I’ve been thinking more and more about how we will manage bed times next year, with the third baby here. Starting to stress about making the boys “big boys” and getting them to sleep by themselves. Gosh I wish I had that endless patience and determination to keep sending them back up those stairs.
The truth is, I didn’t plan to be the kind of parent that stays in bed with my children until they’re safely off to dreamland. Honestly speaking, I was the one who started to “sleep train” my baby, and it was my husband who broke and couldn’t bear to hear our 8 month old cry it out. So we chose to lay with him .
Yes, my boys might have a high-maintenance bedtime routine, but they’re also pretty darn well-adjusted, happy, and caring boys, so in my book. Its OK. At the end of the day, I don’t mind. This is our time.
The conversations we have while they (and I) fall asleep are my absolute best. With my 4-year-old playing with my hair or tickling my back and my 3-year-old lying snuggled in the crook of my arm. Its these moments I will cherish forever. We speak about their days, their favourite moment, their dreams. I hear about their plans for tomorrow and what their very best wish would be.
All too often in day we get distracted and tend to live past the moment, but in these dreamy hours, it’s just us, and time. That’s why I end up falling asleep with them so often. I can feel their bodies getting a little heavier on my chest and their breaths a little deeper. Taking in the moment and wanting to cherish that time, to listen to one more breath before I get up. An instant relaxation tool for me.
I’ve often been asked, why don’t I put my foot down? Why don’t I force them to sleep on their own? It’s quite simple. They need me. They need me for comfort, and for love, for companionship. These quiet sleepy moments are the only time in a full 14 hour day that these boys of mine keep still. The moments where they share the best parts of their day and dream of all their plans for the next day. My youngest goes from being a little hyper monster, never stopping long enough for a quick squeeze, to my little baby who has to be held by mama. I need them, and these moments, just as much as they need me.
I will lie with them to fall asleep for as long as they need me, because I know, that one day soon, without warning, they won’t need me with them anymore. They will sleep in their own bed, and rush mummy out of the room.
Now I’m certainly not saying that to raise secure kids you need to lie with your children every night. Not at all. I just know that there is no reason not to if that is what works for your family, or if that’s what your children want you to do. I highly doubt my 13-year-old son will want mommy every night… You have to do what works for your family and your children.
So this night is a gift, and a gift I will always share with my boys. Each time I think that maybe it’s time for them to start sleeping on their own I’m reminded of just how short life is, and how quickly time passes and I relish these dream time moments.
We may just need to get a little more creative when number 3 comes, or I need to grow another arm 🙂