Gwen tends towards nightmares. They seem to come in waves: she'll have a bad couple of weeks, and then get past it, and be fine for a few months. We had one of these bad waves, oh, say mid-to-late August? All sorts of extra bedtime rituals are implemented at this time: I huff and puff and blow all the bad dreams away, I spray "good dream spray" (lavender-scented pillow mist) on her pillow, she uses her handheld "Buddy" nightlight, etc. And now that she is a big girl in a big bed, another nightmare-related ritual has begun: the exodus of our child from her own room and into ours.
Her nightmares probably lasted about a week, and she was in and out of our bed one to three times per night during that week. Then the nightmares ended ... but the nighttime visits continued. It seems she has established the habit of crawling into our bed several times an evening, and just because she is no longer abjectly terrified of some indescribable Scooby-Doo related phantom, doesn't mean she should discontinue her midnight socializing, right?
(Aside: When your child comes home from daycare and out of the blue tells you in the saddest voice ever, "We watched Scooby Doo today. That means I'm going to have scary dreams,"? YOUR HEART BREAKS.)
To give you an example of how fun our evenings have been lately: last Thursday, Gwen came into our bed sometime between 10 and midnight. She threatened to have a fit if she were returned to her own bed, so Chris actually volunteered to go sleep on the couch and allowed Gwen to stay in our bed with me. The next night, Gwen visited again around the same time. After Chris attempted, unsuccessfully, to return her from whence she came, *I* went and slept in Gwen's room, and she and Chris shared the big bed. Even on nights when we do manage to get her back to her room, she is often up again around 3am and then up for the day between 5 and 6. It's a good thing neither of us stay home with her during the day, because we are exhausted and so is our patience.
Last night I arrived home around 10pm after visiting with a friend. Chris told me he'd already had to intervene a couple of times to get Gwen to stay in bed, but that she was now asleep. We chatted for a bit and then I headed up to bed. Seeing Gwen's door ajar, I took the opportunity to peek in and bask in how adorable she is when she's asleep. Except ... wait, where ... is that ... no, that's just a ... hmm.
Where is she??
Sure enough, she was in our room. Scamp had crept quietly out of her own room ("It must have been while I was on the phone," said Chris) and snuggled herself down into our bed. I felt equal parts admiration, annoyance, and disappointment: What, all these midnight trips to our bed weren't about US? She just wanted our BED?? Conversation the next morning revealed she was fully aware of her subterfuge. "I sneaked!" she told us proudly. "Daddy didn't come upstairs." Ooooh, the scamp. Too smart for her own good. DEFINITELY too smart for me.