Friday, November 19, 2010

Counting Sheep

It's no secret that bed time in our house is a nightmare. Not so much the initial going to sleep process, many nights Baby Bear crawls right out of my arms into her cozy bed and kicks me out, but the whole sleeping through the night thing. While she was teething her most recent molar she screamed every time I tried to put her back in her own bed after nursing in the middle of the night. It was exhausting and the only way she wanted to sleep was snug in my arm on the bed that sits next to her crib, lets be honest, porta crib (we bought a full size co-sleeper and just lowered it rather than spending the money on a huge A crib we didn't have room for before the move). Then came the hives and two days of being in our bed, sleeping with her hands entangled in my hair, feet propped on my belly, head snugged on my super comfy pillow (that I've hoarded since I was a teenager, it's the best and even The Bear knows it), ruined her. She went from not sleeping well in our room to LOVING the family bed. She's always loved to snuggle in bed with us but for a few months she was just too excited and wiggly to fall asleep.

For me it's just easier to bring a crying baby into bed with us because I know she'll sleep the rest of the night and the thought of using the nightstand as a pillow is sometimes better than trying to constantly go to a baby who flips every time I put her back down. It's easier emotionally anyway. Most mornings I wake up pretty sore but not exhausted. The Bear, on the other hand, doesn't love it. He rarely complains, about anything I do, but inside it's there. The thought that never again will he ever let a child co-sleep with us. He likes our bed to be for us. He likes to be the one to curl up on my pillow with his face pressed into the back of my neck. It's his territory and he likes it that way.

I don't know what the future holds for us and our sometimes family bed. I know that the thought of fighting a child on sleeping with us if that's what they really really want is hard for me. I hate letting Baby Bear cry because I'm so tired of rocking, for hours on bad nights, while she sleeps in my arms that I have to just put her down and go to bed. I hate that she still struggles so much when it comes to sleeping at night.

I know that she is more attached to me than ever and that only seems to be increasing. She comes over to my arms for a cuddle often through out the day while playing. She just needs to rest her head on my mama chest for a moment to be reminded that I am there. When she is sleeping peacefully next to me, stirring and reaching out to wrap her arms around my warm body, I know I am doing what humans did with their children for centuries before the invention of cribs, crying it out, and houses big enough for designer nurseries. feels right. I wish it didn't. It's a subject of disagreement for us and it would be easier if, just once, I could roll over and do what The Bear thinks is best instead of getting all emotional and maternal while I over analyze what sort of damage I might be doing to my child if I let her "manipulate" us on sleep routines or don't. I hate that word, manipulate. No one has successfully convinced me that a baby crying because being with mama is the best feeling in the world and nothing compares to that sort of emotional and physical euphoria is manipulation.

I just read this really great blog on Babycenter about this very subject, which prompted my post. I've read her blog before and I love it. She has a great writing style and I love the French thrown in here and there.

I have to mention that since her molar is in and another hasn't begun to break yet she has been doing better at night. She slept through the night once and has gone down like an angel every other night waking to nurse but going back to bed immediately and not making any fuss whatsoever. Maybe this is her meeting us in the middle. Simply on her own terms. So like her mother.....

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