for the patriot act or you want to protect terrorists. You cosleep or you’re cruel, bad parent. See any similarities? That’s called false choice. There’s no room for discourse here.

    2. 87 percent of responders to our online poll declare McCain the winner of tonight’s debate. “I’ve never met a coslept that child that (is) (sic) any more dependent than a non coslept child.” That one’s called unrepresentative sample.

    3. Rather than making an argument about allowing your child to sleep with you every single night, we can talk about whether you feed, cleen, or dress them. It doesn’t matter that’s not what anyone else is talking about, it makes for a much easier argument. That’s so screwed up I can’t just pick one, reductio ad absurdium, straw man, maybe a little equivocation. Your choice.

    4. The polluted sky? How many times in a day do you think a Fox pundit uses the phrase “that’s like saying…”? Give up? I’m going with several to lots. That’s called an improper metaphor/simile.

    5. The dismissal of opposing opinions without open discussion. Alan Colmes doesn’t count. Neither does “just calling it as you see it.” There is no name for that. It just sucks.

    6. Then there’s the incessant, petty, ugly, slimy, sniveling, conniving, cowardly, and constant use of insults. You either don’t feel the need or lack the intelligence to debate on the merits so instead you resort to name calling. Useless parents? And don’t even get me started on the doll comment. Think of this when your kid’s teacher tells you your kid has been bullying and you refuse to believe him or her. (And in case you still need a little help with these- that was more ironic than sarcastic- and this comment here? A little of both.)

    See, it probably doesn’t matter whether the kid sleeps with you or not. Where a kid sleeps isn’t that important in the greater scheme of things. It’s more symbolic than anything in my opinion, and it symbolizes different things to different people (i.e. Aaron and Meri). But how a kid thinks? BIG DEAL. And that’s something they’re going to learn from every interaction you have that they’re privy to. And while it’s true I haven’t slipped one past the goalie yet thereby imbuing me with the magical rights and powers available only to those who have conceived, and therefore can have no valid opinion (you’re probably catching on here but that was sarcasm too), I think Aaron is doing a wonderful job as a parent, and while we’re at it from the looks of things so is nearly everyone else who’s posted here. It’s your kids I’m worried about.

  16. TheBear,

    Nice. I feel compelled to exert a modicum of self-control since these are my hallowed forums. But it’s nice to see someone throw caution to the wind and haul off on a moron with reckless abandon.

    And I couldn’t help myself, I checked out her Web site. I should’ve already guessed this, but her kids are homeschooled. That way she can control ALL of her kids’ thoughts and how they form opinions, without any of those pesky “outside influences” or “differences of opinions.”

    Absolutely hysterical!

  17. Aaron-when you said that you didn’t want your kids to be “Dependent” did you mean dependent to go to sleep-or too dependent?

    Because it was either of the two, that I assumed you meant…not that you would just assume that Will got up to eat breakfast on his own and change his own diaper etc…

    Can I also clarify-that just because I let my kids sleep in my bed for their first year or so that doesn’t mean that I think that other parents are wrong for letting them cry it out?

    I just don’t want or care to do that…and like Aaron said, it’s what works for us…and it’s a different technique…

    To each his own…the judging is out of control! Not to say I’m not guilty of it…because yes my opinion on the whole Mommy being the comforting one is pretty strong, but only in my experience, so no need for hostility there.

    We all love our children and handle things differently and no one is “perfect” since it’s all in perspective anyway…STOP THE INSANITY:)

  18. I don’t want them to be dependent on sleeping in our bed to fall asleep. Because I feel if it started with that, it could move onto other things as he gets older. For example, maybe he would avoid sleepovers with friends because he couldn’t handle the thought of not sleeping with mom and dad. That’s just a hypothetical, but it gives you an idea of where I’m coming from.

    And for the record, my problem isn’t with parents like you who have valid reasons for what they’re doing and believe in it. You do your thing and you do it without a lot of criticism for others who do things differently. I’m fine with that. Agree to disagree and have a friendly discussion.

    My venom is reserved for the likes of Summer, who seems to feel that any other parenting method except for her own are dead wrong and other parents are “useless” if they don’t follow her path.

  19. I totally understand that-totally and yes, it would have been an issue for David in the earlier years, but when he was just 3.5 he did sleep overs at Aunt’s and Grandparent’s houses when we had Danielle…

    So, you see, if you nip it soon enough, all is not lost-but if you did it for longer periods of time, it COULD be an issue.

    Glad you don’t have issue with me, just what I do haha!!

    ;)

  20. Yeah sorry Meri. Didn’t mean to start a fight and upset anyone. Outside the obvious anyway. For what little it’s worth from me you sound like a great mom. Besides what I wrote was better than the “what did you say about my friend, you (¥/\|!?????” Aaron has been known to be good for in times like these. I think I’ve shown considerable restraint.

  21. You did too mean to start a fight! Atta boy! And I love how you use your entire MCLA-learned vocabulary in each post. I’m impressed!

    Sometimes cosleeping is easier – but it is seldom (in my opinion) a good idea. Neither is home-schooling, but that is another post.

  22. you’re right oldguy. I should have said I didn’t want to start a fight with anyone else. But here’s a sentiment the folks on a parenting blog should be familiar with: she started it. It was the doll comment that set me off.

  23. I never comment, I always just read and mind my own buisness. But, I can not see how I can not comment on Summer, and how deliciously arrogant she is. Every one is different, meaning every parent is different. If you feel the need to let your child have the upper hand then by all means do so. All Aaron is saying is that he feels the need to make sure Will is going to be able to handle sleeping alone. No one would have bashed you for your beliefes if you were not so bluntly rude about it. After reading some of your blog trust me, there are numerous things we could tear you down for, but we all have jobs so there is not enough time in the day to cover all the issues I think you have. Bottom line is your opinion is not fact, so get over yourself.

  24. Hehehe! You really stepped in it there, man. That topic, breastfeeding and homeschooling will cause all kinds of fights. My advice? First, get a king-sized bed. Not so Will can sleep in it, but because two adults with dogs need the king.

    Second, I never let my son sleep in my bed as a baby unless he was sick. I listened to my friends try to deal with the hell of getting a four-year old into their first bed alone, and I knew I wasn’t going there.

    I also let him cry it out, and I never had those kinds of issues. Granted, mine cried all day, so nighttime was pretty easy. He’s figured you out, and he’s going to play it for all it’s worth. Who can blame him?

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