‘I love cwtching up in bed with my boy but I know it can’t go on’ M
Y poor husband feels like he has become a lodger in his own home.
It’s because when we turn the TV off and say “goodnight” we have to go our separate ways – him to the top floor of our threestorey house and me to the master bedroom on the middle floor.
It’s not that I’ve finally snapped over his snoring or that we’re having marital problems of any kind. It’s because our little boy, who’s almost six, absolutely point-blank refuses to sleep in his own bed.
It’s not just a recent thing. This has been going on for years on and off – more on though, if I’m honest.
I only feel brave enough to write about it because Stacey Solomon admitted this week that she’s sad she has stopped sharing her bed with her two sons after nine years of co-sleeping.
She says she would “do it forever”, but as she values her sleep and her relationship she’s had an extra special Lego-style bunk bed built for her boys to entice them to sleep in their own room.
It seems to have done the trick so far, with Stacey saying the boys are actually eager to go to bed. But nonetheless, the transition has been bitter sweet.
I can totally relate to this. While I love cwtching up with my boy, seeing his cherubic face on the pillow next to mine and being able to comfort him immediately if he wakes in the night, I also know that for Pete’s sake and mine, it can’t go on forever.
It all started when we moved into our house two years ago. As a mega stroppy threenager Luke made bedtimes an interminable hell as we chased him round and round his room trying to coax him into his bed.
If we got him in we had a battle to get him to lie down. If he lay down, he would lie awake and then get straight back up. I seriously felt close to a nervous breakdown because bedtime literally took two to three hours every night.
We had no evening together as a couple anyway, so in the midst of yet another bedtime meltdown one night I asked him if he’d go to sleep in mummy and daddy’s bed out of sheer desperation. He said he would and, apart from the odd occasion, he’s been there ever since.
It wasn’t much of an issue at first. We have a king-size bed so there was room for all three of us.
But now Luke’s much bigger and Pete’s getting pushed out. He faces the stark choice of either spending the night on the edge of the bed with his head on the bedside cabinet or upstairs in Luke’s bed.
It’s not like I haven’t tried to get him into his own bed.
At first we sold on the toddler bed for a proper single divan. Our thinking was the thought of a proper “big boy bed” would appeal. It was pretty much a failure and we soon ended up back at square one.
We booked a holiday cottage this summer where he could have his own room, thinking it would get him out of the habit of sleeping with mum and dad. But when we woke up in the morning he was curled up on the end of our bed like a cat.
And although I haven’t got the funds to get a custom-made bed like Stacey, I did spend a fair amount buying a small double bed for Luke’s room and getting him new Minecraft bedding to try to entice him to sleep there. My thinking with the larger bed was that I’d sleep alongside him until he got used to it.
He was in there for about a week and then we all ended up back where we started.
Just like Stacey knows parents will judge her harshly for her admission, I know the same applies to me too.
I’ve come across parents in the past who say they “make” their children sleep in their own beds and “never” allow them in mum and dad’s bed “because once you start, you never get rid of them and it’s not good”.
That’s all very well and good if you have children who do as you say or put up a minor protest. But I wonder how they’d react if they were also faced with a two to three-hour nightly battle for weeks at a time. I’m sure they’d cave in too.
We’re now going to decorate Luke’s room in yet another bid to tempt him into his own bed. Who knows, we may be third-time lucky. If not, we’ll shortly be purchasing a super king bed.