September 2014 archive

There were 3 in the bed…

3 in bed simple

Yep, that’s my bed I’m talking about. And if I am going to be completely honest and accurate there are really 5 in the bed if you count Teddy and Iggle Piggle. So that’s me, my partner, our 2 year old Sweet Pea, a loved and much worn teddy bear and a blue soft toy of indescriminate species, all sleeping (or not sleeping as the case may sometimes be!) in a queen size bed.

Before Sweet Pea was born I was adamantly against co-sleeping. My previous work as a grief counsellor with SIDS and Kids had strongly coloured my views about sharing a sleeping space with a baby. I have worked with many families whose babies had died as the result of co-sleeping accidents. Families whose lives have been ripped apart by the simple action of sleeping with their babies next to them. I do need to preface this comment with the fact that many of these families unfortunately had not known about, or had not followed, the safe sleeping guidelines for co-sleeping which can be found here.

Just after Sweet Pea was born by emergency c-section and I was struggling to come to terms with a screaming, hungry baby and my inability to move the lower half of my body I remember a midwife in the middle of that first hazy night telling to just lie my baby beside me in the bed and let her feed. I strongly protested this – I was terrified of rolling on her, suffocating her, falling asleep myself – all the situations I had heard about and witnessed second hand. My knowledge of co-sleeping situations gone horribly wrong would not, could not, leave my mind.

When we brought our little girl home her unsettled nature continued. She would not sleep without being in our arms and even then we would describe her as sleeping in “bursts’ – an not very bloody long ones! She seemed eternally unhappy, unsettled and upset – and so were we. I would attempt to “sleep” by propping myself up in bed and leaning against the wall with Sweet Pea tucked into the crook of my arm. All pillows were abandoned as I was beyond anxious at the thought of one covering her face and stopping her breathing. This went on for weeks and weeks and weeks… To say we were all exhausted would be a huge understatement.

Even as she grew Sweet Pea would fight sleep with all her might. I would rock and rock and rock often to only put her in her cot and have her straight away open her eyes and scream to be picked up again.

I was sick of fighting. I was sick of not sleeping. I was sick of hearing my little girl cry. And so I brought her into bed with us. And she slept. And we slept – well, some nights it’s a bit crowded and those middle of the night kicks to the face are a real killer, but for the most part we do all sleep. My hesitations about co-sleeping have dissipated now that Sweet Pea is older and bigger and my mothering instinct is not clouded by fear, memory and exhaustion. This is not a situation I ever thought we would be in as parents – I was always clear that my child would sleep in her own bed, in her own room. This is not a situation that I wanted for myself and my partner – we are working on ways to make sure we don’t lose our connections with each other as a result of our daughter sharing our bed. This is not a situation that I necessarily wanted but it is definitely what we need at the moment. Our Sweet Pea is happy (for the most part!) and confidant and bed time is no longer the almighty struggle that it once was. To me that says that something is working, and you know what they say when something is working…

How about you? Are you a co-sleeper or is it a no-no? I would love to hear your sleeping (or not sleeping!) stories


24 Hours

Fiji 2014 051

A co-worker flew out last Friday on a spontaneous trip to Canada to visit one of her best friends. In the lead up to her trip she was talking about how she was looking forward to Canada and seeing her friend but dreading the twenty four hour plane trip. That’s when I knew I was in a bad way. All I could think about as she was talking was that twenty four hours. Twenty four hours. On a plane. BY HERSELF!!! I wanted to buy those hours from her. Twenty four hours to just sit, and read or watch movies, or listen to music. Twenty four hours to day dream and watch the antics of the people around you. Twenty hours where other people brought you food and drinks and little pillows to prop up your weary head. Twenty four hours where someone else cleaned up your mess. Twenty four hours to sleep and drink- tea, or more likely – vodka!

Before you deliberate on my actual level of crazy – yes, I have been on a long haul flight before – several in fact. I know what it’s like to be crammed into a seat next to people with varying levels of personal hygiene and then have to climb over several pairs of legs and traverse narrow feet filled corridors just to do a pee. I know how bad cattle class is – and yet I am still yearning…

Yearning for Twenty four hours just for me – I would endure a cross the world flight just to get to me!!

And now all I can do is dream about what I would do with Twenty four hours all to myself. Things like:

–          Read, read and then read some more. And not just snippets from magazines and websites – I would read one of those enticing books that seem to keep piling up beside my bed.

–          Sleep. To be fair, now that Sweet Pea is two I do get some good solid sleep over night but I really miss my lazy sleep ins (just being able to sleep in until a time when my body clock says it is time to wake up and not when a two year old demands to watch Peppa Pig!) and afternoon naps on the lounge.

–          Watch a movie, a whole movie, with no interruptions. A movie that does not contain a Disney character.

–          Go to the toilet without the “mummy, mummy where are you” song being sung outside the door.

–          Go shopping – without a list and without a time frame.

–          Make myself lunch – a healthy, wholesome and filling lunch (instead of my usual left over peanut butter sandwich crusts).

–          Go for a walk in the sun – without a pram

–           Drink a cocktail, or two…

How about you? What would you do with an elusive twenty four hours all to yourself?



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