When my second (and final) child started sleeping through the night, I thought it would be smooth sailing, as far as sleeping goes, until my kids reached the age where my husband and I would have to worry about them sneaking out at night.
Miles in his baby bed. Allie in her big-girl bed. Mommy and Daddy in our bed. Spanky Mae, our pug, in her dog bed, which is right outside our bedroom door.
This worked swimmingly for a few months. Until the first morning that we found her—our Pieface, just a heap of messy curls and Hello Kitty pajamas and Blahlees (that’s what she named her two blankets)—in a ball, asleep on the floor outside our bedroom.
We thought it was cute the first night it happened. That was about nine months ago. Now she sleeps there every single night. She wants to sleep by Mommy and Daddy, she tells us. So, we let her get as close to us as possible without actually being in our bed (though we do let her do that from time to time). We certainly don’t want to make a habit of a preschooler in our bed every night.
Instead, we agreed to a pallet, uh, floor bed, hobbled together out of a Dora mini pull-out couch, extra blankets and a pillow. My husband and I are so tired by the end of the night, we just figure it’s one less battle to fight if we let her catch her Z’s wherever she wants.
But every morning as we leave the bedroom, leaping over her and crossing our fingers we don’t A) fall and crush her or B) jump too far and take a nasty spill down our stairs, Allie’s floor bed is less and less cute.
It’s also not safe. In the months that she’s slept on the floor, our walls have been introduced to crayons and Chapstick decorations, right about at the eye-level of someone who is, say, laying on the floor, trying perfect her capital B’s.
And here’s the deal. Eventually, Miles is going to outgrow his crib. He’s already asking about his “big boy bed.” And when that time comes, he’s going to quickly realize he can get in and out of his bed. Which will likely lead to two children in the hallway. And more wall art and mischief. Unless we intervene.
My plan to get us out of this unfortunate state of affairs is, of course, a Pinterest project. Soon, Allie and I are going to redecorate her room and turn it into a big-girl room. I’m going to sell it to her as a teenager room. She is four, going on 14, after all. I might even have a couple of my teenage neighbors help us paint it.
I’m hoping this will keep her in her own bed at night through her teenage years, when I’ll reminisce about the days when my biggest concern was crayon wall drawings from Allie’s floor bed.
Any Mamas out there have tips from the trenches on helping shift away from alternate sleeping arrangements?
Melanie Medina is a Senior Communications Specialist at Texas Health Resources.