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Post #4: Co-Sleeping with the World's Smallest Ninja
Co-sleeping [ˌkōˈslēpiNG] NOUN – the practice of willingly getting kicked in the face every night so your kid will stop crying.
Ok, that might not be Webster’s definition, but I think it holds up. I know there are a lot of different thought processes on the healthiest and most successful way to handle a child’s nighttime sleep routine; I’m not familiar with the ins and outs of each one, but let me explain how it goes down in our house...
*Disclaimer: I do not recommend this routine. If you are planning on modeling your nighttime routine after what my husband and I have chosen, I highly recommend that you re-evaluate every choice you have ever made. Ever.
Now, when we started trying to implement this routine our little one was about 18 months old and it went something like this: we started promptly after dinner. Our kid #4 loves to feed himself so he usually gets very icky. I would run him a nice relaxing lavender bubble bath; designed and marketed specifically to calm children and put them in sleepy mode. Unfortunately, my child seems to have an opposite reaction to the purported “calming effects” of lavender as he usually turns into, what I imagine would be equal to, a squirrel who just kicked back his third espresso. So, once he’s “calm”, I would wrangle him out of the bath and turn him over to his father so I can let what little water is left in the tub down the drain and turn my attention to drying the floor…. And walls…. And ceiling…. And light fixtures…. You get where I’m going with this.
Once I finished with that little treat, I would go check on my husband’s progress, like a crazy person I always expected there to be some; there wasn’t. So I would get the adorable little tike dressed for bed; then he snuggled up to his father on the couch and I would go make him a nice warm sippy cup of milk. He did calmly drink his milk and stare blankly at whatever Alaskan survival show my husband had decided to turn on while we all hoped and prayed he drifted off to sleep. That didn’t happen. For the next 2-4 hours we would cry, beg and plead for him to fall asleep. All to which he simply laughed his cruel and maniacal little laugh. But, as time heals all wounds, it also eventually caught up him and he settled down for bed.
At this point, we were always so ecstatic. We would quietly and carefully lay him in his bed, beautifully decorated with trains, which he loved, then hated, then loved and as of today is completely terrified of... We would kiss his angelic little face, smile like insane people and go climb into our own super comfy bed, always thinking that it may be the night we actually get to sleep in peace. It isn’t. Sometimes it was 10 minutes, other times an hour, it didn’t matter, he always woke up. A high pitched scream, sobs and pleas for help, all come pouring out of him in a way that released every drop of adrenaline in my body. In the moments it takes me to get to him I have enough chemical strength pouring through my body that I could wrestle a bear or pick up a car, but instead all he needs is “mama snuggles”. So I bring him to my bed. My husband sighs, the baby settles in, knowing that he has defeated me yet again and we spend the night getting kicked in the face, kneed in the stomach, punched in the nose, and covered in drool and sweat.
Now, roughly a year later, we skip all the middle part. He eats a little better. Bathes a little better. Drinks less milk. He simply waits for one of us to say we are getting tired, then he runs into our bedroom, turns on his twinkle star nightlight and climbs up into the middle of our bed.
I have figured out that this was the kid's plan all along. He sleeps comfortably, no snuggles, no more cries, not needing anything else beyond the knowledge that he is in complete and total control. We are pawns in his game. Exhausted, co-sleeping pawns.