I’m not sure who’s being sleep trained…but it’s not him.

their bottoms are made out of springs



We have one of those clocks that projects the time onto the ceiling.  It makes it so I don’t have to get up on my elbow and look over my husband in the night to see the clock, which lives on his side of the bed.  I lie awake, staring at the time ticking by overhead.  It’s past 11pm and the baby usually wakes up somewhere around 11pm every day.

I listen to the sound of our fan humming, pointlessly twirling the air.  I listen to my husband snoring beside me.  I listen to the cat scratching on the furniture down the hall, out in the living room.


Finally, he wakes.  I’d hoped to be settled in to sleep myself by then.  He doesn’t want much, just to have my hand laid on his plump little body so he can settle in again knowing I’m close.

I get out of bed and move towards the crib, I think ‘at least my pillow might cool off a bit.’  The crib is in the corner of our bedroom, out of the way of the fan’s breeze – not even 4 steps from me.  The plan was for him to share a room with his big sister once he started sleeping through the night but at nearly 9 months old…he’s only done that twice.

I drape myself over the side rail and gently place my palm on his back.  He’s sticky with sweat but he instantly settles at my touch.  I wait until the soother ceases to move in his mouth before I get back into my own bed.


Some nights he sleeps through until 4 and some nights he wakes at 1am.  Again, I move out of the fan’s breeze and again I drape my body over the crib.  I’m groggy.  Tired.  My hand rests on his tummy now, he’d rolled over, and he is restless.  He flips onto his knees and sits up.  Eyes blinking at me in the darkness.

I lay him back down, say “go night night now sweetheart,” his eyes flutter and it gives me hope that he’ll sleep again soon.  My cheek rests on my forearm and I feel sweat begin to form in the middle.  The railing is jammed between my breasts and presses uncomfortably into my sternum and I try to shift quietly without the buttons on my tank top rattling against it.

I wish I could slither right over that rail, into the crib.  I’d curl my body around his and maybe we’d both get some sleep.  He’s not settling.  He’s squirming and rolling over and trying to stand up.  He’s crying out.  He’s upset.  The small of my back is crying out too and sweat is forming now at the nape of my neck.  I pick him up against the advice of the sleep training books I’ve read.

I bounce him on my hip.  I sing his bedtime song and try again to put him down.  The railing is back in it’s nook, my back is aching.  He’s not having it.  I fix him a bottle and he drinks and finally I can put him back to bed.


My husband sighs, says “Just bring him to bed.”

I arrange the horseshoe shaped pillow in the center of our bed and prop the baby up inside of it.  It keeps us from rolling on his limbs.  The queen size bed suddenly feels tiny and I lie, perched on the edge.  I let my eyes close but don’t sleep.  Not really.  I doze in and out, opening my eyes to catch glimpses of him. I make sure he’s not flipped over to catch his face in the pillow.  I make sure he’s not sat up and tried to crawl away towards the foot of the bed.  I make sure he’s comfortable, sleeping well, safe.


“Morning Mommy!” It’s his big sister up and wound tight as the sweaty curls at her ears.  She’s wanting to know what plans daddy has for her.  My husband gets up, fills her sippy with milk, a clean bottle with formula and takes the kids to watch cartoons downstairs.

Finally, I sleep.



  1. I have been there(and I am there again) For my 2 year old I never planned to co sleep, but after he refused to sleep in the bassinet or crib he slept in a co sleeper that my husband bought us. I was shocked that my husband was so into the co sleeping thing and it worked out, Aedan slept with us until he was about 9 months old, then we put his toddler bed in our room next to our bed (which was just mattresses on a low frame so we were on the same level) and then at a year and a half he started sleeping in his own room.

    Now we have a nearly 6 month old that sleeps in his crib until he wakes, then he nursed back to sleep nestled next to us in bed. He will sleep with us until he is big enough to sleep well through the night and then they boys will share a room.

    Co-sleeping is a wonderful thing, and it can be challenging to know when they are ready to sleep in their own bed and room, but the way we did it worked for us, and I hope you find what works for you.

    Also, I know the feeling of being perched on the edge of the bed. The sacrifices of a mom.

  2. that was beautifully written heather!! WOW!
    I have totally been there. So have my friends. Whereas I have a king size bed and the ability (or love) of sleeping with my babies my friend is unable to sleep with hers. She is like you – constantly checking on him, petrified of rolling onto him or some other bed sharing catastrophe.

    I have no advice, only an understanding hug an “I have been there” glace of support.

  3. Ain’t that the truth!

    You are such a great writer, Heather. You capture feelings so well. I remember nights like this and I certainly don’t miss them!

  4. I love this post. Bella and I have slept on the couch since she was born. It is just easier for me to prop up and nurse her, but we have outgrown it. Our toddler has made his way into the bed with Dad and like you, our queen size bed seems to grow smaller. I’ve thought about moving Bella’s crib into our room and trying that, but she has to feel me against her to sleep. I think she’s teething, so that makes it worse. Hubs and I have joked that we need one room dedicated to a gigantic bed so the entire family can pile in and sleep through the night. And so I won’t be perched on the edge of the bed- totally know that feeling!

  5. Beautifully written indeed.

    Okay, the first thing i will tell you is this: 9-10 mths is actually one of the hardest sleeping stages. Mobility plays a huge role in these months and your loved ones just have a hard time settling.

    That aside, it does not mean that they cannot sleep through the night. (and you too! )

    Some of it is a fine balance between day sleep– too much can shave precious hours off their night, whilst staying up for too much in the day can lead to being overtired (leading to bubs who can’t settle and rest properly).

    You *may* be doing some things that he has come to rely on (like the hand on back) and whatever, that happens. What you need to ask yourself is, can i live with it? If you can live with getting up to do it (and i think you cannot as you’ve written about the desire for them to STTN), then there is absolutely nothing wrong with it at all. If it is something you desire to change, then i can definitely offer up some suggestions via email.

    FYI- a nighttime sleep cycle is approx. every 2hrs. If you are waking up every 2hrs with your bub, then something is stirring him to wake every time he’d turn over or adjust. A question i have is- can he replug the soother on his own, or is he waking to find it and needs assistance?? If he can’t replug or is waking looking for it, then i’d throw it away. (But that’s only my opinion)

    Those are my immediate thoughts. Please be assured that nothing that is happening is your fault or his fault– and that it is okay to desire change. If you’d like to email me his routine (approx naps/lengths, Awake time etc), i can look to see if something stands out. He doesn’t have to cry (not into any cio) and you can both get some sleep.


  6. This is one of the toughest things. We had our daughter’s crib in our room but with every move, it woke us up. We moved her into the next room (the living room since we were in a one-bedroom then) and closed the door most of the way. For a few nights we let her cry and only checked on her if it went on for a long time. She began sleeping on her own very quickly and never co-slept with us. Every kid and every family is different though.

    • I’m glad it’s worked out for you! Putting the crib in the living room is a good idea…maybe that’s what we should have done but I’m afraid we’re in the thick of it now and there’s no turning back!

  7. Oh man have I been there. If I waited until my youngest slept through the night to put him in his own room, he wouldn’t have moved until he was 4. You’ve already done this once before. I say take those sleep training books with a grain of salt and always trust your mom instinct. The books don’t always get it right.

  8. A) Doesn’t Summer suck ass without air conditioning?

    B) You are an awesome writer. I love your prose, even when it’s about daily life.

    C) I could not sleep well when we brought Ro into bed with us either. Always afraid of accidentally rolling over on her or her crawling away and falling off the bed. Ain’t parenthood fun?

  9. Oh do I remember those days. None of mine ever slept through the night until after a year old. It stinks. Now I am sleep deprived, but for completely different reasons.

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