About a week before baby #5 was born, baby #4 decided she was D-O-N-E with her crib. Not just done, she was flinging herself over the crib railing head first. She wanted out. Fine. No problem. We'll just transition her to a big girl bed, no problem! We did it three times before, we can do it again. Cut to me sleeping next to a little blonde bed hog who refuses not only the crib but her new big girl bed.
Here I was, just about to have a baby. RIGHT before this, I mean days before, everyone was sleeping just fine. Through the night, yes. Sure, maybe some of them were getting up just a touch early for my taste (5:30am, no thanks) but we had a solid night's sleep until Talley decided she was going to boycott all forms of beds in her room.
I remember turning to Sean in bed one night right before these sleeping shenanigans began and saying something like "I'm so glad they are all sleeping through the night now". WHY?! Why did I jinx us like that?! It had seemed almost like she planned it, days before I was going to be in the hospital with the newborn she had to change things up. And not just at night, she also refused to nap, like ANYWHERE but the car, which meant we had a perfectly happy toddler until the hour of 11am when she would morph into a raging crabby pigtailed toddler monster hell bent on destruction for the rest of the day.
We had entered a Parenting Perfect Storm, when some of the trickier parenting moments seem to all happen at once. Sort of like when all of your kids get the stomach flu at the same time, but LONGER. Newborn, meet Toddler.
Of course, opinions on how to deal with this abounded and came from every person in our lives. Put her in her room and let her cry it out. Let her sleep in our bed, it'll pass. Move big sister back into her room. Move big brother into her room. Let her stay up longer, put her to bed earlier. You name it, we thought about it.
The thing is, during a Parenting Perfect Storm, you just deal. You just figure out what works best for the time being, and you do it. Whatever gets you the most sleep, you do that. Are you doing them permanent sleep pattern damage by letting them sleep in your bed for the time being? Probably not. Are you going to cause them harm by letting them cry it out? Also probably a no.
During times like these when I split my "sleeping hours" (HAHA) between nursing a newborn and coddling a toddler, I like to remember some sage advice my mom gave me years ago.
It won't always be this way.
You may have weeks, even months (okay seriously sometimes it can be more like a year when we are talking toddler) that are WAY harder than you thought, but the great (and heartbreaking) thing about kids is that they will change. Not maybe they'll change a little, they WILL change, and they will grow, and you will get through this tough phase, you will weather this Perfect Parenting Storm. And whatever you choose to help you navigate those choppy waters: an extra large cup of coffee, that glass of wine at night, that solo run through the neighborhood, just do it, just make it happen. Suck it up and muddle through, you'll sleep again in the future, I promise.