Monday, 29 July 2013

Co- Sleeping Intervention Needed (a year from now)

Every summer we pull our mattresses off the bed frames and slide them down the stairs to the main floor by the last week in June. This year we went another floor down, to the basement for two blissfully cold and dark weeks ( it was hot and sunny outside) but a rainstorm flooded our new sleeping digs and we made a hasty retreat to the living room.

Tonight we are back on bed frames in our rooms and our spines are thanking us. Our girls will also hopefully get more sleep; while, Mark and I might watch less crappy TV because it won't be right in front of us.

I started out with the best of intentions: putting C's mattress on the floor beside our bed. She napped there in the afternoon and I nursed her to sleep around 8. She started making noises around 10:45 but soothed herself back to sleep twice in 45 minutes before she woke up calling for me. 

And that's where I made the mistake. Not of going to her, that I can't help and neither can she until she sleeps more soundly without nursing. But rather, I picked her up and put her in my bed which did two things. One, it annoyed the pants off her. And two, it immediately resumed the co- sleeping I need to wean myself, um, her, off of, without even trying for a full night.

I love sleeping beside my babies. In fact, I could easily sleep with all of them snuggled around me on a floor of mattresses. ( Provided of course Mark and I had our own secret retreat. See Footnote, but be warned.) I am comforted by the sound of their breathing. I can comfort them when they struggle or whimper. And, here's the whole truth: I don't have to get up and go to them. In fact, I don't even have to wake up fully! 

When each of my older two girls moved out of our room, I got less sleep for weeks on end either not being able to fall asleep myself because I was worried I would hear them calling me and because they actually would call and wake me ( me, not us) up multiple times. And this would happen several times a year over several years and I eventually started making Mark go to them because I couldn't handle it gracefully. 

So tonight, at just over 18 months, I brought C back into bed with me because this is where she has always slept except for an experiment we tried right after she turned one. We would put her to sleep in her sister's bed and then they'd join her and she would sleep for three or four hours and we would get lulled into a tricky comforting deep sleep snuggled close to each other and bam! Be jolted awake by a howling C who would wake up her sisters too. And Mark would have to stumble into their room to get her and he realized this whole night time feeding thing is quite disruptive if you actually have to wake up fully.

The co sleeping interdependence and the inability to wean my children before they are two and a half are my huge blind spots as a mama. I would love to learn how to do both or either but it's hard to invest in a skill you are only going to use once. And so C is snuggled against her Dadadadadada (only way she says it) and they are keeping me company. Together her and I will figure it out. Right now, we enjoy the truly fleeting moments. But if she's still in my bed next summer, I may need a co- sleeping intervention. 

Footnote: In case any one is pitying Mark for this inconvenience you should know-and this strays into TMI territory-we have a stash of condoms in almost every room in the house that needs regular replenishment.

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