Yes, I admit it, I am guilty. I allow my children to sleep in bed with me. I have given up trying to get them to their own bed to such a degree that last week I bought a 3 meters wide bed. Basically my bedroom is now a bed, with no space for much more.
I started with my first child on the right track. He was gently trained to sleep by himself not once, but twice. We trained him first when he was 10 months due to the upcoming arrival of Child N. 2. And, when we moved to Hong Kong, after a week of jetlag, he was trained for the second time at age 16 months.
Where did it all go wrong then? I like to believe that it is all the fault of a former neighbour. Both my children are very light sleepers. A fly will wake them up. But the younger one, Gabi, is not only a bad sleeper but quite a stuborn guy with a voice that will put the Three Tenors to shame. When we moved to the flat where we live now, two years ago, he was just under one year old and struggling to sleep the whole night long. He would wake up often in the middle of the night screaming with no apparent reason. Nothing could comfort him. Sleeping bag boys
Around 15 days after moving in, I found a note in my mailbox. ‘Dear Neighbour, your baby’s screams at night are giving me daily headaches, and disrupting my sleep and the sleep of my two primary school children. I am very sorry to inform you that I have reported this to the Building Management Company so that they seek action.‘
Oh my gosh!!!! Reported to the Management Company??? Are they going to kick us out???
I was fuming. I wanted to go upstairs and hit my neighbour on the head with a broom. I took me a while to calm down and gather my thoughts. Then I wrote a note back to my neighbour. ‘Dear Neighbour, I am very sorry for the nuisance. Given that we both have bedrooms on opposite sides of the flat, maybe you can tell me what side of the flat you sleep in and I will move my baby’s room to the other side.’
New day, new note from my neighbour. ‘Dear Neighbour, you child screaming is so loud that it can be even heard in the storage room outside the flat!‘
After that, I just thought my fate was to wait patiently for the Management Company to ask me to move out on the basis of Undue Nuisance. At night time, as soon as I heard Gabi, I would jump up, get my baby and start walking around the house with him in my arms in a permanent ‘shhh shhh shhh’. After doing that for one hour in the middle of the night I would just be exhausted and will let myself fall asleep on my bed with by baby in my arms.
After two years, he is still in my bed. Obviously, when his older brother learned that the ban was lifted for his brother, he quickly claimed his little space in my bed as well…
They are now three and four years old and growing bigger and bigger, so I thought it was time to take action. Finding a bigger bed was always going to be easier than sleep training my two little devils.
And my neighbour moved out four months after her complaint, out of desperation, in case you are wondering…