Recently I read this quote “If you are not living on the edge you are taking too much space”. I beg to disagree. I have been living on the edge for two years and how! No, I am not into bungee jumping or scuba diving and I am definitely not jumping out of a plane for thrills anytime soon. I am just a mom who has been co-sleeping with her toddler daughter since the day she was born. So, I have been literally “living life on the edge” of my bed ! And boy, is it constricted for space if you are co-sleeping with a hyperactive toddler who loves pushing you off your own bed with alarming regularity every single night. It is no surprise that I often find myself awake in the middle of the night trying to negotiate my way back into the bed !
Now, co-sleeping has been both convenient and crappy for us. I must admit that I am solely responsible for the newborn sleeping with us in our bed from the day she was born. The extreme sleep deprivation in the initial months coupled with exclusive breastfeeding left me dozing with the baby while she would still be feeding. I was just too exhausted to bother putting her in the crib every other hour and preferred that she sleep in with us. Infact, I would go so far as to say that the success of breastfeeding for me lay in learning to feed while lying down. Breastfeeding is hard and I might have given up on breastfeeding if I had to do the “pick up the baby from crib-feed her-lay her back in crib” routine 3-4 times every night. So, till this date our crib is the most useless piece of baby furniture that we own. The other big benefit of co-sleeping is that you do not need to stress about where your baby will sleep while travelling or visiting family. No need to make elaborate arrangements. The baby will just doze off by your side without much fuss. It really is very convenient for the baby albeit not so much for the parents 🙂
Ofcourse, I realized in time that co-sleeping is so much more than an effective means of battling sleep deprivation. Co-sleeping is like game theory. It is a true zero sum game. And babies are smart. Infact, they are bite sized geniuses. My daughter is an artful manipulator who manages to edge me out of my bed every night. From her “bum on my face” to her “legs on my tummy” and the ultimate “lets grab and pull out mommy’s hair”, I am quick to retreat to my corner while the princess rules the bed. I am clearly losing this game, my sanity and my sleep.
Co-sleeping is not for everyone and certainly not for the weak hearted. You might think that all the memes about co-sleeping positions are hugely exaggerated but they ARE NOT. I can vouch for the “H is for hell”, “Roundhorse Kick” and “Booby Trap”. It is especially frustrating if your spouse can sleep through the midnight assault by your little one while you are the one scrambling to defend your base and end up lying awake at odd hours at night. I don’t understand why they call it a “family bed”. It is a battlefield. Time to pull out my copy of The Art of War and start with some basic tactics to tackle my little monster!
I have a confession to make. Amidst all the kicks,tugs and nudges I have to admit that it is amazing to wake up next to a smiling monkey who only wants to snuggle and cozy up with you. Zero- sum game, truly !
photo credit: sleepyhead via photopin (license)