In the world of parenting, it can be quite a controversial issue whether to let our children sleep in our bed with us or not. I'm not talking about co-sleeping with a newborn. I'm talking about the 2 1/2 year old or the 5 year old that crawls into bed with us.
I think, ideally, we envision that our kids will sleep in their own beds. If we "train" them as babies to sleep independently, they will continue to sleep independently as they grow up. As many parents know, that is not often the case.
Josh started coming back in our bed when he moved from his crib into a "regular" bed. It took about a month for him to realize that he could come out of the bed on his own, but once he figured it out, he started coming down into our bed in the middle of the night. Almost 2 years later, he still comes into our bed most nights.
It was a controversial issue with us because we were still stuck on the ideality. But my reality was that I loved that Josh came into our bed. I loved that he snuggled with me. Some mornings, I would wake up and his leg would be draped over my leg. Sometimes, he would be holding my hand. I loved that he wanted to make that physical contact to be close to me. And ultimately, I know it won't last forever, so I want to embrace it. We even upgraded from a queen bed to a king bed so we could accommodate him!
Lately, Aves has been hard to get to bed. She cries and cries. More recently, she starts crying as soon as we start the bedtime routine! She just does not want to go to bed. She is still in a crib, so once she's in it, she's stuck. A few weeks ago, she started saying, "Aves sleep Mommy's bed". It broke my heart. Kids just seem to know that they need that closeness to their parents.
Since we've come back from vacation, Aves has been impossible to get to bed. So last night, partially because I caved to her needs and partially because I caved to my needs, I let Aves sleep in our bed. She didn't even need anyone there when she fell asleep. I think just the idea that we would be there later was good enough for her.
Shortly after midnight, Josh came crying downstairs (probably nightmare-induced?). When he crawled into bed, I told him that Aves was there too and he said, "Hi Aves", seeming genuinely happy that she was there, too. The 4 of us slept in that one bed last night for the first time and for me, it was glorious.