March 1, 2015

How I almost became a co-sleeping mom – In 16 deluded stages

How I almost became a co-sleeper www.bestofbabylady.com Image via Unsplash

The smell of vomit — spaghetti flavored — clinging to the air.  5 loads of laundry in a single day (oh why did it have to be spaghetti?!)   And a pitiful, barf breathed, exhausted little boy.  My mama heart ached…how could I make this better for him?

Then, as if triggered by the scent (literally) of my offspring’s distress, the long forgotten, primordial part of my DNA stirred within me.  And suddenly, I knew the answer:  co-sleeping.  Of course!  They always tout the benefits of skin-to-skin with newborns…why not with toddlers?  Ok, maybe not skin-to-skin, because did I mention the puke?  But perhaps pajama-to-pajama would suffice.  He would curl up next to me, inhale my primal motherly scent (some may call it sweat, but I take comfort in delusions of grandeur), and my innate motherness would radiate health and well-being into the child borne of my flesh. 

How I almost became a co-sleeper www.bestofbabylady.comImage via Unsplash

Empowered by the awakening of the earth mama within me, I brazenly declared to my husband — “He needs me. I’m sleeping next to him tonight!”

My dear man, in a gentle but knowing voice cautioned that maybe this wasn’t the best idea.  I’m a habitually light sleeper…and our son is notorious for limb thrashing, bed acrobatics, and enthusiastic sleep monologues.

“No no husband.  I’m his mama…he needs me.”

He conceded, in the “I’ll let her make her own mistakes” kind of way, but made it clear that he wouldn’t be joining us…something about wanting to get a good night’s sleep, I think. I can’t remember because I was too busy basking in the newly rediscovered metaphysical connection between my womb and its former inhabitant.

And so, glowing in the way that all enlightened earth mamas do, I began my 16 stage co-sleeping journey.

STAGE 1

Prep the bed with glee in anticipation of the upcoming closeness.  My toddler, who nowadays is way too busy to be bothered with affection, will be mine to squeeze all night long.  I can almost feel the invisible umbilical cord between us quiver with eagerness.  Is it bed time yet?

STAGE 2

Burrow down into the covers with my progeny.  This. is. deep.  My mama heart is so full!  Maybe those attachment parenting folks were right…humans aren’t meant to sleep alone.  What a cruel concept!  Why did we ever even buy a crib?  I wonder how much a California king bed costs…

STAGE 3

One hour later…hmmm, my offspring is still awake.  Ok, maybe the connection between us is just so invigorating that it’s keeping him up.  He’s probably just excited that we get to co-sleep!  I get it little man…I’m excited too!  Just maybe stop touching my face?  That might help both of us fall asleep more easily.

STAGE 4

*Sigh*  He’s finally asleep.  My calm mothering aura must have been such a source of comfort to him.  But why is he still touching my face?  And trying to stick his hand in my sleeve.  Ok, I’m just going to geeeently lift his hand and put it…

STAGE 5

Dang it, he just woke up.  No son, we cannot watch Daniel Tiger.  It’s midnight.

STAGE 6

It’s midnight!  I’m still awake.  And now I’m sharing a pillow with the mouth breather…I mean, the fruit of my womb.

STAGE 7

Scratch that.  I’ve lost the pillow completely.  Ok, no big deal…I’ll just carefully roll over to the other side of the bed and use his pillow. Veeery carefully….

STAGE 8

Dang it, he just woke up again.  And here we go with the face stroking… (note to self: wash face thoroughly in the morning)

STAGE 9

He’s finally falling asleep.  Don’t move mama.  Yes, there’s a leg on your chest and you’re becoming short of breath.  Just practice the calm breathing from that yoga class you never showed up for.  Or better yet, remember how you breathed (some may call it screamed, but again, delusions of grandeur) your baby out of your body.  Channel that inner control.

STAGE 10

Forget that. I’m getting lightheaded.  Let me just geeently roll him over….

STAGE 11

Dang it.

STAGE 12

Ok, he’s back asleep.  I think we’re good for the rest of the night…all 4 hours of it.  Wait a minute…how did he end up perpendicular to me…and back on my pillow?!  Oh fine.  You can have ALL the pillows.  I’ll just bunch up the blanket that you kicked to the floor and use that as my head cushion.

STAGE 13

Ok Mama, time for a pep-talk.  No one ever said attachment parenting would be easy.  This co-sleeping thing is challenging for sure, but soooo worth it — AHHH I think he just fractured my nose!  Seriously…I felt it move to the left and it didn’t move back.  Let me turn my phone light on to see if that’s blood…what?! Is it really 5:00am?

STAGE 14

Ok, forget attachment parenting.  Co-sleeping is for the birds.  I’m going to go see what the weight limit is on a toddler bed…if I curl up just right, I might be able to squeeze myself in there and catch a few hours of sleep.  Let me just geeeently climb out of bed. 

STAGE 15

Dang it.

STAGE 16 – AKA Sunrise.

Earth Mama has left the building.  I need coffee.  And an ice pack.

 

Disclaimer: This post is really just meant to be a lighthearted humor piece.  I hate that I even have to put a disclaimer on it, but if there’s one thing my “They Lied…It Matters How You Birth” piece taught me, is that EVERYTHING inevitably ends up being controversial.  So to anyone that’s offended by this post…. I think attachment parenting is great.  I think independent parenting (or whatever the opposite is) is great.  I think co-sleeping (when done safely) is great and I think crib-sleeping (also when done safely) is great.  I’ve dabbled in all of those things, and it was great.  Have I covered everything?

(And for the record, I actually co-slept naps with my son for months when he was younger and it was one of my absolutely favorite parts of his baby/toddlerhood…it just doesn’t work now that he’s older)

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Iulia is a former educator turned stay-at-home mama of a spunky toddler and a squishy infant. With a touch of sass and a good dose of self-deprecating humor, she has an ever-expanding repertoire of bloopers, insights, stories, and impassioned opinions to share. Iulia likes to think she has this parenting gig figured out, but her littles remind her daily just how far from the truth that is.

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32 Comments

  • morningmotivatedmom@gmail.com'
    Reply Emily March 1, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    Nice disclaimer at the end 😉
    Emily recently posted…March GoalsMy Profile

    • Reply Bestofbaby March 2, 2015 at 10:07 pm

      I think I’m going to start putting disclaimers on everything…even recipes. Never know who’s going to get offended.

  • mariet@practicingnormal.com'
    Reply Mariet - Practicingnormal March 2, 2015 at 2:01 am

    I don’t know if you covered everything in your disclaimer. You forgot the colour of the dress…
    I co-slept with some of my little monkeys and definitely not with the last one. Parents have to do what works for them. I just know it takes years to get them out of your bedroom.
    #MondayMadness
    Mariet – Practicingnormal recently posted…Unforgettable Dr. Seuss QuotesMy Profile

    • Reply Bestofbaby March 2, 2015 at 10:06 pm

      HAHA! The dress…Mariet, I read this at 2AM while nursing my daughter. Now, I don’t find many things amusing in the middle of the night, but that’s just about the closest I’ve coming to laughing at that hour.

      And I agree…parents have to do what works. With each child, I always have the mentality that I won’t intentionally co-sleep (because I don’t want to have to break the habit later) but if it’s necessary for everyone to get sleep we’re totally doing it.

  • millay.liz@gmail.com'
    Reply Liz Millay March 2, 2015 at 11:16 am

    Love this. We co-slept with our son, but once they hit that thrashing stage it kinda loses it’s charm. 🙂 For the longest time he starts out in his bed and find his way to ours in the middle of the night. Even at three he is a major cuddler. Now we are transitioning to night time visits taking place on a mat on the floor, with the next step staying in his bed all night. Hopefully that will be accomplished before the new baby comes in May! We aren’t cosleeping with the next one because we bought a new mattress and it is way too soft. I have mixed feelings about this, but I’ll push the bassinet as close to the bed as possible and if all else fails we’ll just sleep in the guest bedroom! haha
    Liz Millay recently posted…Let The Little Children Come – Play Through The Bible – Week 22My Profile

    • Reply Bestofbaby March 2, 2015 at 10:02 pm

      That seems like a very good way to transition him into independent sleeping! And I love having a cuddly son…it’s the sweetest! 🙂

  • thelifejolie@gmail.com'
    Reply Jessy @ The Life Jolie March 2, 2015 at 11:54 am

    I’m all for parents choosing what works for them and would never judge another parent for cosleeping, but reading this further cements why we don’t cosleep. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    I stopped by from Mom-2-Mom Monday link up.
    Jessy @ The Life Jolie recently posted…Whole Roasted Chicken RecipeMy Profile

    • Reply Bestofbaby March 2, 2015 at 10:01 pm

      Hahaha yes I could see why this post might solidify that notion. I will say, the little co-sleeping we did (for naps) was a whole lot easier when he was younger and not able to thrash quite so much.

  • monica.geglio@mommyandlove.com'
    Reply Monica Geglio March 2, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    This is my experience with co-sleeping exactly! I love snuggling with my toddler, but she is relentless when it comes to choosing where and how she will sleep and make my night of sleep miserable. Plus, she grinds her teeth like crazy. It’s worse than my husband’s snoring.

    • Reply Bestofbaby March 2, 2015 at 9:59 pm

      Ahhh the teeth grinding thing made me cringe! My toddler has done that once or twice while sleeping and it makes my skin crawl.

  • deliberatemom@gmail.com'
    Reply Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom March 2, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    LOL I totally loved the disclaimer at the end.

    I could not co-sleep. I tried and tried and then finally gave up because maybe it just wasn’t right for us?!

    Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed the chuckle.
    xoxo
    Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom recently posted…10 Child-Friendly Ways to Relieve StressMy Profile

    • Reply Bestofbaby March 2, 2015 at 9:58 pm

      Yea I didn’t manage it with my son until he was over a year old…and then it was only doable for naps (for a while, that was the only way he’d nap) when I didn’t really NEED to sleep. But yea, I think it’s great for some families, and not so much for others.

  • michelle.ruth.brown@gmail.com'
    Reply Michelle March 2, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    Hahaha so silly that you need a disclaimer… I love this! It reminds me of this graphic http://i.imgur.com/J2BRj.jpg

    • Reply Bestofbaby March 2, 2015 at 9:55 pm

      Oh my gosh I love that graphic! I was going through and thinking to myself “check! check! Yep, been there done that!”

  • oneruudmom@gmail.com'
    Reply Jules Ruud March 2, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    Awww, I cannot c0-sleep with my one year old anymore because he likes to poke my eyeballs and stick his fingers up my nose and in my mouth. There comes a time when it just does not work anymore. I sure do miss it though. #MommyMeetupMondays
    Jules Ruud recently posted…Mommy Meetup Mondays Week ThirteenMy Profile

    • Reply Bestofbaby March 2, 2015 at 9:54 pm

      Yes that’s totally how I feel! I loved it when he was younger and a bit less…forceful. Now it’s just not that pleasant.

  • bblaze87@gmail.com'
    Reply Brandyn March 2, 2015 at 10:11 pm

    This post totally reminded me why I stopped co-sleeping! Thanks for the giggles (and sorry the little one wasn’t feeling well!)

    Thanks for linking up with us at #MommyMeetupMondays!
    Brandyn recently posted…Mommy Meetup Mondays Week #13My Profile

  • jsdimas84@gmail.com'
    Reply Jessica Dimas March 2, 2015 at 11:22 pm

    OMG….I’m dying. Seriously dying LOL. This is my life like every night for the past 4 years (please don’t judge my intelligence level, I’ve never been able to reclaim my bed since that first fatal mistake) so anyway, YEAH, I can completely relate to all of these!!!!
    Jessica Dimas recently posted…8 Ways to Own Your LifeMy Profile

  • eucalyptica@hotmail.com'
    Reply Jenny @ Unremarkable Files March 3, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    This is me every time I decide to invite one of the kids into our bed!
    Jenny @ Unremarkable Files recently posted…If You Elect Me in the 2015 BloggiesMy Profile

  • Reply My SCARY MOMMY Debut! – Best of Baby March 4, 2015 at 6:31 am

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  • aprilard1@yahoo.com'
    Reply April March 4, 2015 at 10:39 am

    I can relate to this. I slept in the recliner trying to comfort my sick toddler last night. Neither of us slept.. Kids do better in their own space (and so do I).

    • Reply Bestofbaby March 7, 2015 at 10:14 pm

      I agree! At least that’s the case for my son and I…when he’s sick, he likes to have one of us sleep next to him, but we learned our lesson…air mattress next to his bed is the way to go. He definitely sleeps better in his bed.

  • scglinn@gmail.com'
    Reply Stephanie March 6, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    We do both crib sleeping and co-sleeping. Crib for most of the night and then when he inevitably wakes up before my alarm he comes into the bed with us to “nap” until the alarm goes off. I totally feel you on the face stroking. George likes to pinch my lip and stick his finger up my nose. Not funny at 3 am. Or really anytime.
    Stephanie recently posted…The Worst JobMy Profile

    • Reply Bestofbaby March 7, 2015 at 10:10 pm

      Or anytime is right! Yea, we did the “you woke up WAY too early come to bed with us thing” for a while too….we got some precious extra hours of sleep that way until he learned to stay in his bed until his light came on (we used a timed night-light).

  • meghanflinn33@gmail.com'
    Reply Meghan March 7, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    as someone who still co-sleeps with my 2 year old son, I found this hilarious! I’m thanking God right now that I don’t have a flailer! He does like to hug me and play with my hair to fall asleep, but once he’s out I can move him and we each have our own space. But he has woken up asking to watch tv or read books before ;). I love the disclaimer at the bottom too :).

  • Mitchalycia.lowe@gmail.com'
    Reply Alycia March 8, 2015 at 10:58 am

    Haha I love this. We didn’t ever co-sleep really, the odd night but not consistently, and this is almost exactly how it turns out every time!! Haha! Great post!

    Thanks for linking up with Saturday Spotlight!!!

  • juliecookies@gmail.com'
    Reply Julie S. March 9, 2015 at 11:15 am

    Haha great post. Yea I can definitely imagine how difficult bed sharing with a moving around little munchkin can be when he wants to sleep right on you.
    Julie S. recently posted…8 Things My 4-Month-Old and I Have In CommonMy Profile

  • jmolson53@gmail.com'
    Reply Jann Olson March 10, 2015 at 10:43 pm

    Gave me a good laugh! I remember trying to co sleep with my little ones and not all it’s cracked up to be. I’ll settle fro a few moments of snuggling and then sleeping in my own bed. lol! Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

    • Reply Bestofbaby March 12, 2015 at 9:27 pm

      Yes that’s the way to do it! We’re transitioning our toddler to a twin bed, and I’m looking forward to being able to cuddle with him (doesn’t work in the toddler bed), enjoy the snuggles…and then sleep well — in my own bed 🙂

  • Reply More Than Just a Mom – Best of Baby April 17, 2015 at 6:27 pm

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  • lbp@lifebreathpresent.com'
    Reply Life Breath Present July 16, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    We have a family bed, but that doesn’t work for everyone. We’ve been doing it so long, I think we’re all adjusted to the rhythms and movements of one another. But, again, that’s our experience and it may not be the same with this next baby. We’ve yet to actually work on putting Baby Boy on his own mattress in our room, which I think will go well after a short adjustment, but that still doesn’t mean family bed with the infant will be as easy as it was with Baby Boy. 🙂

    I say, to each their own! We’re all out here trying things and seeing what works for us. I wish we didn’t have to “defend” ourselves and our individual family choices, but alas we do :/
    Life Breath Present recently posted…Music & LearningMy Profile

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