Co-sleeping - my history and how it shaped my future

Today I was abruptly awoken from my deep slumber by the wonderful sound of my toddler's screaming. To be fair, he apparently had a nightmare of some sort involving cars. Sigh. The joy of co-sleeping! Obviously, his baby brother also woke up, and began crying because it was way too early in the morning and such an unpleasant way to greet the new day. At that point, I was like "How in the heck did my parents co-sleep with us for 10 years???".

Yep, you read that right. My brother and I slept in the same room as our parents full-time till we were 10! And even though we each moved into our own rooms after that (on our own accord), we would still fall asleep in our parent's room from time to time, usually after we'd fallen asleep watching a movie. Heck, after we had gotten married to our respective spouses, we pulled them in with us! Haha, that's right, folks! My DH and SIL have slept in the same room as their in-laws, and both not only seem OK with it, but really enjoyed it too. You'll see why when you read on.

I know it sounds pretty crazy, especially in today's world where babies are put in separate rooms from birth onwards, but co-sleeping helped form a very important foundation in our relationship with our parents. To this day we are close to our parents, have a very open line of communication with them, and most importantly, we have high self-esteem and healthy self confidence because our parents always trusted us to make our own decisions (in this case, where we chose to sleep).

For obvious reasons, co-sleeping made us a tight-knit family. We are both close to our parents, and consider them our friends as well as paternal and maternal figures. We are definitely attached to each other, which is not something I see often with my friends' families, where every family member kind of lives their own separate lives, and they only meet each other on special occasions, and even then they dread having to attend!

The long chats in those twilight moments between wake and sleep have also helped to open the doors of communication between us. We know we can talk to our parents about anything. I can honestly say that I have never had to sneak out of the house, or lie to my parents all the time, because I know I can talk to them and can rely on them to set up an open discussion instead of an authoritarian, "because I said so" kind of patronizing approach.

Their open discussion and "family meeting" approach to parenting and making decisions also helped in my challenging teen years, where I was itching to argue about everything and was trying to establish my independence and individuality. By talking with me instead of talking at me, my parents managed appeal to the calmer, pragmatic side of me. Due to my dad's busy work schedule, family meetings were usually at night, and would extend long into the night as I fell asleep, still protesting. I appreciate that they allowed me to stay there in their room, taking up what I now know is precious time that could have been spent without arguing with a loud, obnoxious adolescent!

Being able to choose where we want to sleep was just one of the early seeds of independence that our parents sowed (yes, I know it doesn't seem like the two correlate, but they do!). Freedom of choice is a big deal in our house. We chose where we wanted to sleep when we were younger, but now freedom of choice extends to our academic decisions (both of us were encouraged to study any field we wanted, which we did...not we are both doing our post-grad studies, totally happy with what we are studying!) as well as our choice of occupation, spouses, parenting styles, financial decisions, etc etc. My parents are always there for us, almost like a safety net of sorts, but they never lord over us or breath down our necks, telling us what to do. And I appreciate the no-strings-attached freedom to make my own decision, a seed planted long ago when I was just a baby myself.

These are just some of the reasons I chose to co-sleep with my children. I'll definitely be talking more about our particular situation soon :) But for now I'll let this be a shout-out to my awesome parents - HOLLA! Y'all are awesome, and thanks for choosing to co-sleep. I know you didn't do it to be "AP" (attached parents) but that's exactly what you are, and what I am now, and for that I'm eternally grateful. Stay glam, Mom and Dad!

15 comments:

  1. We too still co-sleep...my son is 7 & dd is 3. Great thing u brought up about this matter...was thinking to move my son to other room when he turned 7, 2 days ago, but of course he doesn't want to move out from our room...hehe. Maybe we'll keep him till he's ready to sleep by himself.. :p

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  2. i dragged Izrin to sleep with my parents too! LOL :P

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  3. I went to the same school with Zarith (if she recognize me). I know you're her SIL.

    Just nak tanya about the baby wear thing. It looks very simple mcm the Indonesian selalu buat using kain batik. Where can I get it? My cousin just gave birth & she once said malas nak bawa baby stroll so I think the baby wear is a good idea.

    And I saw one black&white baby wear u pakai in Zarith's Graduation Album sangat lawa.

    :)

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  4. hahah best tido with the rents! rasa secured. lol. hehe.

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  5. me too.. co-sleeping with my parent in the same kelambu until 9yrs old :P. n i the only n lucky daughter that fully bf from my mom until 2yrs old.. coz im so degil.. dunt want FM.. my sibling only part time bf.. sian.. coz that time, all the parents "dimomokkan" FM is the best for baby.. siann..

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  6. love this entry! sometimes i feel like our co-sleeping is more for me and it is for them (the kids). i need the cuddles!

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  7. we started off sleeping in our own rooms.. then after my dotter turned 10m.o. more often than not I'll take her to bed with me.. so now we're co-sleeping. It's definitely easier for both of us. But am gonna persuade her to sleep in her own room though but i guess it't not too big a deal coz with both our room doors open we can actually see each other.. haha.

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  8. Aizura: Haha...my parents tell me they never even really planned it, but it just worked out that way, and it had its fair share of benefits like I mentioned in my entry...hopefully your babies will benefit like I did too!

    Aidah: LOL! Sama la kita semua...

    Nisa: I can definitely help you out :D Do you mind e-mailing me? My address is adriana.thani at gmail.com. You can also check out www.malaysianbabywearers.org for more info, as well as thebabywearer.com.

    Iz: Haha...mmg best kan...

    Lin: You are so lucky then! Sadly my bro and I were BF only sekejap sbb lack of support..biasa la time tu kan...takde sapa nak share experience..tapi nasib la co-sleep and CD...not bad la huh..haha...

    MommyAdam: I agree, I co-sleep mostly for my own convenience! Senang nak BF and also I tak risau pasal diorang..haha..

    Liz: Good luck with the transition when you decide to move her! We are still iffy on moving the kids to their own rooms...will definitely write about that soon (when this flu goes away...ughhh..)

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  9. And also whenever I'm in my in-laws hse...we all sleep together with my MIL incl. my hubby except for my FIL...hehe

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  10. I used to creep back to my parent's room till I was about 9yo. Then my dad said, "if you go to boarding school one day, are you going to take the night-bus to sleep in our room..?" He hee..
    My sister, who's still single..sometimes still sleeps with my mom when she comes back on weekends :)
    But my kids Amsyar & Izzo started sleeping in their own room when they were 5yo (Amsyar) and 3yo (Izzo). I was pregnant by then and no tilam2 in our room so the bed was getting small for the 4 of us! Armand now 3yo sleeps with his brothers but will usually come to our room in the middle of the night. Zuleyka still sleeps with us. We need to enjoy this while we can, right :D

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  11. Hi Adriana :)
    the more entries I read here, the more 'attached' i am to your blog
    and i've only been here like 15 minutes?
    lol

    you write soo well!
    i envy that :)
    i'm sure u speak just as brilliantly too.

    i was telling my husband how great it would be if my daughter were to turn out eloquent unlike her parents, who by the way are still struggling to improve in that area ;)

    any tips on how to shape a child to be eloquent?
    i think confidence has a lot to do with it
    but in terms of conscious efforts to help her speak fluidly and elegantly, could you share with us some pointers? if you have any?

    thanks soo much!
    am definitely coming back here.
    mind if i link ur blog to mine?

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  12. SOHO Mama: Your comment was from more than a year ago, so sorry for the delay in replying! How goes the co-sleeping with the littlest one now?

    Dina: I am so so so unbelievably flattered! Your comment made my day :D

    As for tips on how to shape a child to be eloquent..well, you're asking the wrong person - I think my mom would be better able to help you there! But from what I can recall, my parents taught their children to be avid readers, and it definitely played a role in our writing. Apart from that, we lived in various countries while growing up, and that taught us the value of effective communication. These days though, I talk for a living (I'm a lecturer) so I guess it just comes with the territory!

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