Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sleeping spaces and musical beds

The hand drawn artwork given to my wee girl from her aunt on her first birthday ~ for her bedroom wall.


In his wisdom, quite a few months ago, my beloved declared that we would all sleep better if the wee girl had her own bed; AND her own bedroom. My heart was not in agreeance and i dilly dallied... we would need to paint the wall (the previous owners had a very pink wall in the room earmarked ~ the only room left of three) and she would need new curtains and a block out blind...and it is so hot in there; a celing fan would need to be installed. Then of course what if people came to stay? where would they sleep? my stalling earned us a few more months of snuggled sleeplessness.

Unfortunately the wee girl does not value her own nor anyone else's sleep. Our big girl seemed genetically programmed from reasonably early on to love sleep. We lived in a cold climate when she was born and winter is grey and dark and very cold why get up when bed is so snug seemed to be her motto - and indeed snug as a wee bug between her mum, dad and her favourite black cat.

The big girl still sleeps in out bed for part of each night ~ all night if she can swindle it ~ the bed was rather cramped with the four of us even before the odd cat tried to join in. But even that was not it for her dad, it was the constant waking of the wee one, every two hours searching for a breastfeed for no other reason than she loves it... i was quite tired too (who am i kidding I AM quite tired) so after all the stalling, just before her first birthday her room was set up.

It also required: the dismantling of the bunk beds from her sister's room because she declared she wanted her old bed (the double wrought iron antique one with pretty ceramic roses) back in her room ~ it had been in the guest room until then. With the change of beds her room needed remodeling to suit, so a fair bit of furniture shifting and hole patching ensued. The cot, relatively unused needed to be pulled apart to get it into it's new room and one of the the bunk beds then set up as a single bed next to the cot.

Oh! how could i forget? with all the bed shifting we now had a single bed, it's mattress, ladder, guard rails and the cradle which had no where to go ~ tis ok my beloved, quite determined to have his bed back it would seem ~ built a loft in the garage to store it all!

So, the night came where no more stalling could i do and the wee girl went to sleep in her cot in a room down the corridoor from what was the family bed, i slept in there with her. The big girl and her dad slept in the 'big' bed. when the wee one woke we slept in the single bed together. So for me the venue changed and i now shared a single bed rather than a queen - the big girl and her dad slept in bliss with their arms and legs splayed.

Over the last couple of weeks I have made my way back to our bed for about half of each night (the first half), the big girl has occassionally slept in her own bed, my beloved has even slept in the single bed. All of us barr the wee one have slept in the big antique bed. Yet each morning i am still woken by little fingers twirling my hair and a little bah, bah, bah song.

I am really tired but the more I think about it the more i realise that sleeplessness, night feeding, bed sharing is really what you are willing to tolerate and for how long. I have read all the books and talked at length to loads of people about 'solutions'. The only one that sits well with me is waiting; waiting for her to grow and need me a little less. I love her soft little body against mine, I love her snuffly breathing just like i love my big girl's long arms and legs draped over me and the tickle of her hair on my face. I love the solid warmth of my husband and to be able to reach out and know he is there ~ why would a baby, a child or another adult love those things any less?

11 comments:

Linda said...

I loved reading this Shannon:) There were tears rolling down my cheeks at the end:)
xo

Nadja Magdalena said...

So sweet..my husband and I have always had a smallish bed, so co-sleeping ends all too early, but my 12 month-old is in our room still, and I cannot bring myself to move her to the crib in the room across the hall. Fortunately, my husband has said nothing about it. Had I a large enough bedroom, I think I'd have all six children in with me!

Shannon said...

Thank you Linda - you are a softie...just like me :)

Nadja, your words remind me of a book called the biggest bed in the world by Lindsay Camp http://www.amazon.com/Biggest-Bed-World-Lindsay-Camp/dp/0060286873#_ perhaps we too just need to get a bigger bed!

The Mama. said...

I remember something similar when my wee one was 17 months old... daddy insisting that her own bed and own room would solve the night waking... all that resulted was mummy and baby in the spare room and the boys in the king sized bed!

Now, its not uncommon to have 5 in the bed (includes a certain moggy who thinks her place is under the covers no less!). And even when they aren't in with us, they were to be found snuggled up together. So much so we just moved one of their beds out of their room and they go off to slumber land sharing one double bed. Tis very very cute.
XX

Melissa said...

Oh I hear you, Shannon! Mia and I are in Lily's room, squeezed into a single bed, while Paul and Lily luxuriate in the Queen. But I relish the closeness with my littlest too. Such special times.

erin said...

What a strong mommy you are. I just talked about my little dilemma with my 4 year old waking up and me up in the middle of the night. She sleeps with us a lot still because of her bad dreams, but when she has a solid night's sleep, its the best thing in the world!

Hip Mountain Mama said...

did you aunt draw that? i am in love with that drawing...if you know where i might get something similar can you please email me suzy@hipmountainmama.com

thanks
suzy

Shannon said...

Suzy, my sister-in-law drew it for the wee girl ~ it is stunning isn't it and it is not a very good photograph so the amazing detail is not clear. I will ask her and email you :)

ecoMILF said...

Thank you so much for sharing this link with me. I so needed it right now. I really am fighting something I don't have to. Nighttimes aren't too bad for me, but what I am struggling with is naptimes because it seems to take her so long to nod off. I either have to lie there for 20-30 minutes feeding her to sleep (and even then she sometimes wakes and I have to start all over again) or I can put a dummy in her mouth. I was so against the dummy but I am finding it's beginning to be unfair for my 2 year old- me spending so much time nursing Indigo to sleep. Any ideas or suggestions about that having an older one too? xo m.

deux chiens et un garcon said...

hello, i just read your comment on ecomilf and needed to read your own post. I have been really struggling in this zone for months now, so very keen to hear other experiences. i have been the only mother in my mothers group who has co slept so often felt a bit isolated on this topic. but of late my son really has not been sleeping well with us and wants to feed all night and has not really been interested in solids. even though in our bed he wakes every 1-2 hours thrashes around. I feel guilty but i have reached a point that I just can't physically cope with the marathon night feeds anymore. but the process of transitioning him to his own bed/cot has been very hard and we have gone back and forwards many times. gradually with love we have been able to get him to sleep longer and not needing a suckle for him to resettle. This week after say 3 months of trying I have been able to get down to a 2am and 5 am night feed only. I found Elizabeth Pantley's book, no cry sleep solutions quite helpful. But unfortunately there has been some grizzle and a few tears from me.

M. Bloom said...

An older post I stumbled across, but I just had to comment...

Since my first little man was 6 months old we've had "musical beds" in our house, too... My motto around here these days is: 3 beds, 3 men, one night... One wee, round little man, one long & leggy 7 year old and my sweet husband...