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.
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.
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? Yes! Ok, time to do the final checks on the home security camera alarm system before we go to sleep.
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…
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.
*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…
Dang it, he just woke up. No son, we cannot watch Daniel Tiger. It’s midnight.
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.
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….
Dang it, he just woke up again. And here we go with the face stroking… (note to self: wash face thoroughly in the morning)
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.
Forget that. I’m getting lightheaded. Let me just geeently roll him over….
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.
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?
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 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)