when I was growing up, I shared a room with my sister. if I woke up from a bad dream or a thunderstorm (or the occassional earthquake), I can only remember a few times that I actually walked across the house and got into bed with my parents. most of the times, my sister just told me everything was fine, and to go back to sleep. and so I did.
fast forward to 2011. I have 3 children who are 11, 7 and 3. these three kids have all gone through phases where they have slept more in bed with me than in their own beds. we're going through one of those phases again.
the age of 3 is really a bitch. you are potty-trained, you can speak your mind, you can get dressed and undressed. you can feed yourself and quite often help yourself to some unusual snacks from the kitchen. but you're still only 3 and you still get scared and need your Momma and Daddy.
this began with my first son. he was our only child at the time, and after about 5 months of him magically appearing in our bed around 3AM, I decided to just make up a little sleeping bag and pillow spot each night on the floor for him. (he kicks...trust me, the floor was all nice and cozy enough for him) this went on for a few more months and then all of a sudden, he was staying in his room all night and at some point, I stopped setting out the sleeping bag and pillow.
my daughter went through it as well. she went through a period of sleepwalking and scared the crap out of me countless times. she was more content in her own room, but even nowadays, she'll come in and snuggle every now and then. she likes her sleep.
and now we're at our youngest son. he is 3. and he is in our bed almost every night. he will not creep in quietly and lay down on a sleeping bag and pillow. he picks up the bedding and carries it onto the bed with him. how many times have I awoken to the feeling of intense heat and suffication only to realize that I am buried underneath a Clifford the Big Red Dog sleeping bag and 4 pillows? he sleeps horizontally on our bed. I always get the feet. in my side or back.
now I have read a lot about attachment parenting and the "family bed". I hear Brad Pitt and Anji have a big bed just for this purpose. in theory, the family bed sounds nice. everyone is comforted, everyone is closeby, you rest together as a family. you bond.
what I rarely hear is that the Mom doesn't really get that much sleep in the situation. I am constantly removing toes from my armpit or trying to find a comfy position to sleep in with a 5 inch strip of space on the side of the bed. without falling off. my husband is sleeping fine, his snores tell me he reaches deep REM everynight. I kind of hate him for that.
my son will be 4 in April. perhaps age 4 will make him decide that his perfectly nice bed with bedding he picked out all by himself is an OK place to sleep again. either that or I need to invest in some of that Hydrolyze stuff I hear advertised for "intense dark undereye circles".