It is a nightly struggle in our house. It comes and it goes. Sometimes we’ll go weeks without incident, but other weeks we’ll not get a solid night’s sleep at all. We call it, in short, the “Battle In The Bedroom.”
Stay with me folks, I’m not talking about what you think. My daughter, now age 6, has nightmares. More accurately, she very rarely has a bad dream. But more often, we end up with a little girl curled up in our bed.
Around age 2 or so, it became a bit too crowded in a queen-sized bed for a toddler and two adults. It was about that time, my husband would agree to move to the guest room to leave room for a crying tot and mommy. I’d snuggle the concerned kiddo, sometimes my son, but most often my daughter, and lull them back to sleep.
As she got older, my daughter learned to play the system. In other words, I believe my soon-to-be-first-grader is has become a master manipulator.
For the past few years, knowing daddy would gladly give up his space so she could cuddle mommy, she’d occasionally use the knowledge to just spend the night with mom. As the time has passed, she frequented our room more than her own.
We’ve tried a few methods to discourage this, but when the decision comes at 3 a.m., it is more often than not that we’d be too tired to fight a determined daughter and let her crawl into the covers of the parents’ protection.
We placed a futon in our room. We thought if she was in the room that might be enough. Maybe dad would get to stay in his own bed for a night.
It was a nice idea. It didn’t work.
We tried having her stay some nights in the guest room. Just across the hall, we figured that would be somewhat comforting. Our kids’ bedrooms are and always have been a floor away from ours. After the nursery, she (just like her brother before her) was moved to the first floor. Our house is just designed that way (as was our city row home). If nightmares were the challenge of the day (or rather night), we thought allowing her to occupy the same floor might prevent her from worrying herself into a tizzy.
Again, no such luck. She still was creeping over to our room after a few hours’ sleep.
This was our ongoing saga until our return from vacation. On Saturday night, after a long 11-hour drive back from North Carolina, fueled by both exhaustion and frustration my husband decided to end the Battle, once and for all.
He spent over three hours getting my daughter to bed, in her own bed, with no adults. Coming off a week of sleeping in a king-sized bed with both parents, he’d had enough, though she’d not had nearly enough.
After a lengthy battle of the wits, she finally (after dad threw out a few bags full of toys … OK, he took them to the basement to scare her) dozed off in her own room.
She’s a stubborn one, though, and by 3:30 a.m. we had a visitor.
Since then, those two have been butting heads and the fight continues. We’ve still had a futon sleeper most of the week, but no removal of dad from the bed.
I’m not sure how this story ends … because it isn’t over. But I am all ears for accepting feedback. How do we stop the bed invader? It was a slippery slope we set up years ago, allowing her to sneak into our bed for comfort, we unknowingly started a dangerous habit.
Until we solve it … we’ll continue looking a tad tired. I’ll continue praying for peace in this house, between daughter and dad and throughout the night.
Melissa S. Treacy is the co-owner and publisher of Treacy Media Holdings, operator of TAP into Lower Providence and North Penn. She resides in Lower Providence with her son, 9, and daughter, 6, and husband and co-owner James Treacy. Melissa graduated summa cum laude from Pennsylvania State University with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She previously was employed by Montgomery Newspapers, as a reporter and then managing editor for the Spring-Ford Reporter and Valley Item. She then worked for Broad Street Publishing as an executive editor for My Community Trend, a Sunday suburban community insert to the Philadelphia Inquirer. After the Inquirer, Melissa was the Regional Editor for Montgomery County Patch.com sites, a chain of hyperlocal community news sites operated by AOL. She enjoys coaching her children's sports teams, playing with her half rot/half black lab Kaya, cooking new recipes and hanging out with her Rogers Road neighborhood. Contact her anytime at email@example.com.
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