Boundary testing or loneliness?

A few days ago I woke up to find Buddy asleep in my arms in our bed. I have absolutely no recollection of waking up to him climbing into our bed, or when he got there. He was so snuggled in there completely spooned against my chest. He had his head resting on one of my arms that I had lying out in front of me. He had his favorite blanket pulled tight to his body and he was breathing heavily as if he had been there for a long time, deep asleep. Normally I would have just left him there because I assumed it was shortly before 7 AM when he wakes up, but after checking the clock I realized it was only 4 AM. I grudgingly got out of bed, and carried his limp body back upstairs to his bed.

This wasn’t the first time we found him out of bed.

A few other times we’ve found him passed out, sprawled at the top of our stairs on the landing. One time I found him on the floor in his bedroom. I know its normal toddler behavior, but that doesn’t mean I’m happy about it.

Husband and I have been getting increasingly annoyed with Buddy when we have to continue to go up the stairs again and again for hours after we actually put him to bed. Other nights he will fall asleep immediately, but suddenly wake up at 10 PM and scream and scream until we finally give in and go settle him down.

This morning Husband found Buddy asleep on our living room floor.

It sucks.

The most recent couple of nights Husband would go up to Buddy, who would be gasping and gagging from crying so hard, and bring him downstairs to cuddle with us in our bed until he stopped crying. Interestingly enough, he would stop crying the second he was snuggled up to one of us in our bed. He would settle down and just lay there, perfectly still and completely silent. He would be awake, but he would just lay there, snuggled tightly against one of us. After he was quiet for about five or ten minutes, we would take him back to bed again and the crying fest would ensue.

Tonight, his hatred of sleeping by himself in his own room really hit me. About 30 minutes before bedtime, Buddy followed me into our bedroom where I changed into my pajamas. Finally I asked him, “Are you ready for bed buddy? Are you tired?” He suddenly stopped crying and just looked up at me. He said “ya!” and ran over to our bed and pointed. I asked “You wanna go to bed?” and he answered with another “YA!”. I waved my hand mildly in his direction and laughed, saying “Ok then, go ahead.” thinking he wouldn’t know what I was saying. Instead, he climbed up into our bed and proceeded to pull back the covers, climb into my spot, and pull the covers up to his chin while snuggling into my pillow. He wiggled a little hand up from under the covers, waved, and said, “Niii-niiiiiight!”

Pff… in your dreams kid. Wrong bed. Obviously we need to step up our game with bedtime and have a little chat about staying in his own bed. I don’t personally have a problem with parents letting their kids sleep in their beds, I just think that once you let a kid sleep with you regularly, they think it’s okay to invite themselves in all the time. Some parents are okay with that, we’re not. We believe you have to make boundaries and enforce them. Something we haven’t been doing… enforcing. Or at least not as strongly as we should be doing.

So, after snapping a couple of adorable pictures, I ousted him from our bed and scooted his little tush up to his own bed. (I know… totally not helping the situation by taking pictures of a boy who loves posing for the camera. But he was just so cute!!)

This daily jailbreak of his got me to thinking. I recently had a conversation with my Mom about my sleeping habits as a kid. I only barely remembered this until we talked about it, and now it all came back to me. I was terrified of the dark, and the scary things that came with the dark. Even at a very young age I was incredibly scared of the dark. I would sneak out of my bed and go someplace where someone else was. At the foot of my parents bed. Next to my Mom on the floor. Outside of my sisters bedroom. At the front door on the floor with our Golden Retriever. I hated to sleep alone. I still do to this day.

I wonder if he’s afraid of something. I wonder if there’s a reason he doesn’t like his sleeping arrangements or if he’s just being a typical toddler. I wonder if he is just realizing how much he loved cuddling. I wonder if he is just testing out his recently discovered rebellious side. I wonder if he hates to be alone just as much as me.

Whether it’s one or all of the above, there’s one thing I know for sure. From what we’ve seen so far, the apple most definitely doesn’t fall far from the tree. Which, in this case, means we’re going to need to invest in out of reach locks for our doors to prevent middle-of-the-night outdoor adventures…

While I think it’s safe to assume it’s company he wants and not an adventure, we’re better safe than sorry.



2 thoughts on “Boundary testing or loneliness?

  1. Haha! As soon as I started reading this I thought about that picture Mom has of you asleep in care bear pajamas, with the sleeping bag, using Geneva for a pillow in front of the front door. Glad you remembered it, or that she did.

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