Bedtime together, beautiful and attached

IMAG00863My daughter and I stopped bedsharing a few months ago, just before her 2nd birthday. She was excited to move out of the daybed we shared in her room and into her own toddler bed.

Even though we’ve shifted away from bedsharing, bedtime still remains for us a wonderful time of connection. Sometimes I hold her and sing to her, which usually puts her to sleep before the first song is over. Most of the time, we lie together in her bed. She’ll play with my hair and cuddle up against me.

Lately, as her vocabulary and her brain continue to grow and develop, she’s been talking a lot as we lie together. She often talks about times when she was sad and frequently repeats a story about a time when I was out at the store and she was home with my husband: “I wanted you and you weren’t there, and I was crying.”

I believe this comes up often at bedtime, because it’s a time when she feels a need for comfort and knows she is safe. She can share a sad memory while knowing that I’m there for her at that moment.

I’ll listen to her story and acknowledge that it was a really upsetting time. Then I’ll remind her that in this moment she has me and I explain that now, when sadness is over, our emotions change and feeling sad is temporary. I reinforce that I am there to comfort her when she needs me.

Even though she’s no longer a newborn with an intense physiological need for me to hold her, bedtime can still be a scary time or a sad time if a child is alone. I love being able to be with her at this time and to let this be something positive and happy. While I don’t sleep with her in her bed, she still refers to it as “Mommy and me’s bed.”

When she wakes in the morning, she finds me sleeping in the daybed in her bedroom. She’ll walk over, and I’ll lift her up into bed. We’ll snuggle together until we’re ready to wake up. It’s the best part of my day and the best way to wake up. I love that I’m one of the first things she sees in the morning and that, even half-asleep, she knows that she just has to walk a few steps to find me and to feel that comfort and love. It’s beautiful to see how our sleep situation has evolved but is still a way for us to stay connected and attached.

In His Special Bed

My two and a half year old son Cavanaugh is asleep in my childhood room, the room I slept in throughout high school, weekends home from college, and which my mom still calls mine though I haven’t lived here in 21 years. Tonight is the second night my son has ever slept in a bed without me.

Last night, we were at my dad’s house. His guest bedroom has wood floors, a high antique bed that’s set in the middle of the room so neither side is against a wall–and Cavanaugh rolls, turning himself into the horizontal bar of an H, flips upside down so his feet rest at the pillows. He’s a mover. At home, where we sleep on our king sized mattress on the floor, this is not a problem. If he ever rolls over the pillow barricade around the edge of the mattress, and travels the eight inches from the mattress to the carpeted floor, he sleeps through it. His slumbers would be disturbed by a two+ foot tumble bumping over the jutting walnut frame to land on the cherry floor. Not even if I put a pad down. It is dangerous.

When we arrived at my dad’s last night, Cavanaugh was asleep. He hadn’t napped on the flights from Austin to Albuquerque. A visit to a friend, a trip back to the airport to trade out one rental car for another, then sloshing through a beautiful hard rain that pulled all the sage and dirt scent to welcome us into not-Texas weather sent our boy to the Land of Nod. I transferred Cavanaugh from the car seat and he slept through the cool air and the lie down. He slept in his own bed all night long.
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