How come for every night of relative peace, quiet, and actual slumber, you always get two or three filled with crazed child-monsters who crowd, kick, and pee on you?
Overall, I am a big fan of the Family Bed concept. We have used it with all three kids to all of our convenience and comfort. But the bottom line is: even with all the benefits of family bed-dom, they still wake you at night with needs.
Gabe's needs are frequently potty related. The kid wakes and whimpers and thrashes around fitfully until finally he wakes himself enough to realize that he needs to pee. He is too sleepy and pitiful to walk downstairs himself to find the bathroom in the dark and usually request that you not only wake-up from your well earned slumber but that you also carry him down the stairs and all but direct his urine for him. Then you must carry him back up the stairs and tuck him in...for the 3rd time that night. Even after peeing just before bed at 10:05 pm, and waking me to pee at 1:27 am, he still peed in my bed at 7:30 this morning. (But at least now all the bedding is clean. With everything on my plate, sometimes it takes a puddle of steaming urine to push sheets up above work clothes and underwear on my laundry list.) I don't know where the little camel stores all this excessive urine, but I hope his talent pays out someday. Also in Gabe's favor: he'd the one who likes to sleep in.
Quinlan on the other hand, while she doesn't wake as often as Gabe, has great need when the time comes. You can't just stumble down the stairs once or twice and call it a night. When she needs nighttime love, it usually involves copious itching (she has crazy allergies) or even; vomit patrol! Quinny's nighttime interruptions are usually followed by a soothing bath and dates with the washing machine in the basement. And I should note, it is amazing how, even in the dark, a vomiting child will always manage to vomit right on your head. So, you always need extensive clean up as well.
Quinlan also has an inbred nighttime talent for kicking, usually directed to the crotch. While I find it merely irritating, Brian finds this unbearable and now instinctively sleeps with his hands clutched around his balls. She doesn't wake up, be she sure can wake you up in a right smart hurry with a roundabout to the family jewels, I am told.
And come 7:00 am, Quin will be awake, whispering in my ear, "Hi Mama! I's hungry!" It doesn't matter if she went to bed at 9:00 or 12:00, she will be ready to rumble at 7:00 am. It also doesn't matter if you went to bed when the kids did or stumbled in at 2 in the morning after a night of kareoke stardom. Sometimes kareoke singing rockstar mamas have to drink coffee at 7 in the morning while trying to tune out Dora the Explorer in order to allow the other two children to sleep enough that they will not spontaneously combust into crabbiness. These rockstar mamas need mochas but are on weight watchers and must settle for very black coffee with a teaspoon of sugar. It makes them awake, but more crabby and less rockstar-like.
Ribh has no true nasty habits but she is a nursling. I couldn't honestly tell you how often she nurses in the night because thankfully, one of the awesome benefits of sleeping with your baby is based on the concept of sleep cycling. This means that she and I both rise to the top (wakeful part) of our sleep cycle at the same time. She rustles about a little, I roll over and hook her up, she nurses, and I fall back asleep within minutes. This also means that she doesn't cry or fuss or wake me from a deep sleep ever, the way the big kids can. I don't lose any quality sleep during her nursing and I never wake to worry or check on her. But she sleeps pressed against me like a leech and occasional reaches out to pinch my nipple in her sleep. Lovely.
And now, while Brian is gone and I am the single mama, the ultimate problem arises. This single mama has three children, but only two sides. Peevers obviously wins the snuggle lottery since she is the nursling. I put each of the other two to sleep in their own "nests" on the floor on either side of my bed and wait to see which will weasel up into my area during the night. By 6:30 am I typically have Peevers under my armpit, another pressed against my back and the third pinned at armslength to protect Peevers from her sibling's thrashing.
So, when Quin whispers, "Mama, I's want go downstairs and watch Dora now?" I don't even fight it. Time to get up! I've got blogging to do!