It started off as a way of making life easier. The post-bathtime snuggles in my bed, the easiest place for me to sit and feed Sophie whilst reading a bedtime story to both my girls. Jessica would often fall asleep and I would then carry her back into her room and put her in her cot. I learned quickly that I had to do this within an hour or so of her falling asleep – much longer and she would wake and it would be a battle to get her to go back to sleep in her own bed.
If Jessica woke in the night, it was often easier just to pick her up and tuck her in with us rather than spend ages trying to get her to go back to sleep. Neither hubby nor I minded having a small snuggly companion and on the whole we generally got more sleep this way. Most of the time though, she slept in her cot.
Then we went away on holiday. Jessica was quite happy sleeping in a single bed in our room and so on our return, we decided it was time to convert her cot to a toddler bed. She chose her Peppa Pig bedding and whilst she fell asleep in our bed on the first night home, she slept all night in her cot after being carried back to her room. We were pleased that the transition to the bed had gone so well. It turned out to be a one-off though!
For the next few nights, we’d put Jessica in her bed after she had fallen asleep in ours and every night, she made their way into our bed during the night; usually before we had even gone to bed ourselves. Attempting to put her back in her own bed resulted in lots of tears and she strongly resisted any attempts to do bedtime stories in her own room. After trying for a few days to get her to sleep in her own bed, we gave in.
Now I am sure that there are many parents out there reading this who will say that I am soft and I should have persevered, and maybe they are right. But the fact is, Jessica just doesn’t want to sleep on her own. Sophie still sleeps in a cot in our room and Jessica wants to be with us at night too. I don’t think this is unnatural and I’m not entirely sure that humans were really designed to sleep alone. I rarely slept in a room alone as a child and don’t like to sleep alone as an adult, so I can’t really blame my daughter for feeling the same way. At some point, we are planning to move the girls into a bedroom together and perhaps Jessica will feel happier sleeping in her own bed again if she is in the same room with Sophie. If not, this habit will certainly be broken when she has to go into hospital for her next surgery.
For now though, she is happy and we are happy. It works for us as a family and we all sleep better as a result. And it is a beautiful feeling to wake in the night with a little person cuddling close to you. One day I will miss those night-time snuggles, but for now, I’ll just enjoy them.
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