Co-sleeping. A controversial one if ever there was one.
I tend to find you’re either a lover or a hater of it.
And you won’t be surprised to hear, I’m in the latter camp. Co-sleeping drives me INSANE!
I’m not going into why you should or shouldn’t do it. You all know this isn’t ‘that kind’ of blog. And basically I couldn’t give a shit. Some people swear by it, and that’s fine.
Some people have never had their child in bed with them in their lives. And that’s fine too.
My problem is that I’m somewhere in the middle of those two groups of people (like a lot of parents, I expect) and I feel like I want to make the jump to one side or the other. Preferably the ‘it’s not happening, sod off back to bed’ camp.
Sleep – what’s that?
You may have gleaned from my blog or social media channels that my Twins don’t sleep that well.
I was clearly lulled into a false sense of security with my eldest, who has always been a pretty good sleeper. Don’t get me wrong, he wasn’t sleeping through the night at two weeks old or any of that crap that quite frankly, I just don’t believe, when people tell me. But nor was he still waking three times a night at the age of 2.
Although moving house threw him, and since then (almost two sodding years ago) at least once a night he tends to shout out for me. And annoyingly it’s ONLY for me – woe betide the Other Half if he goes in to see what’s wrong. Mind you to be honest, I usually have to wake him up to help me out anyway.
The Twins on the other hand? They’re little sods.
They are now 2 years and 3 months old and still don’t seem to understand the concept of ‘Go the f*ck to sleep’ no matter how many times I read them this book. (Joke, before anyone reports me).
To be fair to Twin One, he’s getting much better. But oh my god, Twin Two is a royal pain in the arse. I once found myself googling can sleep deprivation kill you?
Please sleep through the night. PLEASE.
The number of times he’s slept through the night in the last two years and three months could be counted on, mmm, let’s see, THREE FINGERS. It’s like he didn’t get the memo that this family are sleep lovers. Or at least we used to be before having the Twins. You can read about how hideous night times were in the early days here.
Admittedly we don’t give ourselves the best fighting chance, not going to bed until midnight-1am, but that’s our choice and routine to actually be able to get work done.
He’s not as bad as he was in the first year – one night of which we were were up 16 times. SIXTEEN. I was evil. Evil, I tell you.
I can’t even say what wakes him up because I’ve yet to figure it out.
Some nights he just won’t even go to sleep. Standing up in his cot shouting and screaming for no apparent reason. These are the nights that your heart sinks before you’ve even spread the washing on the clothes horse and made your way downstairs to attempt the clean up or start your own dinner.
Would co-sleeping make them sleep? Er, no.
Whatever I do, makes no difference. If I go in instantly he stops, then starts again the second I leave. If I let him ‘cry it out’ for a bit (ooh, shoot me now!) it makes no difference. They’re both still in cotbeds, now with a duvet and pillow – and will continue to be until they stop day time napping due to me gloriously f*cking that bit up with my eldest when I put him in a bed in time for the Twins to nab his cotbed.
So he stands in his cot, jumping up and down, throwing whatever he can get his hands on out onto the floor, then crying that he hasn’t got it anymore. I’m talking about his ‘Doggy’ comforter, his dummy, a book he may have taken to bed with him, a toy he can reach from a nearby shelf. Last night they’d both even launched their pillows and duvets across the room in an act of defiance. I mean, how DARE I put them to bed and expect them to lie down and sleep.
If he goes to sleep relatively simply, you know you’ll be in for trouble at some point in the night. If he’s not woken up by 11pm, then it’ll usually be around 2-3am. 4am. 5am. Or all of them.
Ah, a lovely deep sleep.
You know, just as you’re in that really, lovely deep sleep. There’s that moment where you can hear him and you pretend you’re still asleep to see if the Other Half will do something about it.
Then you realise that actually your Other Half is pretty much comatose within 15 seconds of shutting his eyes every night. But in his defence, he responds pretty well to an elbow in his back and a grunt from me about Twin Two needing attention.
And luckily for me, Twin Two isn’t quite as fussy in the middle of the night as his big brother.
One of us will try to settle him in whatever way we can. It works on about one out of 10 occasions. But in the vain hope that it is one of those nights we keep trying.
Half an hour and four attempts later, the volume is increasing and we start to worry that he’ll wake the others up. Twin One is pretty good at sleeping through the noise akin to a wailing banshee less than a metre from his head. But the four year old, despite being down the landing in his own room, often hears. And now he’s at school, this is a no-no.
So the dreaded words of ‘shall we bring him in?’ are uttered and all prospects of sleep can be kissed goodbye for the rest of the night. Well unless you’re the Other Half of course. Cue the dreaded co-sleeping.
Why I hate co-sleeping
And THIS is why I hate co-sleeping.
If Twin Two were to come into our bed and simply go to sleep it wouldn’t be a problem, and I’d be all for co-sleeping as a solution. I mean, I’m not THAT hard-hearted that I don’t like a snuggle with my boys in the middle of the night. If the four year old has a bad dream and I’m feeling generous I even OFFER for him to sleep with me, especially if the Other Half is away. Because that’s what he does usually – sleep.
Not Twin Two though. He’s a shitbag.
He sees our super king sized bed as an extension of our playroom. In fact not just our playroom, maybe more like a soft play/trampoline park/climbing wall all rolled into one.
Lying down and going back to sleep with Mummy and Daddy is not on the agenda for him. Oh no, this is fun time!
If he’s not commando crawling across the bed, trying to slide under the duvet to hide at the bottom, or attempting to get out and make a run for it across the landing, he’s not impressed.
Co-sleeping means fun time for Twin Two
When he was still in a sleeping bag, there would be nights where I’d lie there gripping hold of the end of the bag as tight as possible to stop him escaping. Not in a bid to prevent him accidentally falling out of bed. Oh no. To stop him doing a bloody runner at 4am!
Then we’ve got the jumping – and a sleeping bag is simply an added challenge when it comes to this. Beds are trampolines in this boy’s eyes.
It doesn’t matter if it’s 3.38am, it’s dark and there are two adults lying in the bed either side of you. That just makes it more exciting. The headboard is used as a support bar (at the same time as a bass drum banging on the wall), and wey-hey, easy bouncing! This is SO much fun! Thank god we live in a detached house – or our neighbours might think our sex life is WAY better than it actually is.
If you can manage to get Twin Two to lie down you’re winning. Sleep is in sight and all might not be lost.
Who am I trying to kid? He might be lying down next to me, with me stroking his face or chest in a vain attempt of invoking some shut-eye for both of us. But he’s got other ideas. He thinks it’s hilarious to stroke your face back. The first time he did this, I was loving it. Who wouldn’t want strokes from their baby in the middle of the night? My happiness lasted for all of about four seconds, then he started poking me in the eyes, pulling my fringe and even picking my nose.
We bought a massive bed – but not for co-sleeping
He doesn’t want to lie normally in the bed. Obviously he wants to lie horizontally (like all kids) and luckily because our bed is so huge he can normally fit in between us and still do this. (The irony is we bought the bigger bed when we had the twins, thinking it would be ‘nice’ to have them in bed with us in the mornings. The mornings. NOT AT NIGHT.) So why is it always me that gets his feet when he’s splayed between us?
One night this week I had a full on hard kick in the head. Like REALLY hard. To the point my ear was actually ringing for a few minutes. And then about half an hour later when he’d changed position for the 359th time that night I got a fist in the boob. I had two hours’ sleep that night. The next day I could have literally murdered someone.
We threaten to take him back to his own bed. And sometimes we do. But then the whole shouting/screaming/waking brothers up scenario starts again. He might be a bouncy, punchy, annoying little shit in with me, but at least the other two are still asleep.
Although not always.
Like a ticking time-bomb
We had an occasion a few weeks back where all three were up in the night. Luckily at different times. At one point we had the four year old and Twin Two both in with us. We needed one of these Mammoth mattresses. When this happens (luckily not that often), it’s like a ticking time bomb.
You just KNOW that Twin One will wake up and there’s nowhere for him to go. You just know he’ll see that his buddy isn’t in the cot next to him and that will make him cry. I mean, why would he want to miss out on the 4.15am party the rest of his family are enjoying?
That night was like musical beds. Which one of them was asleep enough for us to carry back to their own room because, as much as the song says there is, there is NOT room for five in the bed.
Now and again that prompts the ‘shall I go and sleep somewhere else?’ question from the Other Half. Usually greeted with the ‘no you will f*cking not’ reply from me. I’m buggered if I’m going to be up all night with three wriggling, fighting boys in my bed, whilst he snores away happily in the spare room downstairs. And to be fair to him, this has never happened, not even in the early days. That’s why he’s a keeper.
Not that he MINDS helping, but I think he either sleeps as if he’s dead, or his ears are so blocked up he needs to get them cleared out at Auris Ear Care!
Although early one morning a few weeks back I did find him scrunched up in the four year old’s car-shaped toddler-sized bed. He went in to try and settle him and was talked into staying. He must have been desperate. Not to mention bloody uncomfortable.
My co-sleeping reality is not cute or peaceful
You see pictures of mums in bed with three of their children sleeping beautifully, all looking cute and peaceful and lovely. Is that real life? Does that REALLY happen? Not in this house it doesn’t.
And if it were to actually happen, and that everyone actually went back to sleep then I wouldn’t mind co-sleeping. In fact I’d quite like it, whatever the so-called ‘rights and wrongs’ of letting them sleep in your bed are.
I don’t give a monkeys about what you SHOULD or SHOULDN’T do. But I do give a monkeys about sleep. It’s no wonder I’m more Slummy Mummy than Yummy Mummy these days…
I’m not sure what the answer is though. Maybe stopping them napping during the day? Putting them to bed later? But if I did that I’d have no time for anything else and you wouldn’t get to read me whinging about co-sleeping…
Do you co-sleep with your kids? Or is your bed a no-go zone?
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Did you enjoy this post? You might like some of my others, so how about you read some of my early posts, such as The Early Days With Three Babies Under 2.5, Taking Twins To Baby Groups Is A Massive Pain or 10 ‘Must-Haves’ To Survive The Early Days With Newborn Twins And A Toddler.
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