In an effort to lovingly kick our tenacious three-year-old toddler out of our bed, we agreed to let her sleep in her 1-year-old brother’s room. Now, I have to give you a little background.
My daughter has NEVER liked to sleep by herself. She will take mommy, daddy, or the dog; anything she can feel breathing as a partner. She will boss you around as she tries to find her perfect comfy spot for the night. She tells you which way to lay, what arm to prop up her head, no pillows, no covers, and the list goes on and on. When she finally drifts off to sleep and we tiptoe out of her room, we are guaranteed about four solid hours before we hear her two little feet finding their way to our bed. If we lock the door, she will knock and patiently camp out in front of her our room until sunrise. I have even caught her sleeping in the dog bed in the hallway hoping we open the door.
Now Baby G is her polar opposite. He doesn’t want anyone to cuddle with him. He likes his own space and his own room. He is very regimented and sleeps through the night. So, our first thought when she asked to sleep in his room was no. We feared messing up his routine. But she begged. “Mommy, please let me sleep in BaBa’s room. I won’t wake him up. I promise. Just let me try it.” So the compromise was, she had to bring in her toddler mattress and sleep beside his crib. She also absolutely, positively cannot wake him up if she has to go potty in the middle of the night. If he wakes up, the deal is off and she goes back to her room by herself.
I am knocking on a wooden Elmo table so hard right now, because after seven nights in a row, bedtime routine is easier and our bedroom is shy a toddler. So it came as no surprise when during bath time a few nights ago Morgan announced “I have decided I am moving into BaBa’s room.” I laugh and ask her what she is talking about. “I am sleeping there forever,” she says.
“Well Morgan, I think its great that you love sleeping in your brother’s room but you can’t just move in with people without asking them. You have to talk to brother about this first. She turns and looks at him and asks, “Baby G, can I move into your room, FOREVER?” And he looks her dead in her eyes and leans his head all the way to the right until it touches his shoulders and mumbles inaudibly. My training in nonverbal communication tells me, he is not 100% on board with this request, but his smile says he will think about it.
We are quickly approaching two weeks of this arrangement and despite trying to figure out how to make this out of place toddler mattress in the middle of the floor not look so out of place, it seems to work. After baths, snacks and prayer we give Baby G a cup of milk and Morgan lies on her mattress tucks herself in, rolls over and is out like a light within five minutes. We put him in his crib say goodnight and love you and walk out until about 7 a.m. the next morning.
Tonight, after she rolls over she says, “Mommy BaBa really loves me and is so happy I am in his room.” And I ask how she knows, “Because at night when we are sleeping he looks at me and smiles,” she says. “He even smiles in his sleep.” For all I know, she could be right. One thing is for certain; I’m smiling too, especially in my sleep.