Promise you’ll move me

Promise you'll move me

She kind of snores when she sleeps. Not big snores, not like Husband, who some nights I’m concerned a train is entering our bedroom, but a gentle snore. The kind that you have to listen for, but once you’ve heard it, it’s hard to remember how you never heard it to start with.

She sleeps curled up next to me, sometimes in the middle of us both, sometimes husband sneaks into the bed across the hall. Even our king size bed struggles to cope with her giant pillow that wraps her body like a nest. Often we wake and it’s just the two of us. Me and her.

I sometimes wonder at what age she’ll stop needing to sleep with us. Is there a magic number? 10, 12… surely by 14? I don’t know. I never thought I’d be sleeping with my 9 year old either, so I’ve kind of given up trying to second guess it. Her psych reassures us, they grow out of it. They really do.

We try to get her to stay in her own bed. I can’t even tell you how many reward charts we’ve tried over the years. We’ve finally got her to at least start the night there (thank you Melatonin gods). But every night it’s the same conversation. “Please mummy, promise me you’ll move me before you go to bed. Promise me.”

If I say no, she won’t go to sleep. Lying there with her eyes wide open, determined to outlast us and make her way between us of her own accord. She almost always succeeds, meaning one of us ends up going to bed early to end the torture of listening to her sob, or she just waits. And we pay for it the next day.

If I say yes, but then sneakily “forget” she invariably wakes, crying. Not just at the fact she’s alone in her bed, but at the injustice, the complete and utter unfairness of the fact that I lied to her. It’s these nights that are the hardest. The tears are real and difficult to console. It starts a pattern of her not sleeping, just in case we do it again.

So we move her. She’s often hot and sweaty, she sleeps fitfully in her own bed, thrashing and talking to herself in her sleep. It’s as though, even when she’s out, she’s still fighting it.

She walks herself down the hall these days, she’s far too big to carry. An almost dreamlike state, she waits for us to pull the doona back, before throwing herself in. Contented little sighs, as she moves down under the doona, throwing her arms out, looking for us. Safe, secure.

It’s one of those things that people don’t really talk about. I mean who’s tween still sleeps with them pretty much every night? Who wants to admit to that? We were the sleep school family, the melatonin family, the ones who were determined to make it work. In some ways, I kind of feel a bit like I’ve failed one of those unwritten, but important motherhood tests.

But somewhere along the way, where she sleeps became less important than her actually sleeping. So we go with it. And one day, maybe she won’t want to sleep curled into me. And until then, I think I’ll try and enjoy it for what it is.

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  1. Alix Fletcher says:

    I love this story! It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy 😉
    I used to complain about my littlie invading our bed until my mother reminded me to enjoy every snore, every cuddle and each twist and turn during the night because before you know it they won’t want to get in for a cuddle and that’s when you’ll want it the most!
    We’ve managed to convince ours that anytime after the birds begin in the morning is time enough to get in with us and it’s so infrequent now that I relish the cuddles and the snores x because you never know what the day will hold instore and those precious moments might be both your saving grace x
    Love reading your blog, keep your the good work x

  2. I get this, totally. The only reason M doesn’t sleep most nights in our bed now is because after 3 1/2 years we finally got her to sleep in her own bed in our room. It’s a crappy compromise but it means that usually she leaves the main bed alone, as she can hear us in her sleep, which is always fitful and cat-like (one eye open).

    Very occasionally she can be persuaded to have a “sleepover” in her brother’s room and then I crash out like a dead thing. I’m sure my body is permanently in new-born baby sleep patterns, but we do the best we can to achieve the most sleep for all concerned. As you do too. And one day we will both look back and remember when our girls couldn’t sleep without us near.

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