We all know Jay and I didn’t turn out to be French Parents a la Pamela Druckerman. The vision sounded so nice: after eating a very adult dinner, the little ones loving the kale and trying everything, the kids trump off to their rooms, ready for bed. After books and kisses, no drama sleep while the parents have an adult evening.

We were working toward some version of this, at least we thought we were. At first it seemed to be working. But instead of getting easier, getting them to go to sleep in their own beds got more and more impossible. As they adjusted and settled into living here, they resisted sleeping alone harder and harder.

Even when we got them to sleep in their beds, sometimes at great emotional expense, in the late night or early morning hours the pitter-patter of little feet would signal their arrival back in our bed. By morning we are not French, but more like The Croods, the whole cave family sleeping in a pile. If you missed the movie (no kids 2 to 7?) here they are, I couldn’t find a photo of them asleep in the cave, but you get the idea:

The Croods

Eventually we were worn down, and gave up even trying to get them to go to sleep in their beds. They get in our bed for story time, so much more quietly and willingly. They’re out pretty quick (most nights), and if I’m not exhausted I actually get to watch Orange is the New Black. Before I go to sleep I move them into their beds, where they sleep part of the night, but by 3 to 4am we’re a big Neanderthal pile again.

And I have to say I kind of like it. Not the getting kicked and punched (Jaden especially is a Ninja sleeper, and just the right size to deliver a foot punch where it hurts most). But when they’re settled and dreaming, there’s nothing sweeter than sleeping little kids. Fighting or hassles from the day are gone, and both of them are little angels. I can feel them bonding themselves to us, and me to them, in the quiet breathing.

I realize talking to other parents that this is common. Dads especially sound sheepish admitting it, but I’ve heard some version of this same story many times. The drama of whether “co-sleeping” or “the family bed” is a good thing—and it was a big, big parenting drama there for awhile—seems to have evaporated or receeded a great deal. Even the former opponents seem to have a “decide for yourself” approach. To me it feels that as a culture we’re shifting back to an earlier way, shedding the Victorian prohibition that hid away the little ones from a lot of life.

Oh I definitely would enjoy a night of uninterrupted sleep. Occasionally Jay or I will wake up in one of the kids beds, having desperately needed no more fingers in our eyes that night. And one of these days (I’m promised) the kids will start wanting their own space to sleep. But for now it feels like they’re catching up on cuddles they missed when they were babies, and that can only be a good thing.