Monday, April 05, 2010

Bed Hopping -- by Jamie

For the most part, my almost-three-year-old daughter, Jayda, and I co-sleep every night—and we’ve done so ever since she was born. My daughter hates to sleep (even as a baby, she barely napped, and fought the urge to sleep with all her might), and no matter where she is, she takes forever to drift off—and wakes at the crack of dawn. Since Jayda’s sleep battles are generally very noisy, it makes no difference whether she’s in my bed or not—I’m still at the mercy of her sleeping patterns. And if it makes her happier and more secure to be snuggled up with me, I can’t complain. I’m single, with a queen-sized bed, so there’s plenty of room for both of us. Besides, as I’ve read in many parenting magazines and journals, researchers around the world have discovered that children who co-sleep are “more independent, more outgoing, and more confident. As adults, they have higher self-esteem, better stress-management skills, and are more comfortable with intimacy than adults who slept alone as young children.” Sounds good to me!

Of course I do try to encourage Jayda to sleep by herself—as I think it can only enhance her independence—but her standard response is, “I’m not ready yet, Mom.” Her certainty cracks me up, and since I know she will be ready at some point in the not-so-distant future, I can wait. But I do find it quite ironic that, despite Jayda’s aversion to her own bed, she’s obsessed with everyone else’s. She constantly requests to see her friends’ beds—be it to jump on them, or simply tumble around under the covers.

Several months ago, we had a play date at a little boy’s house. Moments after entering the boy’s play room, Jayda approached the boy and demanded, “Let’s go to your room! I want to see your bed!” His father and I looked at each other and laughed…and jokingly insisted, “Keep the door open, kids—and both of you, keep one foot on the floor!”

Similarly, after a recent family dinner at my cousin’s house, Jayda enjoyed running around with my cousin’s twin boys, who are three years older than Jayda. At one point, Jayda disappeared with one of the boys and the boys’ father ran up to his kids’ bedroom to see if they were in there. He returned with this report: “Jayda’s in my son’s bed—with my son. They’re under the covers, giggling.” Then, as if to reassure me, he added “They DO have their clothes on.” Oy. That’s my girl!

Fortunately (or not so fortunately?) it’s not just boys’ beds Jayda adores; she likes hiding under the blankets with her girl friends, too. Many times I’ve let Jayda run off with one of her friends to play in the girl’s bedroom, and have later found Jayda shoeless and curled up under the covers with her pal. She giggles when I find her, and blissfully enjoys “pretending” to nap with her friend.

Lest you think I’m concerned by Jayda’s behavior, I’m not—I actually find it quite amusing (as long as she’s not still dragging her boy friends to their beds when she gets a bit older!). I just find it funny that a kid who doesn’t want her own bed seems to love everyone else’s—and that a kid who hates to sleep enjoys pretending to nap. But who ever said children were easy to understand? Whether she’s sleeping or awake, my unpredictable daughter always keeps my on my toes!

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Blogger Laura Houston said...

I love that you co-sleep with Jayda and that you can talk to her about it. And that she can tell you she's not ready. I discussed co-sleeping in my blog, too. It's hard sometimes....but it sure does make for a strong bond with the child. Good luck. I hope you get your own bed soon. I hope we do, too.

2:18 PM  

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