Before I became a parent, I swore on my Dunkin’ iced coffee that I would never allow my children to sleep in my bed. Ever. Well, maybe when they were sick. But, that was it. No other time would they ever be allowed into my sacred place. Fast forward a few years and a couple of kids later and you’ll see a regular visitor in my bed nearly every night.
I don’t know what it is, but my four-year-old loves my bed more than a Caillou marathon. If you knew my child, you would know that is saying a lot. The funny thing is, she never used to be that way. But, it seems as though she booked part of her summer vacation in our bed…with a one way ticket. She falls asleep in her own bed, but then there’s some mystery as to what happens in the middle of the night. All of a sudden, I hear the pitter patter of little feet down the hallway followed by someone climbing on my back to get right in the middle of the bed to find “her” spot. Within seconds she is fast asleep. I, on the other hand, am slightly annoyed and uncomfortable. Take this routine and multiply it by seven and you have my week.
Aggravated with the sleeping conditions in my house, I naturally turned to the internet to help. All of those baby sites must have some heavenly advice to get my child back in bed and me not clinging on to the edge of the bed like I’m going to fall off a cliff. Of course many of the “experts” say you just have to keep walking them back to their beds. Trust me, I’ve done that plenty of times. It only leads to a repeat performance an hour or so later and me drinking a gallon of coffee the next day. A real lose-lose if you ask me. Other sites suggested putting a sleeping bag along my bed so she is in the room but not attached to my back. I can tell you that would go over like throwing away all the Caillou videos in my house. So, that option is out the window. There was one suggestion that peaked my interest…the sleep fairy. I had never heard of this magical creature. I think she’s the tooth fairy’s third cousin. See, she leaves little gifts under kids’ pillows when they sleep in their beds the whole night. If you’re not in your bed, she can’t find you, thus you lose out. I really thought this would work. I told my daughter all about this wonderful fairy who was going to make all of our dreams come true. Her eyes lit up and I thought we were really onto something. After a couple of nights of still sleeping in our bed, she asked why the sleep fairy didn’t come and leave her a gift. I explained for the 100th time that she had to sleep in her bed for this gimmick to work. She said “oh” and finished her pretend picnic. Let me tell you, she could care less. The sleep fairy better find another house. Ugh.
My next step was to talk to the pediatrician during her yearly check-up. She also suggested the sleeping bag thing. When I told her that would never work, she suggested a sticker chart with a reward system. You see, I had been taking things away because my daughter wasn’t sleeping in her bed. I was told to try positive reinforcement instead. How about me booking a room at the Hyatt? That sounds pretty positive to me. So instead, I introduced the whole sticker chart thing with a tier of prizes. The first would be a trip to Nuvita for frozen yogurt. She loves that place so I thought this had to work. Well, a week later I have sheets of princess stickers, an empty calendar, and a craving for Nuvita. Ugh.
The doctor did say she would grow out of this. I mean how many 15 year-olds do you know who still sleep in their parent’s beds? So, I guess there is still hope. Until then, perhaps I have to bring the sleep fairy with us to Nuvita with stickers and a calendar for all of this to work.