A long-standing policy in our family is that the kids are not allowed to sleep with us in our bed. It's ours. Not yours, Emmabenjoshlydiaafton, you have your own bed, so use it. Many years ago my friend, Alice, shared her clever idea to make your kid a little bed out of blankets on the floor if there is ever a need (sickness, nightmares, etc). This way you're still there close by to help them but the boundaries remain clear (so that sort of thing doesn't spiral out of control to being three or four kids away from your spouse every night--it's like letting the camel put his nose in your tent).
It's a good policy. The issue almost never even comes up. But when it does, it's Lydia. Last Friday night was one of those nights. Sometime around 2am I found Lydia by my side in tears wailing something about a scary dream and there being ants all over her. I'll admit it, I broke my own rule and went for the easy solution. I typically would have simply put her back in her own bed with reassurances a few good dream suggestions. But something about her near-hysteria let me know this approach would take more time than normal. I was too tired to fetch blankets and fix her up on the floor. In my haste to return to my own sleeping, I simply hauled her up and situated her between me and Scott (Scott the ultra heavy sleeper who always says I should wake him up at times like these, but I usually don't. I don't know why, I guess I'm just extra nice). I spent the rest of the night coming in and out of consciousness to various non-restful scenarios. First, Lydia is the thrashiest sleeper I know. She does not hold still. At all. Ever. And after settling back down to sleep for only a few minutes, she woke in tears again, still talking semi-coherently about ants (there are no ants in her bed, I promise). Sometime later I woke up to realize her foot was pressing directly against my cheek. Later still I stirred to find that Josh was laying on top of my feet. (???) I had no idea why he was there but simply kicked free and went back to sleep. Next I felt a Lydi-foot in my face again. Then Josh was saying he felt like he was going to throw up so I told him to get the sick-bowl and a blanket and lay on the floor (false alarm--he never did). By now the sun was starting to rise and I realized the folly of my choice. In my rush to get back to sleep as soon as possible, I did nothing but ensure that I would wake up every 30 minutes till morning. Lesson learned. No more making rash decisions in the middle of the night. Stick to protocol. "I love you, but you have your own bed so use it."