I made a huge mistake when Caralyn was a baby. I let her sleep with us. At first it was because I couldn't hear her breathe even though she was 5 feet from my head. Then it was because it was easier to nurse at night with her already in bed with us. It was also easier to give her the bottle for both of us when she was in bed with us.
The bottles ended not long after Alaric was born. We did try putting her in the crib when she was a little over a year old. She got super sick a week later and was back in bed with us. Alaric has never really wanted to be in bed with us. He likes his own space and doesn't like being touched while he's sleeping, except recently he's wanted to crawl into bed with us at 6AM to sleep an extra hour or two. If Josh has left for work, I let him. It lets me sleep just a little longer in the morning.
Caralyn is four years old now. A little more than that. This past Monday we decided she was going to start sleeping in her own bed. I was a little hesitant because Josh had to work the next morning so I would be left to do all the work after we went to bed. Four years, One month, Two weeks we slept in the same bed together (she slept alone for a total of about two weeks in the 4 years 1 month and 4 weeks she had been alive...just 3 days shy of a full 2 months). I think it's been harder on me to let her sleep in her own bed than it is for her to sleep in her own bed.
The first night, she woke up twice. I was in her room a total of maybe 3 minutes between those two times. She woke up again around 6:30AM I believe and I brought her into my room so she would go back to sleep with me. Josh wasn't home so it wasn't a big deal. I wasn't ready to be up yet.
The rest of the nights she's slept until at least 7:00AM, many times later than that. Last night was a different story. She woke up enough to warrant me getting out of bed three times. A fourth was needed because Alaric woke her up at 6:00AM when he cried because I wouldn't let him in bed with me and put him back in his bed. She went right to sleep and is still sleeping at almost 7:20AM.
Alaric...now that is another thing we changed. He has been able to climb out of his crib for a month or two now. He's never been hurt or anything, but after we came home from Michigan we decided we wanted to make a change. That change didn't happen too fast, but it finally happened. Again, on Monday night, we changed his crib into a toddler bed. I was only hesitant because I had seen so many horror stories about the transition from crib to big kid bed. I lucked out. From day one he has slept all night in his bed, never getting out for anything. He still does his morning "crawl out of bed and go to mommy's room" ritual, but if it's too early, I put him back into his own bed. If it's not (or if Josh is already gone for work), he stays in bed with me and cuddles, sometimes falling back to sleep.
I feel so blessed by this. Caralyn isn't happy that she's sleeping alone, but she's got her flashlight, Pinkie (the scentsy pig she renamed) and Fluffy (a pink stuffed bunny) in bed with her, so she's good. She also has her Tinkerbell nightlight and the Dora projection nightlight on for her. She does very well and even puts herself back to sleep if the bad dream isn't too bad. Alaric is just amazing. He sleeps with his Mickey Mouse nightlight (I need to get a new nightlight for him...I don't like this one), his giant Mickey Mouse stuffed animal (Thank you Uncle Kacee!), his Scentsy Monkey and his owl. He doesn't get out of bed until morning. He doesn't fight us at bedtime (neither does Caralyn). I have some pretty darn good kids.
The only other thing I have to add is...it feels really weird being in a queen size bed with just one other person, who doesn't take up all the room in the world. Though, I haven't gotten away from my edge of the bed and he has decided to take the middle of the bed to be closer to me. I'm not sure how I'm going to do with his next underway. I haven't slept alone since I was pregnant with Caralyn, even then Sparrow usually slept with me. Sparrow has taken to sleeping in one of the kids' rooms at night or on the couch...he's not too interested in sleeping with me anymore. I think I may need to get myself a giant stuffed animal before he leaves.