To briefly introduce myself: I posted on MDC quite a bit last year, then took a hiatus, then came back because I'm pregnant (due in July). I've been lurking for a few weeks and it's good to be back.
My problem is this. My daughter is 3 years old, and we've co-slept since she was about 9 months old. (By "we" I mean just just the two of us; my husband snores loudly, so we sleep in the guest room while he sleeps in the master bedroom.) She goes to bed fairly late, around 10 or 10:30. Previously, I would lay with her until she fell asleep and then get up and spend some time with my husband, but since the start of my pregnancy I've been so tired that I usually just fall asleep with her.
Lately she's been pummelling me, for lack of a better word, before falling asleep. She'll hit me (with hands or with her baby doll), or pull my hair, or scratch me, or kick me. My usual response is something like: "We do not hit (or pull hair, or whatever). If you hit me again I will leave the room and you'll have to sleep by yourself."
However, I've created a trap for myself, because first of all, I don't want her to view sleeping by herself as a punishment, particularly since in a few weeks we're going to try to transition her to her own room and work on getting her to fall asleep without me, in preparation for the baby. Also, the one time I actually followed through and left the room, she cried hysterically, and I had to go back in to her, because it felt very much like CIO (I don't know how long she would have cried, or if she actually would have eventually cried herself to sleep, but it felt very wrong). (Plus I'm so tired at night that the last thing I want to do, once I'm in bed, is to get up!)
So, last night she hit me twice and pulled my hair once, and each time I said, "If you do that again I'm leaving the room," and I felt like a liar each time because I knew I wouldn't follow through. And I think she knows that too.
I have found that if I give her a little speech before the light goes out, ie "If you hit me, or pinch me, or scratch me, or whatever, I will leave the room," she'll generally remember to keep her hands to herself. But even then I'm turning sleeping by herself into a punishment, and I don't think that's a good thing.
So I'm kind of at a loss. I will say that we are having issues with hitting in general (she has started to hit me and our dogs) and I'm not sure I'm being very effective in preventing that, either. (I usually take her hand and say, "We do not hit, hitting hurts." She doesn't seem to care.
) But the nighttime pummelling is even more annoying because it seems gratuitous--it's not brought on by frustration or anger.