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9to5to9: Who’s been co-sleeping in my bed?

Submitted by on Monday, 1 September 2008 No Comment

Sign me up for a session with a shrink.

I knew when I started it that letting the guys sleep with me was bad. In my defense, I didn’t really know I was starting it.

It began last summer, as a Friday “”stay up all night”" special with Big Guy to try to make up some of the together time he lost to That Baby Who Ruined His Life. We’d make popcorn, lie in the grass and watch the stars until I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Then I’d con him into my room, “”just to watch some movies

Before Simba could sing “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King,”" he’d be out. That’s parenting sin No. 2, if you’re keeping score: Letting children fall asleep with the television on.

I didn’t know our little slumber parties were a signal of psychological issues — “If a parent sleeps with the child to offset loneliness, counseling may be helpful,” the American Academy of Pediatrics writes in “”Your Guide to Your Children’s Sleep.”" I just thought I was trying to get some shut-eye.

Co-sleeping perennially is in parenting news, most recently in a reader survey from parenting.com that showed, not surprisingly, the crib sleeping set thinks co-sleepers are whacked.

The burn co-sleepers at the stake crowd got a boost last year when the AAP came out strongly bed sharing. “”There is no evidence that co-sleeping can be done safely,”" John Kattwinkel, M.D., chairperson of the AAP’s Task Force on SIDS, said in the parenting.com article.

For the record, the baby guys always slept on their own. They started in a bassinet, moving to their room when they became rowdy or big enough to threaten to tip the bassinet. In Big Guy’s case, that was less than two months. I evicted him after waking up one morning to see Rockette kicks over the top of the bassinet.

That doesn’t make me cold, unfeeling or selfishly interested in my own rest, as the co-sleep crowd will argue. That makes me practical. I’m a sound sleeper who thrashes. No way was I going to risk pancaking my kid in the middle of the night.

It wasn’t until they were much older — 4, in Big Guy’s case — that co-sleeping became the weekend ritual.

Sometimes, we’ll even do it for a week at a time, like last Thanksgiving as Big Guy recovered from hernia surgery.

Would he have been all right in his own room after the first few nights? Certainly. Did it hurt to let him get away with his small BS that he still was too sick to go back to his room? Certainly not.

We’ve moved from my bed to the sleeper sofa, and I suppose that is indeed reason to question my sanity. Slept on one of those things lately? What’s bliss when you’re under 3 1/2 feet tall is not so glorious when you’re an adult. I need a chiropractor more than I do a shrink

It’s still the same giant Friday night house party, though. Balloon volleys, popcorn and movies.

While they enjoy the party, I love the wind-down talk. That’s when Big Guy always spills his guts about things that are bothering him, things he doesn’t ordinarily volunteer.

And if it takes an uncomfortable night on a wafer-thin mattress, it’s a sacrifice I’ll make.

It’ll be just one more thing to talk about to my shrink.

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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