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The Pumpkin Confirms What We Thought

We try to use positive reinforcement in our parenting toolbox, especially for things we want the Pumpkin to do but don't want to force for whatever reason. When she sleeps through the night in her own bed by herself, as she did last night, we always praise her for it.

This morning after the Pumpkin woke up, I was in her room with her and we had the following conversation (as best as I can recall), which was very enlightening:

Pumpkin: I did a good job sleeping! I slept in my bed all night. But I lost my daddy [he lies with her until she falls asleep and then comes back into our room]. He went in Mommy and Daddy's room. And Mommy is in Mommy and Daddy's room.
caramama: Daddy went back into Mommy and Daddy's room to sleep in his own bed, right? Like you sleep in your bed?
Pumpkin: Yeah. Daddy sleeps in his bed and Mommy sleeps in his bed [she still confuses her male/female pronouns]. And then I come in to sleep in Mommy and Daddy's bed, too! And then we all sleep in your bed!

So, it seems that she wants to be sleeping with everyone else. She didn't mention the Pookie, but he still sleeps in there with us, as does the dog and often the cat. When she wakes up in the middle of the night, she feels like she "lost" or can't find her Daddy, so she comes to find him and the rest of the family in Mommy and Daddy's bed. It only logically follows that she should then sleep with us in there too.

I just can't argue with it. Someday, but not when she clearly is just missing us and doesn't want to be sleeping alone. We'll continue with the positive reinforcement for now, but we aren't going to push her out of the family bed.


Cloud said…
Right on.

I think you're doing the right thing by listening to what Pumpkin needs. Its hard, and you may never really know how much of a difference it makes to her healthy emotional development- but I think its worth it.
I'm Not Skippy said…
I disagree completely, she's two and doesn't know what she needs. You are the parent you decide what she needs. I think you should move everyone, except you and your husband, out of your bed.

I understand you don't like that she "lost" her daddy. However, learning that mommy and daddy aren't always right there, but do come back, is an important development milestone. Giving in to her request will just solidify her fear that when daddy is gone he's "lost." She needs to know that it's OK to fall asleep with or without one of you and when she's awake she can see you outside of the bed.

Giving in will cause more harm than good.
Karen said…
Too bad those stuffed animals with the beating heart don't work for kids like they do for new puppies.
caramama said…
@I'm Not Skippy - My husband and I are comfortable with having the "family bed" and all the animals and kids in it with us. It does not always make for ideal sleep, but we generally do fine. In fact, it has lead to better sleep than many other ways we've tried. I know that it doesn't work for every family, but it does for ours at this point. I don't mean this to come out snarky, but as the parents, we have determined what our daughter needs, which is to have the option to come to bed with us.

She definitely understands that when we leave her, we will come back. We leave her by herself to do other things (like put the baby down for a nap) and then come back, and she handles it perfectly fine. I don't agree that what we are doing is causing more harm than good.

You and I have different parenting styles, and that's okay too. Our kids seem to have different needs, and different things work for different people.
Anonymous said…
I think that sleep is definitely one of the areas where everyone has to do what is best for their family. Before we had LG, I imagined that I would never let him sleep with us. But after he was born, I learned that he really enjoyed snuggling and we all got more sleep if we let him (of course in the safest way possible for him). He is 2.75 and he still sleeps with us, but I see it coming to an end in the not too distant future. The end is coming of his own accord not ours. If we are blessed with another child, I can't even begin to guess how it will go-maybe he or she will be fiercely independent and sleep better on their own...we will watch and wait and play it by ear.
I'm Not Skippy said…
It is my sincere hope that it doesn't cause the problems with your family that it did with my sister's.
Shellie said…
I didn't push anyone out until they took up enough room to push me out.
- Dana said…
With your daughter going to school now, make sure you're screening her for head lice! We learned the hard way. My daughter got it and she comes in to our bed some mornings to snuggle before it's time to get everyone up. I was blessed with the lice too. Gross! Thankfully my husband was fine because he's practically bald. Just beware! Hours and hours later, we are finally all cleaned up.
-goofydaddy said…
I'm with I'm Not Skippy on this one. I've read so many of your posts that talk about how you are exhausted because pumpkin comes into bed and fusses or kicks or cries or wants you to read a book, etc., but then you guys are okay with it. That just confuses me.

It seems like at one point, you didn't want a family bed. But since pumpkin seems to sleep better in your bed, you've decided to just do the easy thing and let it slide.

I think the family bed is alright, if it works for everyone. It's the inconsistency and letting the child choose that gets me. It's setting a mighty big precedent if you tell your child that they can't do something, then eventually let them win out. Children look to their parents for guidance in just about everything, and when they are put in charge, it just totally confuses them.

what I'm Not Skippy said - she's two and doesn't know what she needs. it is a constant battle, and it's tough the whole way, but everyone will be sane in the end.

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