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The Family Bed: Why I’m Not a Fan

Erin Zammett Ruddy

We still have no power or heat in our house—day 8 for us—and since temperatures dropped into the 30s last night, we let the kids sleep in our bed. Now in addition to being cold, cranky and unshowered, we’re exhausted.

As decidedly un attachment parents, Nick and I never even considered having our kids (or babies) sleep in our bed. We agreed from the very beginning that we would put in the time and effort to help them learn how to sleep on their own and to be comfortable and happy and able to nod off—and nod back off—in beds made for one. Every night. I realize some of you will think this is barbaric and mean but it worked for us. Neither of our babies ever had to “cry it out,” they just eventually went longer and longer stretches until they slept through the night. They both love their beds and they are great sleepers. But when the storm of the century blows through your town, all bets are off.

The night Sandy hit and again last night, we let the kids sleep in our bed. We have a king so there’s plenty of room, or so you’d think. The kids were pumped. Nick and I were dubious. He and I are the kind of people who hit the pillow and don’t bat an eyelash until the next morning. We take great pride in our ability to sleep and credit it for making us fairly normal humans and parents. But we are not so good when the conditions are not ideal. And having two mini people tucked under your arm isn’t exactly ideal (though I’d be lying if I said the idea of being so cozy and cuddly with my kids hadn’t intrigued me). Sure, the body heat helped and I did love feeling like we were all in it together—at one point in the night, Nora held my hand—but it is not something I could handle on a regular basis. The feet in my back, the coughing, the flinging covers off. At another point in the night, Nora demanded that I take the brown, furry blanket off the bed because it looked like an animal and she didn’t like it. Alex woke me up twice to wake up Nick to tell him to stop snoring. And because we had 85 blankets on the bed, I kept checking on Nora to make sure she was still alive. Needless to say, I am a little groggy today. And if the power doesn’t make an appearance soon, we may have to camp out at my sisters’ house, where we will be on aerobeds (my other sister’s fam already claimed the real beds) but at least we’ll each have our own.

Anyway, this is so not a big deal in the grand scheme of storm damage, but I wanted to give you guys an update on how we’re handling everything out here. Clearly there are worse things in life than having to spend a night with your cute kids in your bed but I’m curious if any of you are family bed devotees. Do you have to seriously take one for the team every night or do you eventually learn to sleep through the kicking and tossing and turning? Do you ever get a good, solid night’s sleep? How do you function all day if not? Anyone else dealing with post-Sandy parenting issues? Share them here.