Scenes from the Early Morning

It is 2:30 in the morning. Approximately. The truth is, I don’t know exactly what time it is, and I don’t want to know. Knowing won’t help anything. It will only stress me out, and interfere with my already limited sleep.

I wake up to find myself in two-year-old Jacob’s bed. This is not unusual – Jacob has slept through the night precisely twice in his 27 months on this planet. He is just lucky he’s cute. Since he’s still breastfeeding, and since I rouse far more easily than my husband, I often head into Jacob’s room when he wakes up. It really isn’t so bad – we bought him a double bed for just this reason. There is plenty of room for an adult and a toddler.

Actually, I take that back. In theory there’s plenty of room for an adult and a toddler. In practice, Jacob frequently takes up far more space than anyone his size should physically be able to. It’s an ability that all toddlers have, I think. They arrange themselves in just such a way that you are left with roughly one square foot of mattress to sleep on. It’s quite the trick.

Getting back to my story, though, when I wake up at 2:30am (or whatever unholy hour it actually is) I am sleeping face down on Jacob’s mattress, and he is sleeping on my back. Now, the kid weighs less than 27lbs, so he’s not big. But still, I wouldn’t sleep face down wearing a 27lb backpack, and sleeping face down with a 27lb toddler splayed across my back is no more comfortable.

I have no idea how I got into this position. My best guess is that somewhere around 2:00am, or whatever time it was 30 minutes before I woke up, I decided I was done nursing Jacob and rolled on to my front. And then Jacob, also not quite awake, went in search of the breast that disappeared and ended up on my back. It’s plausible, but there’s really no way to verify if I’m right or wrong.

Regardless of how I ended up here, I know a few things for sure:

  1. Sleeping face down is not comfortable for me.
  2. Sleeping face down with my kid on my back is even less comfortable.
  3. I am really going to feel this in the morning.
  4. I am not going to be able to shake this off like I could have 10 years ago. With each passing year, it just gets harder to shake things off.
  5. I will probably still be feeling this two mornings from now.
  6. In spite of all that, it’s not clear to me that moving is the best idea, because I really, really don’t want to wake Jacob back up.
  7. In spite of my reluctance to wake Jacob back up, I am going to have to bite the bullet, because OW.

I am happy to report that Jacob did not wake up when I moved him. I am unhappy to report that I was right – I did really feel it in the morning. And the afternoon. And the evening. And the next morning.

Like I said, Jacob is just lucky he’s cute. Because OW.

What is the oddest position you have ever woken up in, when sleeping with a toddler? And have you witnessed the amazing ability of a 2-year-old to occupy a whole king-sized mattress? How do they do that, anyway? Share your stories and theories in the comments!

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  1. Sharing a bed with a baby/toddler made me think a king size bed was a good idea. The few times Victoria climbed in as a toddler ensured a horrible remaining night of sleep. When Amelia invaded our bed in the middle of the night she never even settled. She flopped around for an hour or so and then announced, “I want to go to MY bed”

    And I was happy to obliged, even though it meant sleeping on her floor at the time. Sleeping alone on a hard floor was preferable to having elbows and knees to the head
    Carrie’s last post … Childhood inspirationMy Profile

  2. This would be a hilarious post if it was not taken directly from my world. With a nursing two-year-old who prefers to sleep on top of me. But my boy have slept through the night 4 times, which is like double yours. By mistake I am sure. I am just happy that mine is out of the waking up in full tantrum-mode, because that was much harder (and more painful) to deal with than the snuggles and hugs we have now. Yeah, it is good that they are cute. Essential for their survival really.

  3. wow – this really made me giggle. My boy is so much like yours… I guess it IS normal after all – lol
    I never had him sleep on my back, but he has rolled right over me and ended up on the floor. I was on the edge to prevent that – didn’t work.

    Yea, no matter what space he’s in he just takes over completely. He has a double bed and it’s impossible to lie next to him… he takes over our king bed too… so, we sidecared a crib onto our bed for him… he still tries to take over, but at least we have a little more space to try to toss over.

    When he did sleep in his own room we got him used to just getting up & coming to our room when he woke up and wanted milk… I got tired of getting up. He didn’t consistently STTN until he was approx. 3.
    Aida N’s last post … Saturday @ the MuseumMy Profile

  4. from memory (seems like it’s in the dim distant past now) toddlers vibrate their way to a position at 90 degrees to other sleepers then continue to vibrate and kick thru the night
    co sleeping? happy times
    pomomama’s last post … shop local- shop handmadeMy Profile

  5. I only co slept for the first year and it has been quite nights in the crib from then on (now 26 months old). However, when we travel or stay over night at my parents house, there is toddler co sleeping going on. I have to say, I was SO happy my boy was sleeping and keeping the house/hotel room quiet while nestled in bed with me, but I would still wake up with a toddler breathing in my face or sleeping on top of me,or in the crook of my neck where my hair pooled. It wouldn’t matter if I moved him away, he would still somehow find me in the bed. I always would wake with a sore shoulder (especially back when I was nursing) and my body would rapidly age and I’d have aches and pains everywhere. Ahh, the things we do so our children will sleep.

  6. Oh, gosh! That sounds just terrible … and very familiar. My worst experiences sleeping with a toddler include him karate chopping by in the throat. I woke up startled, but couldn’t scream–very disconcerting. And then (and this happens almost every night), my waking up to him pinching my nipple. Hard! Why do they do that? He also wakes my husband up by pinching his Adam’s apple. Not sure which is worse.

  7. Wow! I can’t believe you woke up to find your little guy on your back! Tai LOVES to position himself in a 90 degree angle and kick us in the head. Needless to say, he sleeps in his own bed whenever possible. He went through a period where he slept through the night for about 3 weeks in a row, and I thought we had arrived, but alas, he went back to waking up during the night after we changed the clocks for day-light savings time! Good luck with your back. Hope you feel better soon.

  8. I love this! We have a huge king size bed and yet I never have enough room. My almost 3 year old DS loves to sleep snuggled right into me. I attempt to move over and get some room (and cool off a bit…I’m 34 wks pg and HOT all night long) and somehow I end up almost falling off the bed. The most unfair part about this is that my DH lucks out and gets at least 90 percent of the bed to himself.
    Yet I wouldn’t change our situation for the world…there is nothing better than waking up next to a delicious smiling boy each morning!

  9. I think your idea about getting a double bed for the kid’s rooms is a good one. Although as you point out – it doesn’t matter because it’s still uncomfortable to sleep with a toddler regardless of the bed size. I nursed until Tegan was 15 months although I rarely slept with her once she learned to roll. I am a light sleeper and didn’t relish getting kicked and pushed in my sleep and I found we both slept a lot better if we weren’t sleeping together. I have a nice glider chair and would get up twice a night and nurse her back to sleep and go back to my own bed. There were some nights where we would sleep in the guest room together but these were rare – momma needs her sleep! I hope your back is feeling better.

  10. How the Poptart got to weigh more at a younger age than Jacob, I have no idea. I must have birthed a weed. Or perhaps a lizard (because they don’t stop growing). She is cute though, and it’s a good thing because when I woke up on my back (and I am not a back sleeper) with her sprawled across my torso and her feet in her dad’s head? Was not a happy time in my world.

    The best sleep I got in 18 months was last Friday when Darren didn’t have to work and he was on Poptart duty the night before. He took her down to the blowup bed in the living room all night. I slept in the middle of our bed. It was great.
    Nicole’s last post … What to Do with Your Amazon GiftcardsMy Profile

  11. If I want to get anything that resembles sleep then our 20 month old has to sleep in our bed. He can start the night out in his toddler bed in the room with his brother, but when he wakes up for his first nightly feeding (10:30 pm) if I’m not there he screams and wanders around the apartment until I come pick him up. We have a kind sized bed, but I swear we need something bigger. I don’t know how in 4 months we’re going to have a baby, toddler, my husband and I in that bed.
    Amy’s last post … Christmas giftsMy Profile

  12. We got us a super king size bed when we moved house. It basically occupies the whole bedroom (our rooms are small). I’m loving it.
    cartside’s last post … Decopatch VaseMy Profile

  13. Last night was BRUTAL (my 18 month old has never slept for more than five hours straight, let alone through the night), and Joe was all over the place, crawling and whining and kicking (hard! in the groin! it hurts!) in his sleep. ARGH. But then I read this and I felt better because at least I’m not alone. That’s something.
    Inder’s last post … VocabularyMy Profile

  14. O.k. so I am really glad I am not the only one who wakes up in odd positions with a toddler on me. Recently my son has reverted back to some newborn habits. He likes to sleep on me curled up. I think he does not realize that he weighs almost 30 pounds. Laying flat on your back with an almost 30 pound weight on your chest is not comfy and my back feels it in the morning. For the past two nights he wants me to be sitting up while he sleeps on my chest. So I find myself half sitting half lying on the couch with him on me.
    We need to start a club because us Mommas, our backs are never going to be the same.
    Lisa’s last post … Snuggles- Smiles- Snoozes and SkatingMy Profile

  15. I used to be a tummy sleeper before kids. It just hasn’t worked since. So sad. I miss it I really do. Then again that was back when I could sleep until 1pm without problem. Sigh. I miss that me. So well slept……. Now days I often wake up with a 2yr in our bed. No clue how he got there. Generally we can just return him to bed at some point. Although thats not the case when he’s sick. That requires one of us sleep in his bed with him, or else. Double sigh.
    Laura’s last post … Creating a Spectacular Spring Lawn!My Profile

  16. You so should have called for Jon to take a picture of Jacob sleeping on your back. Ok, maybe not. 2:30 is a bit early to be woken to take a picture but I can just imagine it would have been a good one. Yes, my daughter also squeezes me to the edge of my king size bed. It’s ridiculous. And she is getting way too big to move over!
    Melodie’s last post … Book Review- The Womanly Art of BreastfeedingMy Profile

  17. So funny. Mark or I spend half of most nights in his room on the cot either with him or just lying in the cot while he sleeps in the crib. I do find it impossible to sleep with him unless it’s him and me in the double bed but only do that for naps. Anyway – so funny.
    harriet Fancott’s last post … Top three things not to say to an adoptive parentMy Profile

  18. Haha! I feel ya. Hubby and I bedshare with our twin boys. They’re only nine months old and already they are master bed-hoggers. I can only imagine toddler-hood. My hope is that I’m teaching them snuggling is good, even with each other, and they can puppy pile amongst themselves later. There were a couple nights not too long ago that I would have preferred a baby on my back… Twin B nursed all night long, literally, and I was tired of his feet in my stomach.

    Funny post, thanks for a peek at what’s to come!

  19. On my head is probably the oddest place I’ve found a sleeping toddler 🙂
    for some reason lately though he’s been rolling over to Daddy at night once he’s completely asleep!
    Maman A Droit’s last post … Would You Befriend a BigMouthMy Profile

  20. That is hilarious! Well, not the ow factor, just the thought of waking up with a toddler on your back. My son sleeps in what I call “starfish style” so yes, his tiny body takes up the whole darn bed. My husband and I cling for dear life on the edge.
    Amber’s last post … Compost Post Hijacked by SpidersMy Profile

  21. No kidding. Ow. If I sleep even slightly wrong, I’m a warped old woman for the next few days. It’s terrible.

    I have tried multiple times to sleep with my daughter when she’s fussing in the night, but she demands to be put back in her bed alone. (I may have a weird kid.)
    Marilyn (A Lot of Loves)’s last post … Etsy Here I Come- Wednesday of Few WordsMy Profile

  22. HA!! Kieran has tried crawling on my back once, but I’m a pretty light sleeper, so as soon as he starts moving, I wake up. He is also a typical toddler – we have a Cal King bed, and Tom is generally on one edge, I’m toward the other edge, and Kieran is spread eagle in the middle – the little rascal.
    Dionna @ Code Name: Mama’s last post … Gentle Parenting Success Stories and Suggestions 9My Profile

  23. I beleive that would hurt! Ouch.
    Capital Mom’s last post … HandsMy Profile

  24. I’ve come to believe that a little kid sleeping all sprawled across and over his/her parents, and conquering all the mattress, it’s a sing of good and healthy behavior. I’ve seen the opposite.
    Francesca’s last post … Corner View anything goesMy Profile

  25. LOL! I’ve never been able to co-sleep with much success because I was always to anxious I (or the Hubs) would roll over and squish Lilah. But I will admit that I HAVE climbed into her crib with her on more than one occasion to try to get her to go back to sleep. Ridiculous, and highly uncomfortable, but it did get her back to sleep a couple of times!
    Amanda’s last post … Wednesday of Few Words- WhistlerMy Profile

  26. My favorite description of how a toddler sleeps was from a blogger (can’t remember who, unfortunately) who described her so as “sleeping like a starfish” in the middle of his parents’ bed, even though he had his own. I can totally see the splayed limbs.
    Lady M’s last post … BubbliciousMy Profile

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