One of my goals was to own a giant bed like the one R. Kelly rested on while pleading with someone to go “Half On A Baby.” I didn’t quite get a mattress that size, but I did buy a California King with more than enough room for me and my wife (who’s of age).
Unfortunately our bed has been taken over by illegal occupiers. Each night between the hours 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. our kids come in our bed. Sometimes they pee in it; others times they kick and cry for prime real estate next to Mama; worse yet, they’ve been known to interrupt the really-really fast act that produced them.
The co-sleeping began when our oldest was an infant (see below) and continued with each subsequent birth. It made sense. They were breastfed; when they needed to nurse Amber could just flip out the titty while staying asleep. That was six years ago. They have yet to leave.
We’ve tried the reward system. If they slept in their beds, they’d each get a sticker. After accumulating a certain amount of stickers–I can’t recall the number, this was Amber’s thing–they’d get a prize and eventually an ice cream party.
The result: We spent money on junk toys from a dollar store that wasn’t really a dollar store. Slick concept, by the way. The kids still came in our bed every night. And each morning after they would throw tantrums regarding the definition of “sleeping in your own bed the whole night.” (I can see them as politicians in the future, hopefully not of the “grab ’em by the p***y” variety.)
We’ve tried other methods to protect our territory. I used financial reasoning: “Mama and Dada spent all our money so we could have a bigger house that gives everyone their own space. So we should all sleep in our own beds.” They looked at me like, “Cool story. But do you have enough money left to buy a dog?”
Carrying them back to their rooms worked at times. The only problem with that is once I’m up and actually moving…I’m up for the rest of the day. And come, say, 7 a.m., when most people wake up, I’ve already been awake for about three hours, which means I’m grumpy and therefore short with the kids and friends who post fake news on Facebook.
Threatening to shoot worked for a night. This was after I bought water guns and conducted a surprise raid as they played in the backyard. They were overwhelmed by my accuracy, so when it came time for bed I said to my oldest, “If you come in mama and dada’s room tonight, I’m gonna shoot you with the water gun I keep next to the bed.” I felt kind of bad because he actually looked scared, though he did stay in his room until morning.
But he was back the next night. And his brothers were, too.
Our youngest, who’s three, yelled “MAMA!” from the top of the stairs sometime around 4 a.m. (our room is on the first floor). I stormed out the bed, as if someone had awakened me with a water gun shot. I ran up the stairs and said to him, “Stop all that yellin’! If you wanna come in the bed, just come on in!”
He did. And they won. They may never leave.