Co-Sleeping…Brother Edition

Our youngest son is almost 11 months old. Our middle son is almost 6 years old, and our oldest son is 10 years old. Our (2) “big boys” or “big bubbas”, as we often call them, slept in our Queen size bed with us, until the first night we were home with our baby boy #3. Our oldest slept at my feet and our middle boy slept in between my husband and me. This was tough and not very comfortable. Especially being 9 months pregnant and huge. But, for the most part, I was OK with our sleeping arrangement because I knew our boys were safe and sleeping nice and sound. The other side of me really needed them to sleep in their own room and in their own beds. I needed the room. We needed the room. They needed to learn to sleep on their own.

Over the years, I would go through periods where I would try to enforce the “sleeping in your own bed(s) tonight” rule. But I would get discouraged and give up so easily. I tried with my oldest for a few years, before our middle son was born, but I was never successful. Then, when we had our 2nd son, he slept in his cradle beside our bed, just like our oldest did, until he was too big for it and crawling into our bed overnight. Some of those nights, I was so tired I did not even remember putting him in our bed, so the only explanation was that he did crawl right out of his cradle, over me, and right into our bed. So, we were all (4) sleeping in our Queen size bed, lined up like sardines.

When our middle little was about 3, we tried their own bed thing again. Just to get them to sleep in their own beds was a chore. I tried several different ways. But at least 1 of them would always pull the “I’m thirsty”, “one more song”, “one more story” card, then laughing and talking before they would finally fall asleep. While I did enjoy this somewhat, just spending a few more minutes with them and just listening to them get along and laugh down the hall way, I really wanted, needed them just go to sleep and stay in there beds all night long. They were just a bit grumpy the next morning after one of these nights. Sometimes we had the nights where they would come to my room at least 5 times and I would have to walk 1, or both, of them back to their room. They were getting better at starting out and finally going to sleep in their room, but they still always ended up in our bed sometime overnight. Half of the time I would not even realize it until I woke up the next morning.

FINALLY, fast forward to our first night home with baby boy #3. We had our nightly routine of story, song, and prayer. I kiss them good night, and they slept all night long in their own room, in the same bed!! So, this is the new current situation. They do share a room, but they each have their own bed. I guess you could say that we compromised. They do go right to sleep now, and sleep through the night. I am so happy for this. But they still co-sleep. This does seem to help them, and they do actually get plenty of sleep now. I’m just going to let them continue their co-sleeping just a little longer. Our oldest will be a teenager soon. I am pretty sure he will not want to sleep with his little brother then. So, I’ll just wait.

1 Sometimes I do miss them being little and sleeping with us. But then I remember how many nights I was woken up by feet kicking me or a booty in my face. I do not miss those times at all. I guess I gotta let them grow up sometime. I have one more to hold on to a little tighter at bed time. But I know that will not last forever either.

Our Nightly Routine

Every night, well most nights, after a long day of work, school, and the baby sitter’s house. After we come home and eat supper, do homework, bathe, and brush our teeth. It is finally OUR time!! The big boys share a room and the baby is still in mine & my husband’s room, for now. We all go in to the big boys room. The big boys lay in bed and get all snuggled in. I sit on the edge of the bed with the baby in my lap. We read a bed time story. We have a whole set of stories from the Bible for kids. A coworker gave these to me about a year ago. They are over 50 years old and they are still in perfect condition. I let the big boys take turns choosing a story each night. They either choose to read from the Bible stories or one of our Dr. Seuss books. Then I sing them a song. Ever since my oldest, who is now 10, was a baby, at every nap and every night before bed, I have sang him a song by Plumb called In My Arms. That song is just beautiful! Maybe not when I sing it, but it is to my boys!! This is OUR song. After the story and song, the boys take turns each night saying our prayer. Listening to my boys pray is so heart-warming! I love it!! I take a turn on the nights that they are a little extra sleepy. We pray for each other, for others, for our big extended family, and for other families. If we know of a particular someone who needs a little extra special prayer, we pray for them too. Our prayers are not perfect, but we know God hears them!!

Unfortunately, we do not get to do this every single night because I do work a full time job and am currently finishing up my Bachelor’s Degree. But, we are able to, most weeks, 4 days of the week on average. We start about 30 to 45 minutes before they should be going to sleep, which is usually 8:15 on normal nights or 8:45 on chaotic night when we got home late or I have an assignment due. We LOVE our time together. They really miss it when we have to cut our bedtime routine short. When we do, we usually skip the story, but still have the song and prayer. I know reading is important, but we read as part of studying as well. They will not want me to do this with them for long. So I am going to enjoy every minute of it while it lasts!! Our week day evenings are very hectic at times, so I really miss our bedtime routine when we aren’t able to keep it too!!

Our bed time routine has not always been so calm either. Before the baby came, we would start our bedtime routine, but the boys were still wound up and did not want to go to bed. They did not want to listen to the story at all and we did not pray. Somehow, they always ended up in our Queen sized bed by morning. The oldest at my feet and the, now middle boy, in between me and my husband. Some nights they came one at a time and sometimes they came together. A Mama can only be woke up so many times before saying “just get in bed”. It was no fun being big and pregnant with feet up your booty and a child on your back while sleeping as close to the edge as possible without actually falling out. I loved the closeness, but at the same time I longed to be able to sleep in my bed and not on the edge with feet up my booty!

To our amazement the first night home with our youngest, I put the big boys to bed in their room and they slept through the night, in their bed! I was so happy! For the next 5 weeks, our bed times were a little wild. It was summer and I was still out on maternity leave. The week before I started back to work, we started our new bedtime routine. Story, song, and prayer! The big boys were still, they listened, and stayed in their bed all night long. Eight months later, we do still have the occasional night that 1 or both big boys end up in our bed. But not often or frequent. It actually took me some time to figure out a bedtime routine and night-night time that worked best for our family. If it’s too early, they were still wide awake and wound up. If it’s too late, they were restless and grouchy. If they had screen time too close to bed time, they wanted to tell me everything they did in the game they played. So many variables!!! But we eventually found what worked for us.

“Night-night, sweet dreams, I love you!”

Do you have a nightly or bedtime routine with your kids?