Bad habits

Amy Condon is a mum to 3 kids, who are all under 3! Yes, you heard us right. Each week she tells us all about the ups and downs of bringing up 3 children so close in age in her mummy blog. This week Amy talks about letting her youngest sleep in mummy and daddy’s bed…

Bad habits are hard to break, aren’t they? Kids don’t mean to fall into them, of course. But they’re kids. They don’t know any better.

Only, they’re kids. They probably don’t have any bad habits. We do.

I’ve been beating myself up lately about still not quite managing to kick M’s habit (OK, my habit) of coming into bed in the morning for her milk. Half the time, she sleeps through until her sisters get up at about half 7 or 8. But sometimes, for no reason I can fathom, she decides 6am is a good time to get hungry. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m aware it comes with the territory. Kids get up early. I know. I used to get up with 2 of them. But I’ve done my time. Thanks, I think, to the fact she’s always just been squeezed into her sisters’ routine, M has always been a great sleeper. I’m no good at the early mornings any more. (I never was, actually. I sobbed a lot.) So, if she wakes before her sisters, I’ve got into the habit of giving her her milk in our bed, then snuggling up to her to grab an extra hour or 2 of sleep.

I know I’m only creating problems for myself, digging a hole it’s only going to get harder to get out of. And I worry that the twins will be jealous. Especially T. She used to do everything she could to make it to Mummy and Daddy’s bed in the middle of the night. But I stayed strong, and sat up with her time and again until she realised she wasn’t going anywhere. I knew letting her in would just create future problems. She needed to get good at sleeping on her own. These days though, my resolve isn’t quite so strong. I don’t know if it’s because there’s only 1 of M, or if, as a more experienced mum, I’ve just stopped fretting about the consequences of everything, but I’m just more relaxed now.

Moving house, getting rid of dummies, moving into beds… I panicked and planned and over-analysed every inch of everything before the twins took any of these big steps.

They barely missed a beat.

Even potty training, my biggest fear, wasn’t that bad. T was a breeze and although G didn’t exactly take to it well, leading a month of worry on my part, in the end, by the time they were just over 3, the twins were both trained day and night, and these days, I can’t even remember what I used to worry about. Knowing how easily children adapt to change has made me a lot more relaxed with M. I didn’t worry about letting her have a soother to sleep, as I know one day, I’ll just invoke the Dummy Fairy again, and she’ll move right on. I didn’t worry about moving her into a room with her sisters because I realised kids will sleep anywhere if you make them comfy and secure. And I didn’t worry about starting to sneak those precious extra minutes of sleep, because I know when I do put an end to it, she’ll cope just fine.

Problem is, I’m not sure I will.

If I’m really really honest, not only is this my bad habit, it’s not even just about getting much-needed sleep. I just love my morning snuggles. After she’s finished drinking, M always turns to face me, shuts her eyes, and we fall back asleep nose to nose. My arm fits perfectly round her chubby bottom, and I love the feel of her solid arms and the soft smell of her hair. I’m not sure I’m ready to give her up.

The other morning, it was actually T who got up first, needing to go to the loo at about half-past 5. With her sisters still snoring, I asked if she wanted to come and cuddle Mummy for a bit. She grinned sleepily as I led her through. I never get enough 1-on-1 time with any of my girls, and I loved cuddling into her. But it was very different from my mornings with M. T was squirmy and restless, half sleeping, half wanting to play. 2 years ago, she would have done anything to get into the big bed but now, it’s a bit boring. She’s grown up. And I know that means M will soon too. I’m not sure how many more baby snuggly mornings I’m going to get.

And anyway, am I really doing anything wrong? After all, it’s not like M gets up early every morning. It can’t be that bad a habit, can it? She’s my last baby. Is it really that awful to take advantage of that for just a little bit longer? Some people can’t kick cigarettes or gambling or junk food. In the grand scheme of things, a baby snuggles habit isn’t really that bad, is it?

Are you guilty of forming bad habits with your kids? Tell us about your experiences in our comments section below.

Amy’s other blog posts…