Co(erced)-sleeping: how we share a sleeping space with our two year old

Guest post by Amira Omar

At almost two years old, Aiman is still co-sleeping with us — something that just might kill me. I don’t mind that he’s in the bed with us, in fact, I love that he’s a few inches away for midnight cuddling purposes and whatnot, but what does make co-sleeping unbearable at this point is his dictatorship — over me, specifically.

We sleep in completely mismatched positions and places all over the bed, and with two adults and a rather massive toddler, this arrangement is asking for sore mornings. And sore, groggy morning are indeed served. Now this can only be explained via illustrations and accompanying descriptions.

Let’s begin.

That is how we initially arranged ourselves, which is pretty standard and protective of child-off-of-bed incidents. Then because our mattress was getting a little too flat and less supportive in said arrnagement, we figured that we might be able to sleep a little better if we all arranged ourselves like this:

Sleeping like this wasn’t so bad until about two night in, after which I could not take it anymore- explained and illustrated like so:

So I learned that I can not sleep between two people because it gets too damn hot even with the fan on or windows fully open. Personally, lying down and overheating makes me want to vomit, literally. Or technically makes my stomach want to because I am terrified of vomiting. It’s sort of weird because I can talk about vomit all day, but when it comes to literally throwing up, I beg for any other terrible loss of bodily control. Oh yes, so back to this layout. Ah, notice the worried look on thy face and clutching hands over thy belly -classic look of dinner making a comeback, if you get what I mean.

After the second night, I went back to my old spot and let the boys stay where they were.

I was happy with this mismatched and awkward positioning, albeit occasionally being tangled in someone’s huge feet (SAAD). Well let me tell you that sleeping like this lasted about 30 minutes because of this scenario:

Maybe there was too much space between us all or maybe Aiman is really used to having someone being a breath away, but he wasn’t going to tolerate this. It sent panic throughout his system and he shot up and called for me in increasing decibels, which eventually led to this:

Now I was and still am totally fine -of course- with sleeping snuggled nice and tightly with my baby-boo, but I guess the panic of the open space riled him up a little too much because it went from comfy snuggles to toddler-death-grip.

Meanwhile, Saad is completely unaware of any of this going on because I can hardly breath much less call for help. When Aiman was asleep enough I would try to slip my numb arm(s) away or gently place him next to Saad, kid would suddenly be like –you know how a cat gets all super clingy and impossible to de-cling when you try to put it in water?–he would get like that.

So I gave in and looked like this after a few nights:

Exhausted, grumpy, under-eye bags.

Saad? Sleeping like a baby.

Baby? Definitely sleeping like a baby.

Me? A little closer to this:

Obviously he’s nowhere near ready for his own bed, and now I sort of fear what it’ll be like to actually try to make that transition. For the last two nights, he’s been letting me exchange my numb arm for the non-numb one and even change positions every once in a while.

Hurray for progress!

Comments on Co(erced)-sleeping: how we share a sleeping space with our two year old

  1. Hang in there! As a baby occasionally my parents couldn’t get me to sleep unless we went on a little car ride first. Then when I was out of the crib and into a bed I HAD to have my mom lie down with me until I was OUT. Not half asleep, I had to be totally zonked out before she could leave or I’d cry. Yep. I had charming habits. So hang in there!

  2. I have 2 boys and we have co-slept/co-sleeping with both of them. My now 2 year old co-slept with us but when we had our next boy when he was 20 months there was no longer enough room in the bed for him. So we took his crib/toddler bed that he had never used…made it into a toddler bed and pushed it up against our bed. Then he could still feel me and know I was there during the night but have his own space and we could also still sleep with the new baby in between me and my husband. Now we have moved his bed away from our bed since he is used to sleeping in it. He does however still love waking up around 3 or 4 in the morning and coming and cuddling with us which is fine because my husband usually wakes up around 5 to go off to work. So plenty of room for me and him and baby to all snuggle until we wake up. I love that every morning we are all together and how close it is making our boys. My 2 year old loves saying Goodmorning to our baby whenever he wakes up. : )

  3. Suggestion, Amira: maybe try the first arrangement again? It sounds like that worked really well for you. And maybe after sleeping in different spots on the bed for awhile, it has sort of “evened out” the flatness. Or, if it’s still unacceptably flat, you could flip the mattress over or rotate it. Would either of those be an option?

    • Hey Miranda,

      Aiman and I are back to our original places, but Saad is content with where he is. Thing is, Aiman doesn’t care to snuggle with Saad if I’m there, so I don’t think it even matters where Saad is. Which is a bummer. Hah.

      If the silly old mattress doesn’t get any better, we’re *this* close to tossing the thing. Its days are numbered…

      Thanks for your suggestions! 🙂

  4. hahahahahahaahh!!!! I had to laugh at the pictures in the post!!! they were hilarious!!!

    I totally feel your pain mommy! I woke up the last two days with a kink in my neck and a kids foot up my nose.

    My son is also two and is still co sleeping with us. Although I am blessed that as soon as he knocks out I can put him in the play pen next to our bed and he can sleep there…Only until he realizes he was taken out of his sleeping spot on the bed and screams for me with open arms only so I can bring him BACK into bed with us all while the hubby is sleeping soundly and comfy on his side of the bed and i have like literally an inch to move until i fall completely off the bed. lol.

    Theyll grow out of it soon……I hope!

  5. the one silver lining i can offer is that at least since the sproglet likes to stay attached to you, he is never far enough away to, at high velocity and with much force, catapult his head into your face while careening across the bed from one parent to the other, for equal opportunity contact. several times per night. after repeated kicks to the heads of both of you while flopping around like a fish out of water, perpendicularly across your pillows for the 2ish hours it took to get to sleep in the first place, if lucky, by 11:30 or 12, regardless of how early you started “bedtime routine”.

  6. can’t. stop. laughing.

    As I read this, our 2 year old is snoozing away in our bed. We went through the same transition with his older brother, which led us first to get him a big double bed that I slept in with him, and now he just wakes up in the middle of the night and drags one of us back in with him to his cot-sized upgrade. I’m pretty sure neither of them will want to snuggle like this when they’re in high school, though, so that gives me solace. no actual sleep, but solace.

  7. This seems obvious to me So you’ve probably tried it already but no one else has mentioned it so I will. Have you tried rotating your bed 90 degrees and sleeping the way you use to (all heads towards the window)?

    • Nm, I didn’t read down far enough. Flipping the mattress was a better suggestion anyway.

      We’ve encountered many of the issues posted in the comments with my daughter but we’ve always worked through them. One method that has worked for us on the worst of worst nights when I can no longer hold my eyelids up is to have my husband take our little one out with him. She screams bloody murder but at least she doing in the arms of a loving father.

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