February 21, 2006

Co-Sleep or Co-Weep?

This post is dedicated to Surrender Dorothy, the Blog That Never Sleeps.

There’s a monkey jumping in my bed. Okay, maybe not exactly JUMPING per se, but he IS in my bed. It wasn’t always this way. When we first brought our bundle of boy home, he would happily sleep in his bassinet - hell, I had to set my alarm to wake up to nurse him. Then, we discovered that our boy wonder was not the world’s greatest sleeper, but rather slightly jaundiced, which made him listless. We got the jaundiced all “fixed up”, but then somewhere along the way he discovered that being nestled in someone’s arms or snuggled up alongside someone’s back was a far superior mode of slumber. At first, I just thought that all babies liked to be held this much and when criticized for holding my baby “too much”, I would shrug it off. He was MY baby and I was going to hold him as much as I wanted. Then my niece was born. I gazed in awe as my sister would place my niece down and LEAVE THE ROOM. I can’t remember EVER being able to do that!

I don’t know - maybe I DO hold my kid too much, maybe Cousin J holds my kid too much, perhaps it’s X’s fault. I also remember hearing in the hospital how popular he was with the nurses and how they loved to hold him. Maybe THEY created this situation. So, I brought it up to my doctor. She's conservative Catholic but with a heart of granola - she very matter-of-factly informed me that most of the world co-sleeps - it’s the Westerners who are the minority. She pointed out that yes, my son probably WOULD prefer to be sleeping next to me. She chuckled and said that all four of her children were co-sleepers and they all eventually “moved out”. In short, she didn’t think it was a problem and then we discussed the proper safety measures needed with co-sleeping.

So, if I REALLY confess - - it isn’t that much of a problem. Most nights, I love going to bed with him and snuggling in with him and a good book (he drifts off and I continue reading for awhile). Yes, YES, some nights I wish I could drop him off in his crib, then skip merrily down the stairs so I can watch Jack Bauer fight the baddies or watch another group of Survivors slowly starve themselves towards that million bucks. But this is the main crux of the situation - when he sleeps with me, he sleeps HARD. It’s the best sleep he gets all day AND he usually doesn’t wake up unless I have eaten Greek food for lunch (it tears the poor kid apart). Even then, he just fusses around IN HIS SLEEP. Furthermore, I love the mornings when I have nowhere to go and I can just lie (lay?) there watching him breathe and do those creepy little baby smiles in his sleep.

So what's REALLY the problem? In short, it's ME. I think what has really bothered me about this co-sleeping thing is the fact that I have been insecure about my decision to do it - meaning, I often don’t tell people that I co-sleep or if I do “admit” it, I do it sheepishly (at one point, I had almost convinced myself that co-sleeping was temporary, so why bring it up). It began to bother me that here I am, a 34 year old educated women who KNOWS damned well that co-sleeping is just fine, but yet I was still insecure about it. Then I woke up (pun actually intended) and realized that co-sleeping WORKS FOR US and our lifestyle. I am nursing and co-sleeping is perfect for that. We have several trips coming this year and co-sleeping is perfect for that (he had NO issues sleeping at night when were in DC, it was the napping that was a problem). I’ve always been a “late at night in bed” reader and co-sleeping is perfect for that. I finally realized that I need to suck it up, stand tall and be firm in my decision - even when people DO look a little cross-eyed at me when I say that we co-sleep. Ironically, Normal Olathe Grandma is the most understanding regarding the co-sleeping thing. When my aunt was born, they were a smack dab in the middle of World War II living in military housing, so they couldn’t AFFORD a crib (I guess Oprah wasn’t around back then). Also, I should mention X thought the crib purchase was weird and totally questioned the need for it. In fact, he was the one who pushed for co-sleeping after a long night of pacing the floor with Arun. How could I argue when Arun immediately snuggled in and went to sleep?

So, am I all over that attachment parenting stuff? Not necessarily. I don’t think cribs are harmful or that kids won’t bond if left in a crib. For us, it’s just a lifestyle choice and damned straight - the kid is SLEEPING. What’s that they say about fixing non-broken stuff?

Now, if I could only get the CATS to co-sleep. Between needing to be petted, needing water, needing to be let out, needing to sleep right on my legs so that I can't move AN INCH AND MY BACK CRAMPS UP, Arun is the very LEAST of my sleeping problems. Some nights, while I am wide awake with yet another feline getting on my very last nerve and Arun is snoring away, I think quietly to myself "Tennis rackets. Yep, we need more tennis rackets around here......."

1 comment:

Po said...

Appreciate the thoughts on cosleeping. We do it with our 19 month old son, and it's been working fine for us, too. I do sort of think it's no one's business where we all sleep, but should it come up in a normal conversation, I offer it up with no apologies (but slight hesitation)! Ha - I'm working on it.