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(Incredibly) Extended Co-Sleeping

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Both DS and DD slept with us exclusively until they were 15-18 months old. Since then they've had a bed and could come and go pretty much as they wanted. As they approached 3.5 or so, we really started to encourage and talk up sleeping in their own beds all night. When DS turned 5, he started to sleep only in his bed. DD goes in spurts, though for the past 6 months or so she's come into our room only around 5 AM. She is an early riser - 6:30 or so is her general time to wake up.

 

For the past 5-6 weeks, though, both DS (6) and DD (5) have been in our room every.single.night. They're in there by about 1:00. They fight each other (in their sleep) for covers. There's simply not enough room, and DD is TERRIBLE about kicking and flinging herself around in her sleep. DH (without my knowledge) locked our bedroom door Saturday night, so I woke up to DD beating on the $@%# door and crying.

 

I want to cry most days. I'm running on fumes. I'm getting maybe 2-3 hours of sleep a night, and it's not continuous. I cannot go on much longer. DH is absolutely no help during the night. Last night, I finally just told him to go sleep in one of the kids' beds because he would wake up and yell out, then go back to sleep. He's gotten up maybe 3 times at night ever in our entire parenting lives. It's not going to start now. His solutions are ridiculous (for example, "let's just lock the door, and they won't come in"). They're not solutions. They're more like proclamations. "We'll tell them..." He also thinks that returning them to their rooms repeatedly will work. I've tried that, but it didn't work. 1) I'm tired. DS in particular doesn't wake us up, so I don't always realize he's in our bed immediately. 2) DD just wakes up completely and then is hysterical. 3) I have to do it repeatedly throughout the night, and I need a time when I can sleep the next day.

 

Anyway, my DH issues aside, I need some advice on what to do. I'm exhausted and on edge constantly. I'm trying to work right now, and I'm just so drained that I cannot think clearly. I drink de-caffeinated coffee, but I'm otherwise hopped up on energy shots & B vitamins & eating to keep myself functioning that I'm going to crash. I ended up in the hospital when DD was 18 months old because of sleep deprivation, and I feel like I'm headed there again.

 

Last night, DS said, "if you're so tired, why don't you just go to bed when we do?" I don't because I'm so behind on everything. I cannot keep up given how tired I am. At the same time, I know that what he's saying makes sense. More sleep means that I'm more rested and energetic during the day. I probably could get 3-4 hours of sleep in before they crawl in bed with me. That sounds heavenly!  Or I could suggest that DH just sleep in one of the kids' rooms until we figure something out. One less adult at least would give us more room. Long-term, I'm lost. I don't know what to do, and I cannot really formulate a good response right now.

 

ETA: DH has a fit when I mention going to sleep with the kids because they we won't get to spend time together in the evenings. I know that, and our marriage already is teetering. I get it, but I'm tired.

post #2 of 9

i'm a firm believer that makin' love can be outside of a bed for pete's sake. i have never understood this issue. it seems to be personal but it especially seems to be initiated by men.

 

obviously your kids aren't ready to be in their own beds/rooms and want to be w/ you. if it makes it easier on you all to have them sleep w/ you, so be it. it won't last forever, it will pass...and hubby can learn to woo you outside of the actual bed. he is a grown man and needs to get over his jealousy or inhibitions or laziness or whatnot. do what you gotta do for you, mama. and for the kids. trust your heart and trust your children. it sounds like you already know your answer.

 

 

post #3 of 9

Four in a bed doesn't lead to anyone getting good sleep!

 

With both our kids, they went from co-sleeping to bed in our room, right beside ours, then on the other side of the room, then a big deal was made about being big enough for their own room. With our first child, when the night-time visits were too frequent, I set up a pallet beside our bed, so she could be close to us, but we could all still get some sleep when she came into our room.

 

Do your two share a room, or separate rooms? With our second, there was no way he was staying in his own room, so we put him in with his sister and he was perfectly content! He didn't so much need us, as didn't want to be alone. We actually set up one bedroom as the sleeping room and the other as the playing room. Of course, this wouldn't have worked if his sister wasn't OK with it. If your kids' motivation is competition for parental attention, that's another story.

 

Hope you get some sleep soon- everything is so much harder to cope with if you're sleep deprived!

 

And if nothing else works- on those overcrowded night, how about leaving DH with the kids and you sleep in another room? If it's 1 am he probably won't even notice you're gone ;)

post #4 of 9

I do not see how you ending up in a hospital, mental or otherwise, getting divorced and loosing you job would benefit your kids.

 

Your kids are old enough to be in their own beds. They were in their own beds. They are probably stressed because they feel that your marriage is not doing well. Put yourself and your husband first if you want to have an intact family. Re-read your post. What do you think will happen to your kids if you have breakdown and in the hospital.

 

Sid down with your kids during the day explain in plain English that co-sleeping is over. List whatever simple reason you want. State to them that if they com to your bed they will be taken back.

 

I am not a fan of punishments I prefer rewards. For some kids something like earning a sticker every day and then doing something with those sticker can be very rewarding. For example,. one on one lunch with mom or choice of a movie or anything else deemed appropriate.

 

If I do not sleep, I can;t function. if I do not function, my family falls apart. Therefore, everyone had reasonable bedtime and unless they have a severe bleeding, they are not waking me up.

 

 

post #5 of 9

I agree that 4 in the bed is too many and that your kids are old enough to sleep on their own.

 

Have you thought of sleeping bags on the floor for the kids if they are scared?  I think it's enough to comfort them but not comfortable to want to stay on the floor.

 

Also, you may want to alternate going to bed early on some nights, say Monday - Thursday and staying up the other nights with DH.

 

I completely agree with you that locking the door is not a solution.  But I know for sure that my DH would suggest that.

post #6 of 9

Wow I have absolutely no ideas.  My kids are incredibly extended cosleepers and at this point my husband is only an occasionally cosleeper at this point.  I can relate, is all, and wanted to offer you some support.  Good luck with everything and I hope you get some sleep. 

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

We have tried the pallets on the floor and doing sleeping bags. They will get in them very briefly.

 

Last night, I got up and slept on the couch. It's not ideal, though it was the best sleep I've had in a while. Getting DH up is really difficult, so it's hard to have him move in the middle of the night. Unless he starts out in another bed, which he is adamantly opposed to doing, he's going to be in our bed for the night. Unfortunately the kids both have twin beds. I have considered purchasing a cot or even moving them so that they share a room for sleeping, but they really seem to need/want/expect another warm body for cuddling.

 

I have been considering going to bed really early during the week. The kids go to sleep in their beds and are there until around 12 or 1. Maybe I went to bed at 9 or 9:30, then I could have some uninterrupted sleep before they move in.

post #8 of 9

I'll honestly say that I don't think your husbands ideas seem that crazy, just overwhelming when you are already sleep deprived.

 

Mine kids are prone to going in streaks of frequently joining us in bed over the years.

 

Some things that have worked for us:

 

- Bribery - I got a basket of inexpensive dollar store toys and they got to choose one every morning they woke up in there own bed.

 

- Taking them back to bed every time the come in - It was very difficult and I got even less sleep while when we started but it did eventually work. It was so tiring that I would inform hubby that you are perfectly willing to do things his way as long as he handles at least 1/2 of the turns walking the kids back to their rooms and tucking them in again and does so calmly and lovingly.

 

- Joining them in their beds - I still ended up sleeping in a small bed with a little one tossing and turning but they got in the habit of being in their own beds and waking up in their own beds

 

- Having the kids share a room - they didn't want to be alone.

 

- Having a way for the kids to know what time they can get up and come in for a morning cuddle - for example when the 1st number on your clock reads..., or when it's light out, or when you hear Mommy's alarm, or whatever else works for you.

 

- Giving the kids ideas of what they can do themselves when they wake up instead of coming in to your room. For example a flashlight they can turn on, a toy they can play with, a picture book they can look through, a projector light to look at

 

Your kids are old enough to help come up with the solution. Explain to them that you are very tired and unhappy and that makes you a crabby Mommy, you want to be more fun and have and have more energy to enjoy them. You need their help. What do they suggest.

 

Do your kids go to sleep on their own or do you lay with them to go to sleep?

post #9 of 9
My DD is nine and still comes into my bed about once a month or so. Typically it is on a day I have been away from her for longer than usual and sometimes first thing in the morning for a cuddle. Since this is a new nightly thing I suggest looking for the reason behind it and trying to address that. Maybe add a little extra whole family time into you evening. If you can't find an underlying cause or if extra time doesn't have an effect then I would have a talk with them to see if they can tell you why they are not staying in their bed, tell them how tired you are and how being tired affects your mood, then ask them to come up with solutions for staying in their bed until morning.

I have also sent my disruptive child back to her bed. I found that when I decided I was serious about not being disturbed by playing in my bed at night my DD could tell by my tone and it was effective. I had to get to a point where i noticed how badly the lack of sleep was affecting my parenting skills and our happiness as a family before i commited to following through but once i did it made such a positive difference for us. I have truly never regretted my decision. If you have a hard time setting this boundary then I suggest letting your husband do it since it was his plan.
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