When parents sleep in separate bedrooms

For the last week, when my three year old daughter Ayelet has woken up in the morning, she has come into our bedroom to find that only her mother is there. Asking where Daddy is, she is told to go up to the third floor to the guest room to find me. This doesn’t faze her in the slightest; she clambers up the stairs to urge me to get up out of bed and come downstairs.

In older kids, this change in sleeping arrangements might be cause for alarm, but for Ayelet this is just another seemingly normal turn of events. And this is good, because there is no need for alarm. I haven’t been kicked out to the couch, and we’re not going through a rocky period. Believe it or not, it’s actually a sign of a good marital partnership.

The cause of our temporary separation is actually our eight month old son, Rafael, who has been sick all week. He has come down with one of the colds that is making its way though the neighborhood and just won’t seem to let go. He is in relatively good shape during the day, but at night he gets more congested and prone to sneezing and coughing fits. Up until recently we had been making some major progress on his sleeping and had even moved him into his sister’s bedroom (which also did not faze her). Now that he is sick, he still goes down without a problem on his own, but he has taken to waking up around 10:30 and unable to settle back down on his own unless we bring him into our bed.

Under normal circumstances, we would have moved him back to the guest room and let him cry it out until he settles himself on his own. But, he’s so miserable and pathetic, we just don’t have it in us to let him wail hoarsely for what feels like ages on end. If he is in bed with us, he is able to fall asleep, waking up every 45 minutes or hour or so to cough and sneeze until we settle him back down. While he sleeps this way, it’s not exactly restful for us to have him in the bed flopping around waking up so frequently.

It’s not the best timing for this. Aviva is finishing up a major RFP due next week and has been working around the clock. While I haven’t been under deadline pressure, each day is filled with small fires, and we both feel like we are on treadmill. Not a good time for being sleep deprived for days on end.

In situations like this, Aviva and I rally to take care of each other. Early in our relationship, we struggled with the fact that Aviva is a morning person and I am a night owl. Now, we play it to our advantage. Aviva’s deepest, most restful sleep is in the early part of the night, from around 10:30 to 1:30, while I get my best sleep from 2:00 to 5:00. So, when Rafael wakes up around 10:30, I take him up to the guest room. This gives Aviva some solid sleep when she most needs it, and I am able to grab some sleep off and on with our little jumping bean. When he wakes up sometime around 2:00 needing to nurse, I bring him down and we trade off. I go back upstairs to get some solid sleep at the hours when I most need it, and she takes the jumping bean.

Hopefully, this arrangement will soon be over. Aviva’s RFP is almost done, and Rafael is on the mend. The last two nights were better than the ones before. I know we have taken a major backslide in getting Rafael onto a normal sleeping schedule, but this is just part of the roller coaster of being parents. We’ll work on getting him back on track soon.

In the meantime, Aviva and I are both taking a bit of a hit sleepwise, but we are both taking care of each other. While the sleeping arrangements are far from ideal, it’s still a sign of a good partnership.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s