Last week in my confessional, someone accused me of thinking I knew everything about parenting. The statement made me laugh out loud, because never have I once claimed to know anything, never mind everything, about parenting. I’m always doing the wrong things and making mental notes about what to address with my children in their therapy sessions. The last thing I would ever claim to be is a parenting expert.
Case in point: My bed. I joke about the nightly game of musical beds we all play, but it’s really not that funny. My aching back, husband and I are way over this unintentional family bed I’ve built.
How did we get here? A brief look back…
When Lily was a newborn, I felt so guilty and about not being able to breastfeed her that I forced her to sleep on my chest just to enforce some amount of closeness. I was convinced that otherwise, we would never bond. (Thanks, breast feeding fanatics! Job well done!) The first few years of her life were hell. She screamed in her crib for hours and hours and could only go to sleep if someone was there with her. She grew out of it eventually and for a few glorious years slept in her own room. It was a happy time. And then we moved into this house. Her room is on the third floor, apart from all of the other bedrooms. It’s an amazing room; a little girls dream. Well, any little girl other than mine. She’s totally and completely terrified to be up there alone. We’ve gotten her nightlights galore, pillow pets to put her head on and music to listen to. Nothing works and she insists on sleeping on the couch in our room. I’m at a complete loss.
Ben was our champion sleeper. We learned from Lily what not to do and this kid slept in his crib from 3 months on. A couple of songs, a quick pat on the back and that what it. It was glorious. And then, when he was two, he had a tonsillectomy that kicked his little ass. The recovery was brutal, so he slept in our room for a few weeks. A few weeks turned to a few months and then we moved. I can count on two hands the number of times that he’s slept in his own room. He’s actually had the balls to refer to me as his roommate.
Evan will sleep in his own room, but only if I’m there when he falls asleep and the minute he wakes up he runs– literally runs– to find me.
It’s bad. It’s really, really bad.
So, I’m turning to you, fellow “experts” in parenting: What the hell do I do?
Have I done irreparable damage? I really hate to hear them cry, but is that the only answer now? I’ve tried every other thing I can think of and I don’t have a fucking clue what to do next. And I would never pretend otherwise.
So, please, help! I’m listening…