the great battle of emerson.

every night, it’s the same.

and it always ends… the same.

the very same.

I’ve been writing about this conundrum for so long now, I wouldn’t even be sure where to begin to catch you up to speed. Most of you guys who have been reading for a while, regarding my sad situation, completely know where I’m headed with this. I could compile a library from the installments of the volumes that document these sleepless nights that Jamin and myself constantly fall prey to. If you were to search for Emerson on this site, you would find countless, exhausting references, from me. Whining about the lack of sleep she’s caused us, from the beginning of her existence, until now.

It began with colic, and its ended with stubborn. Prodded by habitual…the vicious cycle is never ending.

We received a small break when she was born, and only because Malone took over for a short time out of necessity. But this was only a break from Emerson. The nights were still sleepless. She was like a vulture in the brush, waiting for the tigers to clear away so she could move in for her portion of the meal.

So every night, begins the very same. It starts with bedtime. For the most part, once the boys are down, they’re out for the count. But not Emerson. She’s got a plan. And after about two hours of sleep, it works every. Single. Time.

Some nights, if we’re lucky, we make it to our bed. But most nights, she’s up, screaming like a wailing knife wielding rabid banshee by 10 p.m.

Why? Because crying gets you everything. Duh.

And if we make it to the holimost blessed sacrament that is my undisturbed {and UNSHARED} bed, she scares the living behoozus out of us. Right as I drift off into never land where I get to design my dream home without a budget, and Jamin suddenly has hair like fabio… its interrupted by a small, ever so prominent noise.

Said noise is always one of the following: heavy, gasping, woe-is-me (passive aggressive) breathing, or the more direct approach with subtle, spastic mini whines. Her slightly frightening silhouette of an outline, can easily be mistaken as gremlin and/or Chucky. I suffer massive heart failure for the twentieth time, as I realize that the only shape standing oh so creepily above me in the bed is in fact, none other than, my daughter… kind of makes the task of sleeping blissfully undisturbed … impossible.

All that she lacks is a foam knife from our dress up box. {and maybe a hockey mask that would totally up the creep-o factor} to complete her freaky masquerade. It doesn’t matter how many times it happens, there’s something over the top about someone standing over you in your sleep. Especially if it’s a little person.

It’s not that we don’t want to be sweet, and share our bed, let them sleep in the middle while they’re little, and all those other horribly fabulous guilt-inducing phrases. And It’s not that we don’t let her. A lot. Or that we haven’t tried EVERYTHING. But enough is enough, and every. single. night of feeling like I’ve been pummeled by a roller coaster while wrestling an alligator in a mud pit, on spin cycle at a monster truck rally…on roids…also known as my three year old who prefers to sleep sideways with her feet in my face, demonstrating her complete and total lack of personal space awareness and or sleep control… and I’m done.

But we mostly blame ourselves. Because the nights when she wins {every night but one out of sixty} we are exhausted. And we just want to go to bed. So we cave. And pull her in. And all go to bed. Kind of. Because I’m learning to sleep through the alligator wrestling spin cycle mode that is her R.E.M. Even if it is complemented by a foot to the nose.

The other night, Jamin decided he’d had enough, and that it was time to fight that battle. He proclaimed it dutifully as he was up to cut her off en route to our haven. Up and down, back and forth, around and about…the struggle ensued. I think I drifted off to sleep after I gave him a brief pep talk, while I let him take one for the team. And at last, the quiet set in. And everyone was happy. And we were all blissfully asleep and aloof… and I woke up quite satisfied, completely impressed with my husband and his mad hardcore sticktuitive parenting skillz. So proud that Emmy went back to sleep in her own bed…

…and then I laid eyes on this picturesque moment.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

So tell me guys, do your little ones sleep in the bed with you?

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Responses to the great battle of emerson.

  1. JoAnna says:

    The only time they’ve slept with us is when they’ve been sick or during a thunderstorm. Sometimes I’ll let them sleep with me if I go to bed early as a treat, and their dad carries them to bed when he comes to bed. We started early with all three when we brought them home, to sleep in their own space. When they graduated to a toddler bed, we used the Nanny 911 (or was it Supernanny?) method: tuck them in, say goodnight, and leave the room. When the little bugger gets up, send them back to bed, say goodnight, and leave. When she gets up again, don’t say a word, and put her in bed. Repeat, despite the crying-begging-weeping-wailing-gnashing of teeth- times 76 times (yes, I counted with the first one) until she falls asleep. The next night, it will only be 47 times, and by the end of the week, only about 3 times. It really works :)

  2. Alissa says:

    I feel your pain. We went through this with our daughter for a long time. Eventually though you just have to suck it up and do the heartbreaking thing. I watched a ton of Super Nanny to bolster my resolve and then got my husband on board. It took us almost a week to break the bad habit, but now I can’t imagine why we didn’t just do it sooner. It’s so much better for all of us to be well rested and not resentful when we wake up. Good luck.

  3. Ashley says:

    OMG I totally feel for you! We are in the same predicament. We have a 2 year old and a 4 month old. Our 2 year old never liked the crib (mostly our fault…all I did with him as a newborn was cuddle with him, NEVER put him down, let him sleep in bed with us everynight, etc). We tried to get him into the crib before our girl, Ella, was born…but he just never took to it. He actually climbed out of his crib at 1 1/2 years old during a HUGE tantrum and ran to our room, kicked our door open and screamed at us (talk about being scared…reminded me exactly of your Emerson).

    When Ella was born in Decemeber, I swore I would do the exact opposite with her. I put her in the crib from day 1. She sleeps in it for naps and for the first part of the night .But then midnight rolls around, I’m exhausted and the last thing I feel like doing to listen to her cry. So, I bring her into bed with me. Therefore, our sleeping situation is this: my husband and my son sleep in my king bed (we don’t even try putting him anywhere else), Ella in her crib until she wakes up, and me in my 2 year old’s twin bed (next to Ella’s crib).

    It is crazy. Every morning my husband and I both wake up saying we are going to do something about it, but we never do. Like the pic you posted, it’s just the easiest and cutest thing. We can’t possibly deny our kids of wanting to cuddle and be loved…and all I keep telling myself is that we only have a few more years left of this and then they’re not going to want to be anywhere near us…tear. So hang in there, you got a friend in me!

    • Renee says:

      My friend kept saying “They’ll only want to do this for so long…” well, her daughter is 7 now and shows no signs of ever leaving their room.

  4. Amy N. says:

    While I’m ashamed to admit it, my two-year-old has always slept with my husband and I. We’ve never even tried to make him sleep in his own bed! For us, it’s because we both work full-time jobs during the day, and he spends a lot of time at the daycare, so we feel like him sleeping with us is part of our bonding time. And, really, the only reason I say that I’m “ashamed” to admit that he sleeps with us is because everyone says that he shouldn’t! If you took that out of the equation, I would be shouting from the rooftops that I love to snuggle, cuddle and give my little boy kisses all night long! Having said that, we only have one child, and I know that when you have multiple children, you have to draw the line somewhere! I feel for you, and I hope you guys can work something out for the sake of a good night’s sleep!

  5. Necole says:

    When my two older girls have bad dreams they come to my side of the bed to try and sleep with us. I get up and lay with them for a a little bit then go back to bed. My oldest daughter between the ages of 2-3 would not sleep. My husband and I would take turns sleeping on her floor. It was horrible. Thank goodness she grew out of it. I think it had to do with having a new little sister.

  6. Hahahaha guys… Working on this one but SO glad to know we’re not alone! Love hearing what all of you have to say! 😉

  7. Pam says:

    No way! I work with kids for a living so I “get ” kids. I also need my sleep. If you can endure 3-5 nights of awful, you can endure the rest of your life in blissful, uninterrupted, spouse-snuggling (only) sleep. Take her back to her bed…every…single….time. No matter how tired you are. No matter how much you want to give in “just this once.” She will scream, she will cry, you will feel like a mean mom (you aren’t!), and then she will get it. She will realize that you mean what you say and that in the end, it is better to sleep than to go through all of the drama and get nothing out of it.

    As a speech pathologist, I would also recommend making the trauma complete by pulling the plug. Kids really shouldn’t have a pacifier past a year of age and it can lead to speech problems and dental problems. Sounds like the underlying issue underneath everything is her ability to self soothe. Help pick out a lovey (special blanket, stuffed animal) and learn to comfort herself back to sleep. I highly recommend the book “Healthy Sleep Habit, Happy Children” by Marc Weissbluth.

    Good luck and stay strong! The battle of the will only gets more difficult at age 16, so start now.

    • Sara says:

      Do you “have” kids?

    • Amber says:

      I have read this book and swear by it. I recommend it to everyone! I have 3 kids, none of them have EVER slept in my bed. They all sleep through the night and have done since about 3 months old. This book is completely amazing, but you have to follow it, do exactly what it says! You need your own space. You need your own bed. Good luck!

  8. Emily says:

    Not only does my little one (4 years old) sleep with us (he joins us about halfway through the night, usually) – he also rubs his hands all over my tummy and back all night. And nurses in the morning. He’s the “baby” of four and I guess at some point I will put it to a stop but for now, I really do just look at my 7, 11 and 13-year-olds and remember when they were little. :-)

    • Jessica says:

      nurses? You mean you are still breast feeding him at age 4? My mother did that with my sister till she was 4 and finally had to put a stop to it! lol

  9. Tania says:

    hey maybe I can help…or maybe you have tried this. When we moved into our new house our, son who is 2 was coming into our bedroom every night and crawling into bed. So we made him a “special bed” which is just laying our extra throw pillows on the floor. We said, if you get scared you can only come to mommy and daddy’s room and go in your “special bed”. But….we were still having problems of him going to bed (he keeps saying he scared, he’s hungry, he’s bored) and I was talking to my mom last night and she said just take a bunch a pillows put them in his sister’s room (she is 1) make him a bed and see what he does…never heard a peep all night, he told me it’s not scary in Julia’s room hehe.

  10. Tania says:

    So the lady hat does my pedicures…she has a 10yr old son still climbing in bed with her…yikes!

  11. Andi says:

    We dealt with this too. We eventually told our son that if he was too “scared” to be in his own bed that was fine, but he couldn’t come into our room. We told him that he could sleep on the floor by our door if he wanted to. The great thing with that was that we had wood floors and he was cold, but we were mean and said he couldn’t have a blanket or a pillow…unless he went back to his bed. I think we only had to deal with that about 2 or 3 times and he figured it out that we weren’t going to cave. I think the key is to be diligent, don’t cave and have some consequences…..good and bad. Hope that helps. Good luck!

  12. Holly says:

    that is a big HELL NO!!! they do not come in my bedroom, my bathroom or MY BED!!! That space is for my husband and myself and they have taken over everything else including our relationship (my husband and I) and I be damned if they take over my personal space in my bed. You see, because my kids like to sleep horizontal in a vertical world too! My son is a NASTY sleeper!!! So nope I will not have that! I remember when Cameron use to come in our room because he had peed the bed or something and just stand there a 1/2 inch from my nose and just stare at me…until I woke up in a frightened panic!! Little turd..

    But that is just me =)

    Good luck on your battle, that picture is absolutely amazing!

  13. Alexandra says:

    There’s some good advice here already, and mostly I guess you just have to stick with your plan for a few days while they learn. BUt before that, you need to figure out what YOU (and your hubby) really want. Do you want to snuggle with Emerson? Do you want bed “bonding time”? Because if you’re split on the issue, then it’ll be much harder to stick to your guns.
    With my kids, I did 2 things. First, at bedtime or when they woke up I’d sit close by (NOT in bed with them – like outside their bedroom door) and talk to them periodically as they cried or called for me “I’m right here, it’s time to go to sleep”. After a while (a shorter while each night) they’d fall asleep in their own bed. Second, if they were just being strong-willed, I made sure there was a negative consequence the following day – a longer nap, no trip to the park, or something like that. It wasn’t too bad… they learn really quickly.
    Blessings to you, and may you have the courage and stick-to-it-iveness to teach your daughter where to sleep.

  14. Debbie says:

    I feel your pain but…that was soooo funny. My daughter is now 26 and with child sleeping issues of her own. I’m not sure it was as dramatic as yours but we had issues with her as well.(it probably was that dramatic… I just don’t remember it) and that is the good part. She was never allowed to sleep in our bed but I did just give in and would let her sleep on a pallet…not a wood pallet… :) but a blanket pallet beside my bed. Right or wrong…I still don’t know…but we survived. Good luck in your quest for a good nights sleep…..but them come “grandchildren”…. Deb

  15. erica says:

    sweet picture:)
    our first slept with us til she was 4 – #2, until he was 3ish…and now they both share a room (bunk beds) – they’re 7 and 5.
    #3 – she’s 21 mos old and yep – in our bed:) you know, it’s a short time in their lives…and really, if im sleeping – real sleep – i don’t care where they sleep!

  16. Jennifer says:

    Bless your Heart!! I know all about it; our 4 year old still crawls into bed with us once a night; we usually put him back in his bed and that’s the end of it, but sometimes he stays because we are just too tired. But seeing as though number 3 is on the way, and we always have our littles sleep with us for the first few months…and we just have a queen size, we are going to have to do something! (We never had a problem with our oldest; he loves his space).
    I heard from someone that they used a sticker chart and significant award; every night their daughter stayed in her own bed she was given a sticker in the morning. I’ve thought about doing that for Jack before number 3 arrives.
    All in all, it doesn’t last long and I DO enjoy snuggling with my kiddos! And I’ll sleep…someday…(I hope). :-)

  17. Annie Rantz says:

    Yes! Yes! I am living this life too! My four year old daughter and my 1 year old son both join me and my husband in our bed every night. Max, my son, sleeps beside me, pushing me to the very edge of the bed (one morning I even found that my pillow was resting on my nightstand, and my head was on the pillow on the nightstand!). He soothes himself by RUBBING MY HAIR! All night! If he is having a rough night, he pulls my hair! All night! Lucy, my daughter, sleeps beside my husband, pushing him to the edge of the bed on his side, and her little trick is to stick her toes into the elastic band of his underwear. She warms her toes on his bare butt!!!! Gosh, am I really admitting this!?!?!?
    Our pediatrician said that we can break this habit by consistently putting the kids back in their own beds, never giving in, and that this “training” should take 6 months. And that we should NEVER reward them for staying in their own bed, because the incentive of a reward ruins the “training.” This solution sounds like 6 months of torture that might be even WORSE than the hair pulling and the toes-in-booty.
    Oy vey.

  18. Annie B says:

    I know, I know the grass isn’t always greener but……

    I wish our daughter would sleep with us (at least once in awhile). From the moment she was born she has not stopped moving and is NOT even close to a cuddler. As sick as this sounds- I get a little enjoyment when she’s under the weather. At least then she’ll let me rock her to sleep.

    I wish you luck!

  19. Roni says:

    Oh. My. Goodness. That is the sweetest picture! There’s nothing like a little girl snuggling with her daddy! I’m not sure you were really looking for advice, but just telling a funny story! I will say, though, that there are a thousand different ways to parent and I’ve always been a huge believer in doing whatever works for your family at a given time. Your sweeties seem absolutely precious! Funny post!!!

  20. Christy says:

    My son never slept a night in his crib, he was either in the bassinet (in my rm) or in my bed. Something I thought I would never do as a parent, but caved in b/c I needed sleep more than I wanted to battle w/my babytoddler. He slept in my bed until 4. I made a deal with him that he could choose his bed “an up & a down bed” (aka: bunk beds), he picked it out & while it was not easy at first I am happy to say at 7 1/2 he has been in his own bed since. Except for w/e mornings he likes to cuddle w/mom if dad is out of bed early.

  21. Erin says:

    Oh, I feel for you! We’ve co-slept with all 3 of our kiddos until they turn about 3. Our 2 year old sounds so much like Emerson. I’m on the receiving end of all the kicks too. With our boys (8 and 5 now) we slowly moved them to their own beds by having the pallet on the floor next to our bed. There were MANY nights with our now 5 yo that my husband slept with his arm hanging off the bed to old our son’s hand. Good luck :)

  22. Jenn says:

    Oh, I feel your pain!!! We have been there and done that. A. Lot. Good thing she’s so cute!

  23. Amy Flatt says:

    My eight-year-old has done this for about two years (since his little sister was born). It doesn’t bother me. He’s very still and takes up very little space and I like having him there. He even knows to stay on my side so he won’t bother Daddy. Daddy, however, always knows and doesn’t like it. (He even starting bringing his blanket and pillow and would just bed down on the floor beside us. Bless him.) SO we kept asking why he was coming into our room. Finally, we decide he’s a light sleeper and that when the air conditioning unit turns on and off right outside his window (and the return is right outside his door), it scares him awake. (I even found him watching a movie on a portable DVD player in the bed in the middle of the night–wide awake.)

    Solution? Bought a noisemaker/sound machine. He hasn’t been back. Simple as that. After two years! He still loves to sleep with us and we let him sleep in our (queen-size) bed with ONE of us on Friday nights to reward him for all the other nights of sleep. :)

    Sidebar: A friend had the same problem with her oldest when her second child was born. They finally started locking their master bedroom door at night to keep him out (seems harsh, huh?). They would often find him the next morning asleep right outside their door. :(

  24. Janice says:

    When my daughter was born we lived in a one bedroom apartment. So for 18 months until we built our home, she slept in our room, in our bed. It was “easier” that way. When she was 19 months old and only after being in a new house for 1 week, she got a baby brother. Her world was a little rocked! New house, new brother, and oh yeah, new BED! She did not sleep through the night until she was 4 years old and I was just a month away from delivering baby #3.
    It wasn’t that I didn’t want to snuggle with her, but that’s the thing, you want to “WANT” to snuggle. Not be forced to b/c your little one won’t sleep in their own bed.
    It took LOTS of sleepless night, sitting by her bed, sitting by the door, sitting down the hallway…. until she finally got it.
    Recently she has gone back to wanting to get out of bed and sleep on our floor. She is 6 and their is a new baby in the house that sleeps in our room. She sees her brothers sharing a room and wants to shard hers.

    Just keep trying…I know it is hard and all you want to do is give in to get some rest. You will have the people who say, “but they grow up so fast, keep them in the bed with you” or the ones who say “GET THEM OUT”. There can be a good and healthy balance when needed for them to “sleepover” with you and your man. I hope it all clicks and comes quickly for you!

  25. Karen says:

    Oh man- reading this is like reading about our past year with our almost 4 year old. Best sleeper ever until we moved him into a big boy bed at 2 and a half then it was living HELL. WE actually put the crib back up (we had done the Supernanny thing 8 nights in a row with no improvement and were so exhausted at that point). He ran to his crib and hugged it! He just wanted the security of it. So at 3, we made a big deal of preparing him that he was soon going to get a big boy bed (again)- he was excited. We put him in it and for a couple of weeks it was fab! Then we went back to living HELL. He doesn’t just get out a million times- he is like in demon possessed mode- he scares us with his intensity. We have gone to a therapist, read every sleep book there is- tried everything – rewarding, not saying anything, disciplining- nothing has worked. He is a very light sleeper and I think he never really learned to self sooth as he had a pacifier until he was 2 and a half. Anyway- we just made a call back to the therapist again because he has not slept more than a few hours in a row since last week and we are worn out and his behavior during the day is off the hook because he’s so tired. Just know you are not alone. I’m not sure I’ve ever prayed or asked God for wisdom over one single issue for this long before- hoping things get better in your fam’s bedtime and ours!

  26. Yes Yes and YES!! My son (19 months) sleeps with us and I wouldn’t have it any other way!! If you have ever read Dr. Sears books and their family experience of co- sleeping it’s very empowering and explains it so well….

    I have NEVER had a night time battle…We cuddle, give kisses and read books….I wouldn’t miss his little soft snores, his dreaming giggles or his morning kisses for anything in the world! This time passes way too fast and will be gone before we know it…Enjoy!

    • APRIL says:

      Yay! Glad to see a reference to Dr. Sears! I’m a big believer in attachment parenting and bedsharing. I love snuggling with my little one and knowing his needs are being met and feels safe and secure in bed with me and daddy instead of down the hall, alone.
      But as someone else said so perfectly, there are a thousand different ways to parent a child, and you need to do what is right for YOUR family.
      Good luck!!!

    • Sara says:

      LOVE Dr. Sears.

  27. mandy snow says:

    little ones???my 9 year olds still come in on many fact, woke just then with maddie at the other end of the bed…lol…xxx

  28. Audra Lynn says:

    My son (5) never tried to sleep with us. Never cared. I can probably count on one hand the number of times he’s asked to share the bed with me, and it’s usually when his Daddy is out of town. It happens so infrequently that I usually let him. My daughter (2) was a totally different story. When we moved her into a twin bed last summer, she became a co-dependent monster. I never brought her into my bed, but we never got any sleep, either. She’d refuse to sleep in the bed and cried herself to sleep in front of the bedroom door. If she woke in the middle of the night, it would start all over. And there was no moving her, because opening the door would wake her. After months of this, I started laying down in bed with her until she went to sleep. Problem? She’s a super light sleeper and would start wailing the instant I’d try to get up. I got to where I would bring her in bed with me, so I wouldn’t end up sharing a twin bed with the little bed hog all night. We finally had to go back to letting her cry it out, because I don’t sleep well with her next to me. I think I’m paranoid about hurting her. It took months, but she finally sleeps in her bed alone at night. I still have to hang out in her room and help her out at nap time, though. Hope you guys figure it out!

  29. Hi! I’m pretty new to your site – it is just LOVELY!!

    Our youngest has really given us a run for our money in the sleep department as well…he also started out a screaming colicy mess. I FEEL ya, girl. :) I’ve found that night time interruptions stay a lot lower and less intense if we stick to a pretty early bedtime (usually no later that 7:30).

    Here’s a link to a great sleep site, too:

    she’s got such a calming and matter of fact approach, it’s inspiring. she also keeps a blog that she updates about once a week addressing real questions and sleep problems. hope better sleep finds you all soon – and that last photo is pretty darn adorable.

  30. Tara says:

    Ok so I’m not recommending this but I remember as a child going to my parent’s room every night until I was 9!!! My parent’s never tried to stop me so I kept going. Well one night I strolled on into my parent’s room to get up in the middle and what did I see…my dad’s bare butt sticking out of the covers…ewww that was enough to send me straight back to my room. I never went back, ha ha ha…they never knew that until I was older.

  31. abra says:

    this cracked me up so much, not the part about you losing sleep, but your words. i shared many paragraphs with my husband for a good laugh. but back to the question- i’m such an incredible light sleeper, i wake to a needle dropping on carpet, NO JOKE, that i can’t have our babies in bed with us. in fact with baby #2, she was in her own crib by week 3. not because i’m a mean mama who is trying to teach her wee ones to be independent, but out of necessity for my sanity, i still had to get up out of my bed ever 2-3 hours to nurse, but it was/is worth it for my sleep. our 2 year old sleeps like she is a kung-foo-fighter as well. which makes it impossible to share a bed with her, like when we stay in a hotel. which is never, because i can’t share my bed. so props to all the co-sleepers out there that love on their children even when they are sleeping, but for me–and my inability to sleep if someone is even breathing near me, won’t work. :)

    but that picture? oh my. that might be enough to continue to have her sleep with you every night, am i right? :)

  32. Michele says:

    I often wonder about our own parental need to “get some sleep”. It seems to me that in the animal world (which we are a part of, by the way) little animal families bundle together during sleep for warmth and protection until the young ones are ready to go off and start families of their own. I’m not saying that we should sleep with our kids until they are 25, but to expect our 3, 4, 5, 6 year olds to sleep every night by themselves is against our nature as animals. Our little ones have instincts (as evidenced by every one of the 30 some odd comments above) that we cannot deny. Instincts for survival. Why don’t we see this? Why do we try to control and change everything?

    Just an opinion, by the way. Your blog is just lovely!

  33. Alima says:

    Wow. I am amazed to see so many people that have children who don’t sleep well. Sometimes I feel like I am the ONLY one! It’s sort of encouraging to know that I am not the only one and that maybe I’m not a horrible parent afterall.
    My son is 18 months and sleeps in the bed with us. We tried sleeping in the crib starting around 5 months. He never slept well and after about 6 months of me constantly up all night rocking him back to sleep I couldn’t handle it anymore. I needed sleep. So we moved him to our bed. He sleeps much better there. There are nights that I sleep pretty well too and then there are the nights where I get no sleep because he lays horizontally and kicks me in the ribs all night.
    The strange thing is that he naps much better in our bed too (even though we aren’t in there). So I can’t figure out if he just likes our bed and does not like the confinement of a crib or what. We keep considering converting his crib into a full size bed and seeing how he does, but we just haven’t bought a mattress yet.
    I do agree with Michele and that is why I am not in a desperate hurry to get my son to his own bed. And it’s not just animals either. Most other cultures have a family bed and it would be unheard of for them to force a baby to sleep in a room by themselves.

  34. abigail says:

    I just came across your blog and love it. and thank you for posting this. this is the EXACT SAME THING EVERY NIGHT for us. My son is the same way and its been going on for months with no end in sight. my husband thinks we are the only ones in the world to have a child sleep in bed with us every night. good thing we aren’t alone. i want my bed back but i also treasure those moments a little head snuggles next to me because i know it wont last forever and he’ll grow up and wont want to snuggle with us. hopefully :)

  35. Angela says:

    oh. my. word. i haven’t laughed that hard in a long time! you’re funny! i’m so sorry, i was a child that did that until i was seven. seven! then my parents said enough is enough and put me in bed and refused to let me back in. i screamed for hours that first night, then never again. i had graduated fullly to my own bed. i pray for strength and courage and rest for you, and your little girl.
    such a good storyteller. had tears in my eyes on that one. :)

  36. Rachel says:

    I have 4 children, and they’ve all slept with us when they were little. I loved the closeness of having them sleep with us. They always slept well, and I never felt like I was lacking sleep. When it came time to switch them to their own bed we never really had any problems. They grow up so fast, and soon they will constantly be with their friends, so enjoy it while you can. We are having baby #5, which was a surprise. Our youngest is 7.5. This baby will sleep with us too:) Even though I am a fan of co-sleeping, you still have to do what is best for YOUR family. Good luck with whatever you do!

  37. Oh my goodness, I have SO been there. Our daughter didn’t sleep through the night until she was about 6 years old. (She’s 17 now). This sounds just awful…but we eventually had to put up two baby gates (one on top of the other to keep her from climbing over) across our door. After awhile she figured out that her bed was much more comfortable than the hard wood floor and her blankie “B” in the hallway outside of our room. There’s no right answer that suits everyone; you just have to do what works for you.

  38. Rachel A says:

    Boy oh boy do I understand where you are coming from! Our two year old wakes around 2a.m. 90% of the time, and tip toes into our room and climbs up on to our bed. She is a wiggle worm crazy lady as she sleeps as well. Part of me just loves it, and so I have yet to break the habit, but waking in the morning on interrupted sleep makes it tough for this working mama. I feel your pain of sleepless nights, most definitely.

  39. KK says:

    My Mother’s best advice to me was “Never start anything you don’t want to do for the rest of your life.” I know it’s not for everyone but it has work well for me.

    I am such a light sleeper that I had to move my son from his bassinet into the nursery crib at 2 weeks or I would never have slept. Considering that he did not sleep through the night until the age of 4, I needed to get sleep when I could!

    BTW, my sister did not take Mom’s advice to heart as much as I did. She has slept with her children since birth & still does (current ages 7 & 10). If that’s not the plan for the future, nip it in the bud while you still have a chance!

    It’s never an easy call. You do whatever it takes to maintain your sanity. Best of luck to you!

  40. Toni C. says:

    too funny… I just crawled out of my bed this morning after pulling the blankets up around my 8 year old and rubbing my hand across his sweet little forhead. He sleeps in own bed now… but sometimes, he still sneaks in because of he’s had a bad dream. BUT he used to sleep with us just about every night and we didn’t sleep well and we were tired a lot of the time… and I kinda miss it. His brothers are 23 and 21 and I know someday soon he will stop sneaking in to snuggle and the thought of it just breaks my heart. You can’t get this time back is something that you learn when you children are grown. Luckily… I got small reprieve with my surprise baby. Don’t sweat the small stuff– and enjoy the snuggle time– it’ll be a memory before you know it. 😉

  41. Kristi says:

    Any one who tells you this is easy, is lying. We have three little girls who are five and under. We have a visitor AT LEAST three times a week. The kids all sleep in the same room, so the three year old goes up first for special time with her Dad and I read 4 and 5 year old a story. Within ten minutes, small is asleep and it’s just a matter of managing medium and large. Unfortunately, that means I sit outside their room with my laptop and say, “shush” for twenty minutes. When one of them comes in, we usually let them snuggle and soothe, but when they go back to sleep, its back to bed for them. They wake up in their own beds and come rushing back in at the late, late hour of six. Joy.

  42. Courtney says:

    OH no, I feel for you. I am an awful sleeper and have been for as long as I remember. So it is my life’s mission to have my children have healthy sleep habits and for us that means being comfy in their own beds/cribs. Its tough at times – a.) I need to fight the urge to snuggle b.) their protests!! But we stand firm and honestly just return them to bed. In the beginning, it was consistent – back & forth. But if you do not give in, I honestly believe in 48 hours you will see a change. In 72, you should be over the battle. The only thing is you may not get a lot of sleep in those first 48 hours and a lot of exercise. But if you want to break the habit, consistency b/w my husband & I worked the best for us. We just did not breakdown. Now, our son sometimes comes in if he has had a bad dream and I take him back to his own bed (make sure the night light is on) and rub his back until he drifts back to sleep. He knows mama isn’t staying (so there are no shocks when he wakes up) and mama doesn’t want him to be scared (so that’s why I stay until he drifts off). This is just works for us. I absolutely love the book ‘healthy sleep habits happy child’.

    Good luck! The photo is adorable.

  43. vicki j says:

    I’m convinced that some children just need more support and comfort than others during the night for whatever reasons. It’s natural during such a vulenerable time to want to be in the company of other people. My hubby and I kept saying, “Surely at age 3 Jackson will be sleeping in his own bed…” Then it was 4, 5 then 6… :) Finally, at age 7 he gained the confidence he needed to tackle this challenging task. Sleeps soundly in his own bed every night. White noise does help him do this. Also LOVE the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child.

  44. Jeanie Kauffman says:

    Both of my kids slept with us. My 10 year old left us about 6 months ago. I am sad now. One night she just up and went to her own bed. It was never our choice to have our kids sleep with us or not sleep with us. But now that she decided that she is getting too old to sleep with us, I am sad that it is over. I know that my kids are growing up. The other night, there was a thunderstorm, so she came back, but only for one night. Enjoy it while you can. They grow up so fast. One is now 15 and the other is 10. Soon, they will both be grown and gone……

  45. Oh.My.Gosh…you’re going through what I went through for 2 years. My son is the apple of my eye but oh man he was the WORST sleeper ever. Your article made me laugh so hard. He would (no exaggeration) wake up at least 30 times a night in a fit. Screaming and hollering cause he was STARVING. This lasted until he was about a year old. Then he started with the take 4 hours to go to sleep…do everything I can possibly think of to avoid it and annoy mom and dad routine. He wanted water, his toes kissed (yes..I said kissed), his movie on…off..changed, He even resorted to asking for hugs and kisses and cuddling. He was scared he said…but I could tell by the huge smile on his face he wasn’t scared at all. He climbed over the baby gate dozens of times a night. I had so little sleep the first year that there were times I would wake up and feed him and have zero memory of doing so the next day. Blackouts I guess. He still tries to sleep in bed with us, but we’ve been cracking down on it. He sleeps almost all the way through until about 5 and then wants to come and lay with us. It’s a rough road, but I promise you that she will learn that she has to stay in her bed eventually. Good luck!!

  46. Teri says:

    Oh, my husband has done the same thing with our 8 yr old! She will have a nightmare, need snuggling, or just need to be with us. Thankfully it is no longer every night, but we have gone through weeks of it. I just could never turn down any of my kids when they needed to be with me at night, that and anything to sleep.

    One thing we have done, is made pallets on the floor next to our bed. That works with our son and sometimes with Kathrin. It depends on what sent them to our bed.

  47. Becky says:

    I learned from my aunt and good friend to get my kids to like their own beds immediately. I did not want to repeat their struggles. My aunt’s two kids did not leave her bed until they were 12 and her husband said enough! They then slept on a couch in her room and then finally moved to their own bed. My good friend slept with her mom until she went away to college. Her dad literally slept in her room for all those years. Needless to say she was an only child. Those moments of having them tucked in next to you are priceless but you should be able to have restful sleep as well.

  48. louise says:

    NO! I love my little guy (and my big guy), but I will not let us all sleep together. If we do, it usually means they sleep great, and I don’t sleep at all. The problem is that they both like to sleep diagonally in the bed. Like your little one, mine likes to sleep with his feet propped up on my head. So, no. My husband usually goes to bed before I do and gives in to letting our son sleep with him. But when I come to bed, the little one goes back to his own bed… usually he sleeps through the whole transition. One night he did wake up enough to ask, What are you doing???? But I quietly just stepped away. Good luck!

  49. Karajeanne says:

    I agree with Michele and Ashley, sometimes I think the greatest gift I can give my children is to remember what it’s like to be a child. What it’s like to be asked to be independent when perhaps you’re not ready, to be rejected by a Mother or Father in what the parent at the time thinks is the best thing for the child. We all do what we believe is best for our children, but do we do that through the lens of an adult or a child. I haven’t been able to get to sleep (unless completely exhausted) since I was about 4yrs old, well that’s my earliest memory, perhaps it was earlier. My husband falls asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow like Pavlov’s dog. Each of our parents had completely different ” sending children to bed” styles. Whenever I’m not sure if I’m making a good decision I ask myself if we were in a primitive tribe would I be trying to achieve this particular action. I know it sounds silly but it has helped me make a lot of decisions that whose outcomes I’m very happy with. When it’s all said and done though I think we should just follow my husband’s advice ” A Father’s most important job is to keep his daughter off the pole”!

  50. I can totally relate to your sleep struggles, as we still have them to some degree with our 5 year-old daughter (I have two older boys, 10 and 12). So much of what you describe, although now she will sleep in her brother’s room (he has two twin beds), but, getting her to sleep in her own bed, alone, is a rarity! She still sleeps with us sometimes, but it’s not so bad since it isn’t the norm (anymore). But sometimes you do what you need to do in order to SURVIVE. This too will pass. That picture of your husband with Emerson is one I have seen with my hubby and daughter many-a-time. :-)

  51. Audra says:

    Oh mama, I feel your pain! My oldest son turned into a werewolf at night with superhuman hearing and smelling. We spent an hour every night rocking, singing, praying with our little angel until his little blue eyes closed. Then we would lay our chubby cherub down in his crib and his eyes would turn red and he would turn on us every.single.night!!!!! We would litterally crawl out of his room if he happened to stay asleep in tranistion cursing every creak our hardwood floors make. My husband and I co-slept with him until we found out I was pregnant with twins and realized we better transition him to his own bed…then our year long battle began! What finally worked for us was a new bed for him and we never restricted him from our bed. We made the rule he had to fall asleep in his bed and if he ended up in our bed that was fine, but if he slept in his bed until the morning then he got a treat. He is 3.5 now and sleeps great in his bed, but almost always jumps in with us in the morning around 6:30 and goes back to sleep until we get up. Thankfully the twins sleep great in their cribs, but we have 3 kiddos in our beds some nights:-) One day our kids won’t want to sleep with us anymore….until then I have become a pro with eye makeup.

  52. Melissa D says:

    We have one of these. She’s made of monkeys come nap or nighttime. We got less than 5 hrs of interrupted sleep a night for 3 years straight! (this included adding a third new baby, too…) We started giving our sweet by day, hellion by night girl a small dose (1/2 tsp) of liquid melatonin about half an hour before bedtime. And she sleeps! in her own bed! It has made all the difference. I was ready to jump off a bridge.

    it’s completely safe, btw…

  53. Kathy says:

    You know what it is? They wear you down. Down, down, down. We have four, and a king size bed. There have been six people in that bed, taking up every inch of space. I haven’t had a good night sleep in 9 yrs. I am amazed at just how small a space I need to sleep. Just a sliver, preferably on the right side. I remember the days before I was a mom when I would scoff at the foolish parent who allowed their kid in their bed…oh, the irony.

  54. StoneMaven says:

    I am a horrible mommy. The way I got my boys to sleep on their own is to have the TV on as a night light with SpongeBob at a whisper. The guilt of nighttime TV is far outweighed by the sweet, sweet full night’s sleep.

    • StoneMaven says:

      I should say that my oldest is 10 now, and capable of sleeping without the comfort of Bikini Bottom, but the 4 year old still demands it. The 7 yr old could take it or leave it.

  55. Sara says:

    Dr. Sears has some great advice. for co sleeping info and is my favorite parenting go-to guide.

  56. Dana says:

    Wow, there are a lot of comments here — seems like something a lot of us struggle with. :-) What we do is keep a stack of quilts in our room. When a child comes up, we make a little bed on the floor. It’s not as comfortable for them, but that’s the point. :-) And, my husband and I are able to sleep without a little foot hitting our nose. My youngest has been very persistent with this, but at 4 1/2 now, very rarely needs to have her little bed made up on our floor.

  57. Karen says:

    We had much the same problem (and yes three year olds standing over you at night are FREAKY). Anyway, we decided to upgrade from our queen to a Cal King bed because we needed a new bed and we wanted more room for all the elbowing and face kicking. So we were going to give our queen to our son, but being the lazy creatures that we are we didn’t want to carry it down stairs so we gave it to our three year old. Now when she gets up, which isn’t very often anymore, we take her back to her room, lay down with her since there is now room for us in her room and sneak out when she falls asleep. It is so much better. I think every 2-3 year old should have a queen size bed.

  58. Candi says:

    Yes! We struggle with all 3 of our girls who want to sleep with us! My husband and I may start off together in bed but we don’t end up that way, we usually end up apart.

    Nice to hear that we aren’t the only ones.

    • kiki b says:

      i am perusing through your site, which i must say i LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!! and came across this post…it’s 4 in the morning. up since 1-feelin’ your pain! yup, up in our little monster’s room, because we don’t allow him in ours. it’s like still havin a baby! but i should’ve seen it coming-the boy never slept well. naps even from day 1 were 20 min a couple of times a day. only good part these days is that it’s quiet “me” time to enjoy these wonderful sites and drool over your awesome work!!!!!

  59. Kelsey says:

    Oh you poor woman! I started really early with both my kids and they have always slept JUST in their bed. I don’t sleep when I have a baby snuggling up to me. The noises are sweet and all…but I can never sleep for fear I’m gonna roll on them! My method with my almost 3 year old is that I put a door knob cover on the INSIDE of his bedroom door. He can’t get the door open to come out and bug us. If he needs us he calls out but he can’t get out of his room. It has worked GREAT for about 6 months now…ever since we put him in a twin bed. I would strongly recommend that method. Its not cruel…Mommy and Daddy really need alone time now and then and if she’s in trouble (after the initial wailing and tantrums that will follow you implimenting this method of course) then she will call out to you and you will hear her. I wish you luck…and LOTS of sleep! :)

  60. Jessica says:

    I think that all parents battle this issue. We started it with our 3 year old when he was born, he had seizures and it scared me so much that I NEEDED him to sleep with me so I could watch him like a hawk. Once we had our other son he did so well sleeping in his crib, but he was up so much during the night that in order to get ANY sleep I would let him sleep in my arms in our bed. Now they both sleep inbetween my husband and I in our king size bed. I’m hoping that one day I’ll be able to stretch out and finally get a good nights sleep without cute little boys feet in my back!

  61. Karli says:

    Hi there! I only just stumbled upon your blog and I love it! But when I read this post it brought back nightmares for me! I was in your situation at one point and IT. WAS. HORRIBLE!!! I don’t know if this is still a problem at your house and I really hope, for your sake, it isn’t. I didn’t read all the other comments so maybe someone already suggested this, but a lifesaver for me was the book, “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby”, by Dr. Weisbluth. It is for children ages birth to teenagers and has the best adivce for parents dealing with many different sleeping issues with their children, including the problem you are having. Best of luck! From one sleep-deprived mother to another… this too shall pass!


    Karli Hurren