It's fitting that I'm sitting down to write this during Ian's nap time. It's also fitting that his noon naptime turned into finally falling asleep on me in the recliner at 1:30pm. I think we all try to learn from our own experiences to know how we should handle things with others. But as Rich likes to say, I was raised by wolves. I never had an allowance. I never got grounded. I didn't have designated chores. And I never had a bedtime.
When I was an infant I slept in my parents' room. They were co-sleepers before co-sleeping was cool, mostly because there were five of us living in a two bedroom house under major construction. I first slept on a shelf/drawer that my father built next to their bed. And I eventually moved to a crib at the foot of their bed. I stayed in that crib until I was four and a half.
We then moved across the street to a much larger three bedroom house. But since my oldest brother was 22 at the time and had never had his own room, my parents gave him the master bedroom and they took the mother-in-law suite in the back. I shared that room with my parents until I was at least 7 or so? I can't really remember.
My parents don't have similar schedules at all. Mom is a morning person and Dad is a night owl. I stayed up many a night watching Johnny Carson with Daddy and it's one of my favorite memories. I don't ever remember being tired as a kid. (They also let me drink coffee and at 6 feet I don't think it stunted my growth.)
If I did go to bed before Daddy, I went to bed with Mom. I remember lying in bed with her having her rub my back. As she would fall asleep herself I would make a little wiggle to wake her back up so she'd keep patting me. Funny how I'm the one now patting Ian and falling asleep in the bed.
Whenever Daddy would come to bed, he would pick me up and carry me back to my room. Sometimes it would wake me up but I always pretended to be asleep because I loved how it felt being carried back and tucked into bed.
So here we are with a child of our own and no rules. For his first year or so he never even had pajamas. We only started using them in the winter because he kicks his blankets off. We do talk about night night now and we do have a routine. But sometimes that routine starts later than others. And sometimes he's just not tired.
Lots of books talk about how you're supposed to train your child to sleep or teach them how to go to sleep on their own. But I was never trained that I know of and I sleep like a corpse (it's kind of alarming). Really, even as an adult I'd rather go to bed snuggled up with someone patting my back than by myself while everyone else stays awake. It just seems like common sense to me.
Ian will have plenty of time to sleep all day without my help. For now I just want to make sure he's happy and safe and comfy. It's what my parents did for me so it only seems fair I pass it on.