Once upon a time, there was a married couple named EGB and J. They were snugglers. 9:30 at night was a time to converse and laugh together while EGB rested her head on J's chest. It was a happy, drowsy time.
The snugglers also found that they liked getting this chance to snuggle with their puppy. It made everyone feel closer.
Then, on a particularly cold night in November, long after the couple had moved back into their bedroom and were once again sleeping on their real bed, Obie was invited up on the bed. No one remembers who made this particular invitation, and no fingers will pointed at anyone in this blog. (If necessary, Charlie the cat is willing to take the fall for this decision.) Prior to this, Obie was a dog bedding snob. He turned his nose up at the folded up blanket on the floor in favor of the big, cushiony dog bed purchased for him by doting owners. Now Obie found that the owners had been holding out on him in terms of comfort.
There was no turning back. Obie recognized that his rightful place was stretched out between EGB and J. He could be with his pack of people and snooze on the comfort of a pillow top mattress with real blankets. The problem, however, was that Obie was a 75 pound dog who was 90% leg. Though he can curl up into a ball, his preferred sleeping arrangement on the bed was to lie with his back braced against one member of the marriage team while he stretched his legs in the opposite direction, effectively pushing the other member off the bed.
EGB and J unsuccessfully attempted to teach Obie to sleep at the foot of the bed. They tried to teach him to not get up on the bed until invited. They tried to teach him to sleep on one side of the bed, while a human took the coveted middle spot. None of this worked. Obie, a chip off the old blocks, was a snuggler, and this snuggler wanted to be in between his two people to show his deep abiding love for them by pushing one of them off the bed in the middle of the night. How are you going to keep them down on the dog bed once they've seen Serta Pillowtop?
When EGB and J discovered that LO was on the way, they worried a little. EGB would soon be taking up more room on the bed, and Obie's sleeping habits might not fit in with maternity sleep. They decided, based upon their complete inability to retrain Obie once he had staked his claim on the bed, that LO would be sleeping in his own room from the very beginning. EGB and J were far too soft-hearted to be able to retrain a dog--and a baby would be another matter entirely. (Particularly since this decision involved sleep. EGB and J both like their sleep, and the path of least resistance looks awfully tempting when they are drowsy.)
Worry #1 about Obie fixed itself through the move. Though Obie had learned to love co-sleeping while EGB and J were on the futon in Columbus, after the move he found himself disliking the smaller confines of the full size futon and re-learned how to sleep on his dog bed. One snuggler down!
But fate had another snuggler in store for the stalwart couple. LO made it clear from just about day 1 that sleeping is better with Mom and Dad. After one week of EGB and J attempting to put LO down in his bassinet so that they could resume their conversations and laughter while snuggling, it became much easier to bring him into bed with them. What began as middle of the night desperation for sleep became putting LO to bed in between EGB and J when everyone went to bed at 9:30. The Family Bed was born.
This has EGB somewhat worried and doing research. AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) is death on family beds. Someone could roll over! Blankets could cover the baby! Dogs and cats, living together, mass hysteria! EGB and J have begun sleeping in a heart shape--knees together in the center of the bed below LO's feet; arms touching above his head; baby comfortably on his back in the center of the heart. The research approves, and everyone (including Obie and the cats) is sleeping better.
Now the only concern is how this snuggly family will teach LO to sleep in his own room. EGB has visions of a 12 year old still wanting to sleep with Mom and Dad. Perhaps that is the evolutionary reason why parents of adolescents become unbelievably embarrassing--so that there will be an end to the family bed.
In any case, there is no putting LO in his bassinet, now that he knows the joys of snuggling. The hope is that Grandma and Safta have not wasted a great deal of money on a crib that will never be used.
Although, Obie might decide he wants to sleep in it.