As part of our nighttime routine, The Little Empress usually enjoys a half-hour or so of playtime in her bedroom before getting ready for bed. It is a great way to help her wind down and allows us to do the essentials such as pick out her pajamas, etc. She’s been playing pretend a lot more frequently now and one night last week, I asked her to “pretend to go night-night.”
To my surprise, TLE happily climbed up into her toddler bed, tucked herself in and made a dramatic show of closing her eyes.
“Are you sleeping?” I asked. TLE’s eyes remained shut. “Okay, Mommy will leave you now,” I said. “Good night.” TLE didn’t make a move. I turned off her light and walked out of the room, closing the door behind me. Not a peep.
I was amazed. Until very, very recently, leaving a room that TLE was in meant that TLE would run behind me, usually wailing. But I did not hear a cry nor even a stir. For a few moments, I was somewhat conflicted — should I let her sleep, for the first time, alone in her room? She seemed ready. After thinking it over and noting that she still needed her evening diaper change, I opened the door and turned on the lights.
TLE seemed mostly okay with her pretend sleep being disturbed but when I told her that we were going to go night-night in our big bed, she protested. She had a taste of independence and it seemed that she wanted more.
I brought up TLE’s “pretend night-night” with The Hubs ™ and we discussed the possibility of moving TLE to her own room. I was surprised at how sad I was at the idea of TLE sleeping away from us. While I know it will happen eventually, I figured that we were still years from that day. Now it seems that the day we no longer share a bed with TLE will come sooner rather than later.
Like our decision to always have a stay at home parent, the decision to cosleep was made long before we ever got pregnant. Both of us came from cosleeping families; it seemed to us that the most natural place for a small child to sleep would be with their parents. Practically speaking, cosleeping was a lifesaver for us. As a newborn, TLE refused to sleep in her Arm’s Reach co-sleeper, only wanting to sleep in the bed beside me. Cosleeping made breastfeeding at night blissfully easy. While I was working, cosleeping allowed TLE to reverse cycle, allowing her to continue to nurse and allowing me to keep the milk flowing.
As she got older, cosleeping has gotten more difficult. As she’s gotten bigger, she takes up more room. (I never knew that a 22lb toddler could take up so much room on a Cal King bed!!) She is a mobile sleeper, thrashing about and kicking off covers. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve woken up with a toddler foot (or butt!!) in my face. And when she’s awake, she’s awake and makes for a very loud, screeching alarm clock.
Even so, the idea of not sleeping with her makes me sad. Cosleeping has meant some lost sleep here and there but it also means that I’ve gotten to wake up to the sweetest babbling in the morning. Ever wake up to baby babble or toddler cuddles? They’re the best.
For what it is worth, TLE hasn’t balked at cosleeping since then. I may try to introduce the concept of sleeping in her toddler bed for her naps before transitioning to fulltime sleeping in her own bed. I know that eventually, she will demand her own bed and when that time comes, she will get it. Until then, I can only hope that I can continue to enjoy our family bed for just a little while longer.