The baby of a family really does get a touch of the royal treatment. It’s not their fault, or their mom or dad’s fault, I don’t think. It’s just the way it is. By the last child, you know how fast the wonder years go, and you don’t want to spoil any moment of it with unnecessary fussiness on your part.
Case in point: By age 3, both of our girls were sleeping in their own beds in their room pretty much full time. We kicked The Muse out of our bed at about nine months because she slept with her arms straight out to her sides. Dolittle was a pretty solid sleeper from the beginning, and it was a smooth transition from our bed to her crib to her toddler bed. As I recall, they would sometimes come and climb into bed with us at the crack of dawn and snooze for a bit, but other than that, they were fully independent sleepers by 3.
BoyWonder has gotten a bit more bang for his baby buck in the sleep department. He usually comes in and climbs into our bed to snuggle with me in the middle of the night. And either because I’m too tired to bother, or because I know it won’t last forever, or because he really is the spoiled youngest, I don’t fight it.
And up until the past couple of weeks, I’d snuggle him to sleep at bedtime, too. How could I resist? He’s just so darned affectionate. After our two storybooks – no more, no less – he bear hugs me, snuggles in, strokes my arm and says things like, “I LOVE you, Mama. You’re SO SWEET, Mama. You’re SO BEAUTIFUL, Mama.”
Seriously, what girl in her right mind would give that up?
He also has a little arsenal of phrases he must know are sweet things to say, but he doesn’t always use them at the right time. Sometimes he’ll come up and squeeze me and say, “I MISSED you, Mama!” even though we’ve been together all day. And the other night at bedtime he was doing his doting little monologue and threw in, “I’m so PROUD of you, Mama.”
So. Stinking. Sweet.
But he’s starting to grow out of it a bit, or at least out of needing us to lay with him to go to sleep, which is kind of nice. I enjoy the time with him, though. With five kids running around here most days, we don’t get as much uninterrupted one-on-one time as I’d like.
And the other night, he didn’t come into our room until 6:00 am. He was so proud of himself for sleeping all night in his own bed. So I imagine the midnight bed swapping will be fading, too, before we know it.
It’s funny to look back and think of all the wondering and worrying I’ve done about babies and sleep over the years. With time and patience and a little gentle prodding, they all sleep eventually, on their own, in their own beds. And the longer they want to snuggle with you, the better.
That’s my philosophy, and I’m sticking to it. 🙂