“I don’t want to sleep in my new bed!”
“Why not, honey?”
“It’s too old.”
He has a thing about things being too “old”. When we converted his crib into a toddler bed it was “too old” even though it was clearly a new set-up with new bedding. “Old” just means “I don’t want it.”
“It’s not too old!”
My excited voice.
“It’s brand new and you have new bedding just for you and everything! You even helped daddy build it!”
It’s actually the double bed from our guest room with a frame bought at a second hand store, but he doesn’t make the connection past wondering where that bed went.
“No it’s not. It’s old.”
He has such a sad face. Such a sad voice.
I know what he’s feeling. He wants to be close to mama and daddy. He’s not comfortable with this.
But it’s time he learned to sleep in his own bed.
Each night at bedtime, one of us will climb into his new bed, read stories, and get him settled for sleep. We lie with him until he’s asleep, a necessary step at this point.
When he’s asleep, we sneak out.
I’ve looked back at him as I walk out – he does look like a small boy in a big bed. I get this overwhelming rush of love because he’s my baby. But it’s time. Besides, he’s an octopus and everyone will sleep better if the octopus sleeps in his own bed.
Inevitably, sometime before midnight (and often much earlier) he will get up. Come to us.
“I want to sleep in your bed.”
For months we alternated – one night with dad in our bed, one night with me in the guest room. We needed the sleep.
For the last few weeks we’ve been sleeping as a family. We’ve loved having him – I’ve woken in the night and watched my boys sleep and have felt so blessed – but even in a king bed it’s sometimes too much with him in there. He sleeps like a baby monkey clinging to his mother. (And I happen to be that mother.)
That night, I escorted him back to bed. Lay down with him until he slept again, then started planning my escape. But there’s no leaving. In the middle of the night his mama-presence radar is on high alert.
He woke and I resigned myself to sleeping with him.
This is what we’ll do for now – alternate sleeping with him in his new “old” bed so he gets used to it.
He was restless that night, rolling and turning, sitting up and lying down again, trying to find the right position.
Restless child = wakeful mama.
Some time just before 5 am, he woke. Sat up and looked at me.
He curled himself into me.
He seemed cold so I pulled the comforter over him again, tucking it around him. Moments later he kicked it off.
Then he took my hand and pulled my arm around him, tucking it under his warm body.
I understood. He might have new bedding, but in that moment his comforter was me.