“In my oooooown bed!”

Amie in her own bed (c) Katrien Vander Straeten

I haven’t slept two nights in a row now. It’s like back in the newborn days, with one difference: Amie sleeps. But I don’t. What’s going on?

For over two years now we have been cosleepers (“sharers of the family bed”). Many time I have thought of writing a co-sleeping entry or article about how I love it, and how it is a privilege and a joy for all three of us. It is however such a complex, and emotional issue, that I never found the words for it.

Now, if I don’t hurry and write something about our it, I might never do so, because…

On Saturday we bought Amie a bed.

Well, a mattress, really, crib-sized, since an actual bed – even the smallest one – wouldn’t fit into our bedroom.

We had been talking about it, but not at all insisting. On occasion we asked Amie: “Do you want your own bed?”, like this or that friends of hers. She always said no, and we always let it go.

But on Saturday morning DH said: let’s go and have a look, it can’t hurt to have a look. So we drove to IKEA and roamed around the baby-toddler’s bed section. It was a propitious moment, because Amie got to witness at least two other girls, “much” older than she (5 and 6?), enthusiastically try out all the beds, voice their opinions and dreams, and choose one.

After her nap, we set up the mattress next to our own bed. We made a big deal about the sheet and the box with the books and the pillows and the blanket, and she was so excited.

“I am going to sleep in my own bed!” she kept insisting. “I have a big girl bed now.” “I am a big girl. I little bit big and a little bit small!”

Throughout the day she visits her bed – “I want to go see my own bed”. She sits down on it to read a book to her bear, or pretends to sleep  – “I woked up!” – or straightens the blanket.

We told her: “You can sleep in your own bed. And if ever you want to sleep in the big bed with Mama and Baba, that’s ok too.” We want her to know that.

But she’s all for it! She slept in it, that very evening! DH lay down next to her – it’s tiny but quite comfortable – and she went to sleep as usual. She even slept till 5 am, without waking up at all. Then I lay down next to her for 15 minutes and she was off again, till we got up.

Last night was a different story: a night terror and the fact that she had refused to take a nap in the afternoon ruined her night. When she woke up for the third time I didn’t get down but just patted her from my vantage point above her. She scootched over and patted the space next to her and said:

“Mama come down lie next to me. This is a big bed for you to sleep in too.”

I explained I wanted to sleep in my own bed, just like her. She was probably too tired to insist and went back to sleep.

But I haven’t slept at all. Our bed seems too big. There’s something missing. I keep expecting her to wake up, and she’s not within finger’s reach – she is within arm’s reach, but comparatively that is about ten times as far away than she’s used to. Than I’m used to.

Maybe writing about why I miss sharing our bed, now that it’s over – and why I think it’s a good idea right now, as long as she’s up for it – will help me sort out what I want to say about the issue…

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