To bed or not to bed, that is the question

Sleepy time at Disney World.


The day that I got home from combat training, Miss C wrapped her arms and legs around me like a baby monkey, and it took some major convincing (aka bribery) to get her to let go. Even then, everything I did was to be done in her presence.

This relaxed the following day, of course, and by the time the weekend was over, things were pretty much back to ordinary. 

Except for bedtime.

Before I went to combat training, Miss C use to sneak into our bedroom in the middle of the night a few times a week. She always managed to do so quietly, not waking us up. So in the mornings, Martin or I would wake up with Miss C’s foot in our face, or find her snuggled in deep underneath the blankets in between us. If there was still time enough to sleep, we simply carried her back into her bed. If we didn’t find out until it was time to wake up, we talked to her about it and spent extra time at bedtime explaining that she was to remain in her room ALL night and sleep in her own big girl bed, which is decorated with Dora and Disney princesses to fit her tastes. This seemed to work, because she wouldn’t do it again for about a week.

However, since I’ve returned, Miss C’s been getting up at night to come into bed with Martin and me. And this time, it’s perfectly timed. Martin and I have been staying up late to watch television or read in bed, and sure enough, at about 11:45 p.m., we hear ‘thump, thump, thump’, then our doorknob turns, the door swings open and a dazed, but determined little girl rushes into our bed without even pausing to step on the little railing on its side. It’s both funny and annoying. When we are awake, we take her back to bed, usually with a drink of water. But, this past week, no matter how often we get up and take her back to bed, we still wake up in the mornings with our daughter snoozing contently next to us.

So, last night, since Martin had to work late, I just tucked her into bed with me. She was in heaven. We snuggled under the blankets, watching an animal-rescue show, before both of us dozed off. It was the picture of contentment.

Until Martin came home. You would have thought I had shaved her head the way he carried on about me letting Miss C fall asleep in our bed, how I was giving up control of the situation and how she would think she could get her way all the time. Miss C, in the midst of it all, pretended to be dead asleep, although her eyelids twitching and her restraining a smile indicted otherwise.

To his defense, Martin had several good points as to why it was a problem to let Miss C bunk with us. And having read the books and having heard the horror stories, I normally agree with him.

I just held my hands up in defeat.

“Look,” I said, “I figured I’d rather have everyone in a good mood, so I let her sleep in our bed with me. Repeat, I let her. I don’t see a problem with it, she’ll grow out of this phase and besides, you know she’s going to miss me while I’m deployed, so let her spend this time with me and get the comfort she seeks now.”

To this, Martin grew silent.

After all, I had played the ‘deployment’ card, and who can argue against the ‘deployment’ card?

He got ready for bed in a huff, and flopped in next to us. As grumpy as he was, though, I must say that in the morning, Miss C was a bright and happy angel. Which means, we started our day in a good mood. As you’ve probably read in previous blogs, mornings are not her best, but you wouldn’t have known that this morning. She was all smiles. And so was I. Miss C’s not going to be small like this, and want to snuggle with us, forever.

The whole family-bed debate between Martin and me probably wouldn’t be an issue if I wasn’t deploying. I would agree that Miss C needs to sleep in her own bed during the night, and to respect our privacy. But, since I will be gone for so long, I don’t want to deny Miss C the opportunity of being able to run to our room and find both Martin and me in there. In my mind, this is a great source of comfort and reassurance for a child – not a power struggle. Hopefully, Martin and I will be able to figure this one out eventually. We’ll see later this evening, I guess!