PARENTING
01/27/2016 11:40 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Why Co-Sleeping Is a Wonderful Thing

Somewhere around the time my daughter turned 2, she figured out how to turn a doorknob.

Being in the 98th percentile height-wise made it easy for her nimble little fingers to reach the blessed thing. That she figured out how to turn it so early on was just a testament to her clever, miniature mind.

The interesting thing is: she didn't use her newfound ability to Houdini her way out of the bedroom right away. Upon learning our daughter could enter and exit rooms at will, my wife Lydia and I thought our restful evenings were over. We figured she would suddenly be up all night, every night, wandering the house and enjoying her newfound freedom. But that didn't happen.

About six months later, however, my daughter had a lightbulb moment. She realized that not only could she open her door, but she also knew where Mommy & Daddy slept.

Combining these two thoughts, my daughter came stumbling into the master bedroom one night at around 3 a.m. Lydia sleeps closest to the door, so she was the one greeted by our groggy girl. My wife was able to settle the wee one back into her own room without trouble, but 2-year-olds are nothing if not tenacious. Soon our toddler was waddling her way into our room once a week. Waters were being tested; big (relatively speaking) toes being dipped. Even though she might not have been logically searching for boundaries, I do believe she was instinctively doing so.

My daughter was trying to realize something she already knew: under our roof, Daddy is the softie.

After several attempts, and discovery and rejection by Mommy, she tried a new approach: my daughter snuck into the room... crawled into bed on Daddy's side, and plopped herself down safely across my chest.

Instead of picking her up and returning her to her own bed, I immediately pulled her close and tucked her under the blanket.

She popped a thumb in her mouth and fell back asleep.

Safe.

Warm.

(I spent the next several hours being kicked and farted on. But I didn't mind.)

That started, in biblical terms, the end of days.

What began as 5 a.m. or 3 a.m. once-a-week intrusions became 11 p.m. and 10 p.m. attempts nightly. Our daughter came into our room earlier and earlier, and more and more often.

Again, when Lydia was awake (or awoke first), back to the toddler room our daughter went. But when she was able to enter and make her way to me, I always allowed her to snuggle in and disrupt my sleep.

This created a slight... bone of contention between Lydia and me. She likes to read parenting books, and talks at length about conditioning and bad habits. Which I understand. I also don't care.

My daughter is 3 now.

In my mind, she'll be 13 "tomorrow."

Time is fleeting. I don't know how long snuggling lasts -- how long she'll want to come cuddle with me. I know that when she's a teenager, I'll be the most embarrassing thing in her life and that she'll want little to do with me.

These moments are precious, and I don't want to waste them.

If my daughter wants snuggles and warmth in the middle of the night, who am I to deny them?

The Mrs. has stated, a stern look upon her face, that she isn't looking forward to the day when our 1-year-old son figures out how to meander into our room.

"If our daughter isn't sleep trained by then, the bed will be too crowded."

Yup.

It's a day I'm looking forward to.

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more nonsense at www.nathantimmel.com

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