My 5-year-old — my very last baby — wants to sleep with his three siblings and father in their shared room, and I am despondent.
Like, okay. I get it. I don’t tell him stories like his papa does; instead, I play him kids’ meditation stories and songs on YouTube to force him to sleep because it’s past 10 p.m. Surely this is not an unreasonable request! The others have at least an hour of ridiculous conversations before they eventually drop off to sleep and yes, yes, it’s cozy and FOMO and my husband really is the more fun parent as well as functions as a portable heater so there’s that, too — but come on!
I have been moving him in the middle of the night back with me, but then he wakes up in the morning furious. Like, muttering “I hate Mama” on repeat furious. (I mean, it’s hilariously cute and my feelings aren’t hurt or anything but also, maybe they would be if I were ever in touch with them?)
Don’t suggest letting my husband back.
A few months ago, my husband asked when he would be allowed back into the bedroom (not for sex — we have that — but for sleep) and I told him never.
First of all, our 10-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son would never allow him to do so (and the 12-year-old may also agree with their decision). But most importantly, the king-sized bed isn’t big enough for me, my 5-year-old, and a grown man.
Everyone knows that sleeping with a small child means that they take up 97% of the square footage with their sprawling, rolling bodies and fifty-leven of their stuffies and you’re relegated to trying not to careen over the edge of a very large mattress you paid good money for and yet your loafish tiny human hogs all the real estate.
There’s no room for you, Husband. No room for your too-large, lumbering body that makes the bed too warm and the mattress dip — and for what reason?!? — or your snoring or early sleeping and waking!
I want my stinky, snuggly baby who sleep talks and thrashes about and clocks me in the face with his baby fists and chubby feet!
It’s not because I’m selfish.
Okay, okay. It’s not just because I’m selfish.
I do want my youngest to bond with his older siblings and have shared memories of bizarre bedtime stories and banter. That’s why I let him fall asleep with them!
However, he’s still five and needs more sleep than the rest of them, who are older by several years. They wake up waaaayyyyy earlier and are noisy (we homeschool) and often need to use that room for online classes — and, well, who wants to deal with a chronically sleep-deprived 5-year-old?
That’s right. No one.
My 5-year-old insists that he can still sleep in with his siblings (which, to be fair, is also true) but he definitely sleeps longer when he’s with me.
And it’s definitely not because I like to smell his sweaty baby head, kiss his mochi cheeks (which he would most definitely never allow me to do when he’s awake unless he’s extracting a blood bribe from his foolish mother — that’s me), and maybe snuggle him for about 30 seconds before his sleeping body pushes me away and rewards me with a thwack to the face.
I’m going to miss those face thwacks.
Oh — and before I forget, while the older siblings do love having the baby with them, they also don’t like sharing a bed with him for the same reasons I love it. He takes up a lot of space and apparently, my 12-year-old complained that he didn’t sleep well at all. I just murmured, “Oh, what a shame” while gloating internally.
The only solution is to have another baby.
Okay, that’s also not true.
I don’t particularly want to because I already have four kids and honestly, that just delays whatever I want to do with my life by another 2 to 3 years. I’ve only finally gotten some semblance of my life back — and then the pandemic hit — so it seems incredibly wasteful and stupid to just get knocked up on a whim because babies are so jolly and fat and cute and easy. But I never think ahead to consequences and babies turn into toddlers, and toddlers turn into snarky 5-year-olds who abandoned me in my big king-sized bed.
Don’t touch me — I’ve got something in my eyes!
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