Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thankful Thursday - An Important Milestone

Even though I am (was) a working mom, attachment parenting has always been important to me, at least since I've been a parent.  When my son was born I breastfed (until 19-20 months), co-slept, and wore him in a homemade wrap.  I found this worked really well for us and, looking back, would say this was by far the easiest thing to do if it weren't for pressure to do otherwise - you know, co-sleeping isn't safe and shouldn't you put that baby down?


I'm now so grateful for our time together - it appears as if I'll only have had that experience once in my life and I'll never regret those choices.

I do, however, lament the fact that because our daughter came to us from foster care at 10 months old I really didn't get the opportunity to do as many attachment-parenting things with her as I would have liked.  I didn't get to breastfeed.  She was larger and I had a 12 month old at the time so I didn't wear her much.  I didn't get to co-sleep.

One of the things we do around our house is let our son sleep in bed with us on certain nights.  Initially it was every other day and now we're working on every 3rd night.  It's a fun tradition in our home and means a lot to him - and me.  He is older than our fosters have been and has always been a night owl so allowing him to sleep in our bed hasn't been a problem with the fosters - they are in bed before he goes to bed and so far have had no idea that he's been sleeping in our bed on the 3rd nights.

We have a going rule in our home that the children have to stay in bed until we come to get them.  We have alarms on the doors to help us know if someone is getting up.  This is to help protect our children from any unsuspected abuse and to help us know if our children are up walking around the house while we're asleep - we had one who was known to do that getting into all sorts of trouble, including that which led to his removal.  So, it's always been the rule that they stay in bed until we come to get them (unless they have to go to the bathroom).

Ms. Summer has always grown up with this rule and having not shared a room with her brother has been completely oblivious to any other option.  This has made me sad a bit - now that she's adopted I've been looking forward to the day where she crawls in bed with us or has her own 3rd night so that she can share the family bed too sometimes.  However - it's difficult to teach her that its ok to come get us at night without teaching that to her sister(s) who share a room with her and so I've always wondered how that would work, if it ever did.

Then came Saturday morning - 6:50 am.  I woke up to the door flying open in our room and our precious little girl waltzing in.  She wasn't ready to wake up - just came to get me.  I pulled her into bed with me, pointed out her pillow, and let her "try" to go to sleep.  It didn't really work to get much sleep and eventually I turned on some cartoons for us to watch together for a few minutes before getting up to get ready for the day and wake up all the other kiddos.

Last night little princess came in at 3:45am - this time it was completely dark outside. I was proud of her to make it all the way from her room to my bedroom in the dark.  That must have taken some bravery.  When she opened the door though I couldn't help but smile - it's come to the point where our little girl knows she can come get me, even when it's pitch black in the house, and I'll be there for her.

I know this is something most parents cringe about - having to deal with their kids coming in during the night. Frankly it was something I struggled with too before we came up with our every other night/every 3rd night concept with Logan.  It's rough to manage that and I agree that at some point we don't want our children to be sleeping with us nightly.  But for now I'm not taking it for granted - I'm thankful for this development in our child's life and grateful that we get to be her parents - cosleeping at all.

Now we just have to work on the actual sleeping part. ;)

1 comment:

lu said...

I still let my little girl (almost 5) have a afternoon nap on weekends with me and both kiddies join us every morning for cuddles before we get up, they know they can't come in before 8 which allows 1/2hr of cuddles before the day starts! Such a lovely start to the day!!!