Childrearing

I Co-Sleep With My Almost 10-Year-Old Once A Week

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little girl sleeping with hairless catMost people I know dread Sunday evenings because Monday is the start of a long week of work. I actually know people who CRY Sunday nights because they hate their jobs so much. I, however, absolutely adore Sunday evenings. I look forward to them as much as I look forward to  – well, I can’t compare it to anything really since Sunday evenings are my absolute favorite time ever. Why? That’s the ONE night I’m “allowed” to sleep with my daughter.

Yes, I say, “allowed” because my fiancé thinks, for some totally odd reason that couples should only sleep together, and not with their children. I was a single mother for five years and so for five years (more than 1500 nights) in a row, I slept with my daughter in the same bed. In those days, she slept in my bed. Now, on Sunday nights, I have to give up the marital bed and sleep in my daughter’s bed, with her somewhat scratchy pillows, while my fiancé gets the good bed with the nice sheets. But it’s so worth it – the trade off of the sheets to be able to spoon my daughter.

My daughter is turning 10  and I don’t see us giving up our Sunday night sleepovers anytime soon. We both COUNT down the days until Sunday nights.

Recently, a Canadian magazine I write for, Maclean’s, had a cover story called “Battle of the Bed: It’s not just babies anymore – now older children, even teens are crowding the family bed. Inside an alarming new trend.” Really? This is news? The article mentioned a lot of kids between the age of six and eight who sleep in the marital bed, but not one source actually admitted they sleep with their teens, because I really don’t think this is a “trend.” The article did mirror some of the same thoughts I have on sleeping with my almost 10-year-old, like quality bonding time.

How could you bond while you’re asleep? For us, it’s more of a physical bonding, like we’ll hold hands all night, or we’ll sleep back-to-back so one of our body parts are always touching, or we’ll wrap our legs around each other. But before the falling asleep, holding hands, spooning, or sleeping back-to-back, there’s the talking and secret sharing. In the dark, my daughter seems more open to admitting her feelings, worries and troubles. In the dark, I give her advice and tell her not to worry. We make up fun stories (Or I do, which she loves to hear, like how I once was a mermaid.)

My fiancé thinks it’s weird because we not only still want to sleep together, but we will also sleep together naked. We are not nudists. But what is so weird or strange about sleeping with my own daughter naked? I do not find this inappropriate at all.

Last week, my daughter asked if we could sleep outside in a tent that I had bought my son. I compromised and said I’ll sleep in the tent IF we put the tent on the bed. And it was possibly one of the most fun nights of my life. Not only can I say I took her “camping” – hey we did sleep in a tent – but it was like our very own secret club. I’d say our best memories together have been when we’ve slept in the same bed.

There is nothing better – even with my daughter’s morning breath – than waking up beside her and cuddling. So, do I care that my daughter and I still sleep together? Nope. I don’t think she’s going to be a 34-year-old who wants to sleep with her mommy. However, one of my grown cousins still has “adult” sleepovers with her mother when she feels the need for some maternal love and I think it’s wonderful.

So, for the near future, we will still be sleeping together Sunday nights (If my fiancé would let me, I’d up it to three nights a week, but, hey, his feelings – sigh – need to be taken into consideration too.) And if she ever calls me, even when she’s 20 or 40, you can bet your nice sheets that I’ll be crawling into bed with her.

(photo: well.written.or.badly.written)