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Bye bye sleep training, bring on co-sleeping

September 11, 2012

The marriage bed has lost its sanctity. I thought I could preserve it, but alas. I have also officially lost the battle in sleep training.

Everyone’s now on our bed, in our room, every night; while fatherkao sleeps alone in the children’s room. So much for buying fancy bunk beds and cartoon bedsheets. For the kids, it’s not what they sleep on, but who they sleep with that matters.

So for a while now, we’re all sleeping in the master bedroom. Tuck-ins start at 9pm. Baby’s on my chest, Ben’s on my left and Becks is on my right. They fall asleep after a lot of nagging and threatening (of Mr Cane coming) from me.

We’ve managed to squeeze a toddler bed from IKEA and a toddler mattress on the floor in the master bedroom to accommodate everyone, so by 10pm when they all fall asleep, I shift everyone into position: Ben sleeps on the floor, Becks sleeps on the bed next to mine, and I sleep with the baby. Like this:


But with this arrangement, I shuttle around the room every night on a three hourly basis on good nights and an hourly basis on bad ones.

12am: Ben discovers he is alone on the floor. He gets up and cries. I awake (usually with great annoyance) and pat him to sleep in the little corner where his mattress is. On good nights, he sleeps through and gets over the fact the mother-presence is a metre away. On bad ones, he wakes up again and crawls onto the bed to search for my armpit and snuggles under it. Don’t ask me why. I think he feels very tucked in and safe under it.

2.39am: Baby Nat stirs and looks for the mother-presence, usually with his rooting reflex in full gear, ready to suckle for comfort. I indulge his bad, bad habit. Since going to infantcare, he has had the sniffles frequently and my heart has been broken so many times to see him ill. And so he suckles, left and right and right and left, all night long. And by the way, I do the moving from left to right and right to left – the baby doesn’t.

4.58am: Becks whines and asks for milk. Her night wakings have become less frequent, so on good nights she usually wakes up at this time to ask for milk. Some nights I ignore her and she falls asleep again. Some nights I roll over to her bed and hold her tight and speak to her in a soft voice telling her to wait till it’s “wakey wakey” time. Some nights she badgers till the baby wakes up and Ben starts stirring, and I do a shuttle run and make her milk at the fastest possible speed to stop her from crying the house down. Some nights she gives me hell even before this time with her night terror screams and I’m like running from one corner of the room to the other in a semi-conscious state making sure everyone is ok. During those nights, if they all wake up in shock and can’t go back to sleep, I gather everyone like a mother hen and we all huddle on the bed.

6.20am: Time for motherkao to wake up

My night duty applies for both weekdays and weekends. I’d thought if I delay tuck-ins a little later on weekends, the kids would probably be knocked out and not have me perform this running about in a groggy state, but boy was I wrong about that.

I’m severely sleep deprived. I’m so glad Kai Kai and Jia Jia are coming soon. I hear they are on a ten-year loan from China. Tis’ great cos’ for the next ten years of my life I will bring my kids to the zoo and teach them personification with illustrations: my mother is a panda.

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