It’s Friday night and I am already in bed, listening to my daughter breathe rhythmically next to me. She’s never been a good sleeper. We gave up on the cot long ago, except as an extension to our bed, because at bedtime, she went into a panic whenever we would lower her onto her mattress. She preferred to be right up close to me, her fingers curled around my shirt collar–her way of keeping me there just for her.
Before she arrived, I never thought I’d be sitting here, watching an infant (now toddler) sleep night after night for over a year. But she was so persistent, so determined. Any attempt at sleep training failed, and honestly, can I fault her? We’re asking her to go against her instincts, to cooperate, and to abandon her persistence. I suspect these traits–so irksome now (or are they?)–will serve her well one day. Once we stopped trying to change her and simply worked on accepting things as they were, I stopped minding the arrangement. It may be unusual and it has taken some sacrifice, but it works for us.
If there’s a lesson in there, it is this: what works for you and your family may surprise you. Embrace what feels right, whatever it happens to be, and forget everyone else.