Long ago, when I used to fantasize about my perfect family, I thought I would be a co-sleeping parent. I longed to snuggle up to that warm, squishy infant and listen to them breathe.
Life, it turns out, had other plans. Tristan and I just didn’t sleep well together, right from day one. Subsequent backup plans failed, one after the other: the cradle (which my parents took apart and lovingly scraped, sanded, stained and reassembled for their first grandchild) only lasted a few weeks before my 11 lb 4 oz newborn outgrew it. Having his crib in our room only worked for a few more months before he became too engrossed in our every move to be able to sleep in the same room as us. Tristan was kicked to his own room at 5 months, and has been sleeping great ever since.
Fastforward 2 years. Here was my chance to try again. For a glorious week Cora and I slept together. It made nursing easier, and it was so lovely to cuddle. Then, it stopped working. Just like that. Like her brother, she just didn’t want to sleep with me.
On to the cradle. That worked better, as she was a more reasonable size (only 8 lb 15 at birth, a real lightweight). We managed to get two months out of the cradle this time. Then, again, on to the crib in the room.
This worked better, for a while. Until, again, suddenly it didn’t. We went from being able to talk in bed without fear of disturbing her, to suddenly having to undress in the hallway, tiptoe in holding our breaths, and slide into the sheets, praying she wouldn’t wake up.
The last two weeks, as Tristan has been adjusting to life with no soother, I’ve moved into the guest room. When he wakes up screaming, if I have to run past the crib to get to him then I have two screaming kids on my hands (which happens every few nights anyway – our walls and doors are thin and my kids are LOUD). At least sleeping in a different room than Cora gives me a chance that she’ll stay asleep.
Things finally came to a head a few nights ago. The guest room had a guest in it, and I was up and down with both kids at the same time twice in the same night. Turns out it’s just not possible to comfort a toddler who’s having a panic attack while nursing a baby at the same time.
Time to admit that Cora and I just can’t sleep in the same room any more. If somebody is going to be in the guest room, it might as well be her. So I texted mom and dad , begging for help, and being the good sports (read, angels) that they are, they came right over. A little bit of sweat later and some creative maneuvering, and we now have a nursery. I hated giving the guest room up, but sanity trumps hospitality.
Now, I know the question you’re burning to ask is this – has it improved the sleep situation? Too early to say – Cora is still adjusting to the new digs. She naps better, and goes to sleep well, but has been up crying a lot in the night. Which is why I’m finishing a blog post at 2:20am instead of happily sawing logs. If I have to listen to her cry, I might as well do something useful.
So, if you were planning to come for a visit – too bad! Just kidding, we still have 3 couches and two of them are comfy. It just means you’ll be in the living room listening to my kids cry instead of behind a closed door listening to them cry. Appealing, non?
Okay, it’s quiet now. I’m going to bed. Wish me luck!