I woke up this morning sandwiched in between my two youngest children. I smiled a Cheshire cat kind of smile and snuggled them in closer. Yes one day I am going to miss this but for today I took in the moment and enjoyed being a "mommy sandwich".
It all began 15 years ago when I became a new mommy. I couldn't sleep unless I could hear my baby breathing next to me so we put him in a beautiful cradle that my grandpa hand crafted, right next to our bed. Our bed wouldn't have been safe for him because at the time we had a water bed. As the months went on, he was not sleeping through the night and I had to be at work by 6AM. I would just bring him to bed with me out of pure exhaustion. (we had a regular mattress by this time). I loved snuggling with him at night especially when I had to be away from him during the day. He seemed to make up for the missed nursing sessions at night too. We all got a better nights sleep. I could just plug him on a breast and go back to sleep. At around a year old I weaned him from the breast and gave him cows milk which was recommended by our doctor. Josh ended up being allergic to cows milk causing him to have severe asthma. He eventually out grew the allergy but it was very important for me to have Joshua right next to me at night during his scary bouts with asthma. He stayed in our bed until he was 3.5. I was 8 months pregnant with our second child when I got the worst sunburn of my life on my legs and I was afraid that Josh would kick me in the night so we placed him on the floor. He was content to sleep there for several months. We moved him into his own bed once the weather got cool again. We were afraid he would get sick sleeping on the floor because it was cold down there. He would still come in for morning snuggles with us for a long time after that.
With Megan she would start out the night in her own bed and always come to our bed in the night sometime, when I would get up to nurse her as a tiny baby and as she got older she would just walk in and climb in our bed. I loved the morning family snuggles that we had. I was now a full time stay at home mom and also loved a little "break" at night when she would go in her own bed. When her sister was born 5 years later I told Megan that if she needed to come in our room that she would have to make a bed on the floor. I was afraid she would smother the baby if they both happened to be in our bed. Megan did that for quite some time and once we were awake in the morning we'd let her crawl in bed to join the snuggle fest.
The first night home with Bekah I went to put her in her bassinet in our room and my husband said "won't she get lonely over there?" From that night on she never slept in a crib. She was in our bed. Bekah was always easy to put to sleep and slept about a 6 hr stretch at night from the first night home from the hospital. She loved to play with my hair as she would drift off to sleep. Bekah transitioned in to her own bed at 4. It was her call. I wasn't really ready when she was. We had inherited a big girl bed and set it up in her room for when she was ready. That very night she was ready and eager to sleep in her new bed. For the most part she has slept in that bed every night since.
Bekah was 5 when David joined our family. From his first night home from the hospital, I couldn't bare to put him in his crib at night. It was just a few feet from our bed but I just needed him next to me. He is not nearly as easy as Bekah was to get to sleep and at 14 months old, still only sleeps for maybe a 4 hour stretch. I love having David right next to me. When I wake in the night I can give him a little kiss or rub his back before I go back to sleep.
When we got home from the hospital with Bekah after her T1D diagnosis she was not ready to go back in to her own room. She needed to be close to me and I needed to be close to her. We made a bed for her on the floor right next to our bed. She was on my side so I could just look down to check on her. Every once in a while she would climb up in bed next to me creating a "mommy sandwich". Now that we have been home from the hospital for almost 9 weeks she has moved back to her bed on most nights but still comes in from time to time which was the case this morning.
It is not my agenda to justify my position on the family bed or guilt other parents into feeling like it is the best option. We all have to make decisions with in our families that work best for us. As I have gotten older I have tried to live more in the moment, I realize how fleeting the time is that my children will be little. I don't want to look back and regret not snuggling more or playing more because I was "busy". For me having my kids in bed with me is one way to accomplish that.