Thursday, December 27, 2007

yet another reason i love it here

Thank you all so much for your insight into my recent parenting dilemma. Even as I hit publish I knew instinctively what I wanted to do and your wealth of comments from all angles helped drive it home. Chani's thoughts came the closest to what I already felt but was trying to talk myself out of and yet hearing it from her caused something to click. It's all too easy for me to sometimes get caught up in what I think I should be doing versus what simply feels right, and so often right is influenced very heavily by western ideals and practices and it's important to remind myself there are many, many different ways to raise a family. So for now, it feels right to let M find her way, and if that means she winds up in our bed then we've decided to roll with it because in the end I think her feelings are right on - it makes less sense for her to be holed up in there alone sometimes. And as Den put it so succinctly, we are pack animals anyways.

So last night when she was getting ready for bed she proclaimed I not staying in my bed tonight mommy so I asked her to give it a try and if she wakes up and can't sleep later she knows where to find me. And then she slept in her bed the entire night. So I can't help but remember that having a choice means you can choose a lot of different things. It's the forever balance of treating your children like adults while remembering they are children and basically at the end of the day we need to do what feels right for all of us together. And how fabulous that I get to keep making mistakes and learning from it and then try something else and then succeed or fail and then do it all over again. It's one of the coolest things about being a parent, the continual evolution of thought and love and boundaries and most of all, letting go.

So thank you for your wisdom and community. You make a fine village.

25 comments:

liv said...

well, i did tell you i was mean before i left my comment, right?

fwiw, my erstwhile husband and i purchased our king bed just so d could sleep with us. i just find that as stress increases, the need for a non kicking child in my bed increases exponentially.

glad you found the solution you need. i just wish yo man weren't on the couch!

jen said...

Liv - word, girl. We are working on a suitable (ahem, bigger?) option for all of us so no one's displaced.

flutter said...

these are fine people, indeed

Karen said...

yes, I'll be hoping (on your behlaf) for a larger surface area suitable for all-family sleeping (when required) - and also for a good number of nights when M's own bed seems cozy enough as well.

meno said...

There was a long period of time where Em would show up at my bedside many nights about 2am. She hasn't done it since whe was about 8. I sorta miss it, despite the fact that she was a dreadful bed partner, what with the wiggling and kicking and all.

M will find her way out of your bed too, in time.

thailandchani said...

Wow.. you did hear what I had to say.. and so openly. Thanks for that.

mamatulip said...

Jen, I tried to comment on that post yesterday and Blogger was down...it ate my comment. And it was a long one, too! Anyway -- I hope tonight goes just as well as last night did.

xo

Magpie said...

I had missed the first post, but I've now gone back to it and its comments.

My child doesn't want to go to bed alone - nearly always she wants to sleep with me - mostly she can't fall asleep without touching me. I don't care - she's fine in our bed, and we all stay warmer that way. And yes, we're pack animals!! The few nights that she does fall asleep in her own bed? She migrates across the hall somewhere in the middle, and I never even know she's arrived.

I know that someday she'll sleep alone...'til then, I like her around.

Magpie said...

I had missed the first post, but I've now gone back to it and its comments.

My child doesn't want to go to bed alone - nearly always she wants to sleep with me - mostly she can't fall asleep without touching me. I don't care - she's fine in our bed, and we all stay warmer that way. And yes, we're pack animals!! The few nights that she does fall asleep in her own bed? She migrates across the hall somewhere in the middle, and I never even know she's arrived.

I know that someday she'll sleep alone...'til then, I like her around.

Christine said...

i am late in the game here, but i am so glad you went with your gut. you're a good mama, lady.

Running on empty

Hetha said...

While I was open to all the comments and suggestions that were given, Chani's resonated most with me as well. And that's good since I've been sleeping in my little boy's bed with him for nearly 2 years. :-) I just do what works.

kgirl said...

i figure i'm gonna miss those little feet kicking me in the head when they're big and walking away from me, so we just shove over a bit more and make room for everyone. glad you found what's right for your family. sweet dreams :)

Joker The Lurcher said...

i just saw this one after i left a comment on the last one. i think you're right in doing what your gut feeling is - hope it all works out ok.

ps. i am writing this in the middle of the night as i can't sleep!

Laurie said...

I have been spending a lot of time with my very large extended family recently. There are 4 children under the age of 15, one with severe disabilities that makes it necessary for him to have constant care. I am reminded daily that it indeed DOES take a village.

What a great post. You are an inspiration.

JCK said...

I loved what you said about it being fabulous that you get to keep making mistakes - as we all do, and learn from on our journey as parents.

hele said...

I'm just going to start leaving a one word comment - beer - and you will know that what I mean is you talk so much sense I wish you could come over and we can sit into the night and talk about nothing and everything.

I am so glad she will not be alone in her room.

Julie Pippert said...

Amen, Jen. And Bravo. You found your way. I knew you would. :)

We face a lot of the same sort of dilemma because we do believe in different ideals...such as cosleeping and extended nursing and listening to our kids. So I understand.

And I have to say for us...the sharing bed space really did well for our kids.

It's all individual of course.

Julie
Using My Words

Momish said...

I'm catching up here, so am soaking up all the advice knowing how it all worked out in the end. I am glad M made it through the night on her own choosing. I hope she fares well again tonight for your own sake.

Call me crazy, but I enjoy the poking and kicking and wiggling every now and then. I use to feel super guilty about putting Piper in her bed, then snuggling up with my big fat cat. It just didn't seem fair. So I keep that in mind whenever she suddenly needs to bunk with us. She's actually a better bed buddie than the cat, he is a way worse nudge than she is.

Kyla said...

It is a good village. I figured you already knew what you needed, sometimes it is just a matter of hearing it echoed back in someone else's voice that makes it click.

painted maypole said...

so glad you are feeling at peace with how you are handling it.

The Expatriate Chef said...

I struggled too, and everyone outside the situation was pushing for cry it out. I held tight to the idea of it being a Western luxury to have a room for each person, that maybe centuries of other wisdom might be right. And damnit, I needed sleep. :)

Glad it worked out!

Denguy said...

I tend to end up on the couch some nights when the whole gang climbs into our bed--small sacrifice for me, really.

luckyzmom said...

Our son alwasys slept like a rock and would only come to us in the middle of the night if something were wrong. Our daughter would come in and stand next to me until I woke up. Occassionally she would be sleeping on the floor beside me when I woke up too. Sometimes she would snuggle in with me and sometimes she just wanted reassurance after a disturbing dream. If it had been a problem I would like to think I would have handled it exactly as you did! You are a permanent person on my "amazing wall".

Amy Barry said...

Had to go back to read Chani's comments and then felt the need to clarify mine - I wholeheartedly agree with Chani when she said "Shoving kids into bedrooms alone and letting them lay there scared and crying when they're not ready for it is just plain mean. Allowing that togetherness now is not going to result in her living in your basement when she's 40." Just goes to show that each situation is unique, as is each child, and as parents we have to trust in our instincts and our knowledge of our own children's needs. For us, co-sleeping just doesn't work. Jaxon does much better (falls asleep/stays asleep) if I come in and lay down with him in his bed for a few minutes, and then go back to my own bed once he drifts off. He is not distressed at all to wake up in his own room or to sleep in his own room (although he sometimes protests bedtime in general.)

He is terribly restless and wakes frequently the few times (other than when he was a baby) that we tried letting him sleep in our bed. We ALL sleep much better in our own beds. Jaxon will protest a bit sometimes, but I have not left him crying about being scared in his room. (About having to go to bed? Yes, but those are usually short tantrums and he stops when he realizes I am not going to change my mind.) As for being scared, he is usually just as content to have one of the dogs sleep in his room with him as us. And he has never really seemed "scared" more likely he just doesn't want to be alone which is understandable, but since he needs to go to bed a couple of hours before I am ready to go to bed, co-sleeping is not really an option for us. Usually by the time we go to bed, he is long since asleep and seldom wakes up until morning so really, so the coming to our bed in the middle of the night has never been an issue for us. Really, the only time he wakes up in the night is when he is sick and has fever dreams, and those nights I tend to just sleep in his room with him, since I know I will be in there once an hour anyway.

Bottom line? You ultimately just have to figure out what you AND your child need, and what will work for all of you. And there just is no magic answer there. Each situation is somewhat unique.

I agree though that it sure is nice to hear a variety of situations and solutions from "the village." Helps to find what resonates with our own situations and give us ideas for possible solutions.

Lisa b said...

Jen we are having this same issue - although this solution did not work for us. Each morning I am greated by a cute little three year old in my bed.
I wish she would stay in her room but we are rolling with it for now. As you say the alternative is just not sitting well with me.