Co-sleeping with our daughter started off great. When she was a new-born, her bassinet was placed right beside our bed. When she woke during the night to nurse, I reached over, picked her up and nursed her. When she was finished back into the bassinet she went. If she fussed, I just had to place one of my hands on her chest to let her know I was there, and back to sleep she went.
When she grew out of the bassinet, her crib took its place in our room and we continued happily with the same sleeping arrangement.
She is now 2. She has her own big girl bed in her own room. She loves this bed, and she loves being close to me too. Every night she goes down to sleep quite happily in her own bed.
But sometime during the night, she finds her way into our bed. My husband who is a night owl and goes to bed much later than I more often than not, finds this. And instead of fighting for his spot, goes to sleep in her bed (gotta love the game of musical beds). This is also why she has a twin on the floor, rather than a toddler bed.
Now here's the kicker. You would think that this would make everything happy in toddler land. She gets to snuggle with Mama. Daddy and Mommy still get a full night of sleep. Wrong! First, she considers our bed to be hers. You would not believe how much space she takes up! She often ends up sleeping on me in some manner of sorts, that I'm uncomfortable, or on the edge of the bed. If I dare move, she wakes up and goes to instant loud protest (which we really don't want).
Now, here's where my poor husband really deserves a medal. In the morning, she gets up, goes into her room to pick out her clothes and as soon as she realises Daddy is in her bed she says as loud and demanding as possible, "Hey! That's my bed! You get out!". He's tried to reason with her, but there is no reasoning with toddlers. The line of, "Well, you were in my bed" doesn't go over very well. As far as she is concerned Daddy doesn't have a bed. Her bed is her bed and our bed is really Mama and her bed. She's as much said that Daddy's bed is gone and she doesn't know where it went.
You may wonder why we just don't move her back into her own bed? Truthfully, I usually don't wake up when she crawls in with me. And her being the third child and knowing how difficult it can be to move a sleeping child without waking them up, it's easier just to play musical beds sometimes. Our two older children do sleep in their own beds (our oldest 100% of the time) and our middle child most of the time, though he has been known to crawl in around 5am for that last hour to cuddle (BTW - if we knew then what we know now, we would have a King Size rather than a Queen, Queens were not made for this many people!). I know that this won't last forever - my other children being living proof of it! There are glimmers of hope, nights when my husband comes to bed and his side is empty, nights where she sleeps through the whole night in her own room (we really lavish the praise on for that!). There have been nights where I do the reverse and when she calls for me at 2:30 am, crawl into her bed instead, letting my husband have a good night's sleep in the big bed. But this is our life most of the time, for now.