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I’m an Accidental Co-Sleeper

Image source: S. Bielanko Private
Image source: S. Bielanko Private

I guess I can blame the air conditioner. Or maybe I should thank it, actually. When my marriage fell apart a year and a half ago, I did what most people do to survive and found myself the first little place to live that I could afford. It wasn’t a big joint either, just two bedrooms, but I took it anyway.

Yes, I had three kids including a baby.

Yes, my older two were 5 and 3 and had always had their very own bedrooms up until now.

And yes, I am a grown man who has always enjoyed sleeping like an adult, which basically means I never had any desire to have a toddler’s foot slam into my forehead in the middle of the night.

But I figured we could make it work somehow. I’d give my older two the small bedroom with their bunk beds and let my baby, Charlie sleep in his crib in my room.

Of course, nothing ever goes as I plan it, people.

As it turned out, the bunk bed room in this old house of mine couldn’t handle an air conditioner. And the ancient windows were all a mess, either painted and nailed shut or too low for me to trust a screen in them with my adventurous kids. It was the height of summer when we moved in and the room ended up being an Easy Bake oven. No one even lasted even an hour sleeping in there.

That first summer evening I was tired from schlepping boxes and unpacking stuff. I figured, what the heck, let the kids sleep in my room with the AC for a night or two.

Fast forward over a year later, and nothing has changed. Nothing whatsoever.

The temporary co-sleeping set-up took firm hold. The kids loved it. And so it began, my venture into serious co-sleeping when it was the last thing I ever imagined doing.

Kids are tiny con men and women who know how to sniff out a newly single dad’s weaknesses swiftly. A few nights after our little co-sleeping thing kicked off I ordered Violet and Henry back into the bunk beds. I didn’t have any specific gripe with them being in my bed (it’s a pretty big one) but something in my guts was telling me that I was opening a can of worms if I let them remain.

They weren’t having it. They cried and turned on the drama jets even after I set up the bunk bed room with fans and all. They promised me promises of always behaving if they could sleep in my bed.

We will go to sleep whenever you tell us!” they sobbed.

We won’t ever make any noise or wake Charlie up!”

All lies, of course.

Still, I’ve been realizing that this whole co-sleeping thing won’t last forever. Heck, it probably won’t be long at all now before Violet starts wanting to be as far AWAY from me as she possibly can get. Then Henry will copy her and I’ll suddenly wake up one day in the room, just me and Charlie.

Then what?

Well, I know what will happen. I’ll be a little sad, man.

And in the throes of all the blues and heartache and confusion that divorce brings on, my kids ended up crawling up onto my big old bed and reminding me at the end of every damn day that I had a reason to keep on keeping on, you know?

With every tiny foot that kicks me in the night, with every blanket theft and every pillow swipe, even with all the dang puke I have had to deal with in the middle of the long, viral winter, I have been a lucky man and I know it.

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Article Posted 4 years Ago

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