Sleep training, we had it down. It wasn’t even especially challenging. Not nearly as pathetic as our thwarted attempt at toilet training, the transfer from co-sleeper to crib went relatively smoothly with a few expected bumps. That happened somewhere around a year old, I think.
Not only do I not remember how old AJ was when we put him in his own room, but I also can't recall when, exactly, we brought him back into our bed to soothe a cold and fever and, mostly, our “baby’s first cold!” nerves. What I do know is that he hasn’t left our bed since. Our bed is now officially AJ’s bed. He’s never going back, and there’s no point in even trying. And that’s 100 percent mommy's and daddy’s fault, especially mine. Because sleeping with my son is the best part of my day.
It’s not like this with my 7-year-old. You’d think it would be, considering she divides nights between my apartment and a few nights a week at her dad's. I expected nights of serious cuddling and spooning but Little Miss Independent Pants asks to sleep in her own bed.
The AJ scenario is simply the result of adult selfishness and laziness. The kid recovered from that cold and then we asked him where he wanted to sleep. Only a true idiot asks her kid where he wants to sleep. Yet, we could barely contain our glee when AJ hopped in our bed like the cutest footsie-pajama’d bunny ever. This unsuspecting, somnolent child was the world’s most natural buffer from insomnia, not to mention that his presence was a substantial elixir to soothe mounting marital tension. Over the past year my husband and I had been in slow-burn separation mode. AJ was an adjunct between us.
Nothing can compare to that feeling of warmth, wholeness and closeness.
Needless to say, I’ve been trying to sell AJ’s fancy, modern crib/toddler bed, which has become a $1,500 receptacle for laundry awaiting folding. Ironically, it’s brand spanking new, as the company sent a factory-fresh one a few months ago because of a defect in the earlier model.
Had my husband not moved out, yes, I imagine we would have worked on getting AJ out of our bed and back into the room he shares with his sister. Then again, I’m not so sure. Even during our marital up times, we always relished getting into bed with AJ. If anything, it kept us close during a challenging time. Basking in the glow of the amazing creature we co-created was like cozying up by a roaring fire on a cold winter’s night. Nothing can compare to that feeling of warmth, wholeness and closeness.
We talked to our pediatrician, who suggested that when AJ turns 3 he get back into his own bed. And almost on instinct I nodded and agreed. I know the co-sleeping debate is an abyss of information, and there’s a ton of data to support and decry both arrangements. I can’t deny the part of me that wonders whether or not I’m creating a detached monster, or alternately that I'm ruining his ability to self-soothe. But if I’m honest with myself, I suspect I’m equally afraid to look at those exact same things within myself. Lucky for me, I have until tomorrow (his third birthday) to figure it out!
Until then, if anyone needs a crib, I’m throwing in the toddler conversion rail. No, SERIOUSLY.