I’m always amazed at how people are so interested in how other people’s children sleep. It seems to be a huge topic of concern for parents. I have people frequently ask me about how my children are sleeping. I always stutter a little, not quite sure how to answer. The answer I give is usually not an expected or anticipated answer. It used to make me feel uncomfortable or awkward. Now I just sort of chuckle inside as I see their look of puzzlement! So that got me thinking, why don’t I share on my blog how we all sleep? It’s something that people truly seem to be interested in! Whenever I divulge the secrets of our sleeping arrangement there seems to be immediate concern about the state of my marriage! So I’ll touch on that too!
When 7:00 pm rolls around my kids start begging me to go to bed. They’ve usually had a long, full day running and playing outside, inside, at the beach and at the skateboard ramp. They are ready to crash. And bedtime is one of their favorite times. Usually from 6 or 6:30 to 7:00 or 7:30 I’m on the couch reading stories. So by 7:00 or 7:30 we’re ready to brush teeth and climb in bed. I arrange the bed with me and Koa sitting in the middle and a space for Koa to lay down on my right when he finishes nursing. Jude has a pillow on my left and Ezra and Kai each have a pillow laying sideways at the foot of the bed. They climb in and we dim the lights. These are the most treasured moments of my day. In the quietness and calm of being all snuggled together in bed, one or more of the boys starts to talk about his fears, hopes, dreams, or big life questions about God, about the meaning of life, etc. It’s always a holy moment. So we talk like philosophers or theologians together, I pray for each one, I nurse Koa while we all lay quietly and they drift off to sleep with smiles on their faces. While they are quiet and drifting off I play solitaire on my ipod. It’s a very relaxing, calm moment for me. Once they are all out, I sneak out of the bed and leave them to snooze together for the evening in our bed. It doesn’t have to be this way, obviously, but I love it. It’s really hot here in Jaco, Costa Rica, so we use these special moments to turn on the air conditioning, which somehow makes the moment just that more special and calm.
What! You shout! What about your marriage! That is your marriage bed! Hee hee. That just makes me chuckle. I don’t know if you are paying attention to what has been happening here – my children – all FOUR of them are happily sound asleep, without a fuss or cry by 7:30 pm!!! My husband and I don’t usually go to bed until 11 pm, leaving us an entire 3 ½ hours to spend together, when our evenings are free. And we take advantage of those free evenings, believe me. We sit on the couch, we talk all about our day, processing everything together. We laugh, we talk, we connect, and you know, one thing might just lead to another… but I’m not going to be giving details here about that! All I can say is, you don’t need to worry about the intimacy of our marriage. Having children who happily go to sleep – all together, early, without a battle, building connection and intimacy with us and each other is probably the greatest benefit to our marriage.
When 11 p.m. rolls around and we’re sleepy, Scott takes the bigger boys and transfers them into their room. I snuggle in between Jude and Koa. Koa usually wakes up a little at this time and I lay with him and drift off nursing him to sleep, snuggled between Jude and Koa. I absolutely love it. Scott usually joins the other two in their room, not loving the snuggled-ness quite as much as me. When I wake up in the morning Jude and Koa are usually peeking over me and giggling at each other. They slowly wake up and start to roll around giggling together. Kai, Scott and Ezra are usually already up – they are the morning people! My husband has always already made coffee and if I’m lucky he’ll sometimes bring me a cup in bed! I am so not a morning person – but waking up to these giggling boys and my husband with coffee definitely helps!
And as a side note –this is a rough sketch- every night is not the same. Sometimes one is sick and it throws the whole night off, or having nightmares, or some other disruption. Believe me, we have had many sleepless nights in our 8+ years of parenting! But that’s ok, that’s part of the deal and we just roll with it as best we can.
So there you have it. The intimate ins and outs of our sleeping arrangement. For now. It changes frequently, it always does. We’re all in transition as these boys grow and move through different stages. But I’m confident that it will always be something peaceful and lovely. And when the day comes that my husband and I have our bed all to ourselves, I know we will love it. But I also know we will always treasure these memories we have with our boys. And hopefully the things we’re doing now will be paving the way for an amazing, close connection with each of them as they grow up and move toward independence.
Ok, I’ve bared my soul – what about you, how do your children sleep? Are you happy with how things are?