* This one comes with a language warning*
One of my friends was bemoaning the fact that her three year old still sleeps in the marital bed at night, and it reminded me that lots of people actually consider this a nuisance.
I’ve spent the last five years co-sleeping with both of my kids, so it’s just how we roll around here and – if I’m being honest with myself – I know that a tiny part of me will die inside when my youngest no longer wants to co-sleep with his mama.
It made me think about the reasons I love co-sleeping. And the reasons I hate it.
REASONS I LOVE CO-SLEEPING
- The look on their little faces when I wake up
My eldest always woke up beaming. As soon as he saw my eyes opening his little face would light up with a smile so ecstatic it made the Dalai Lama look like Cruella de Ville. He would literally radiate. No one has EVER been that happy to see me. Not even my own mother.
My youngest always wakes up scowling: cursed with a wicked case of existential grumps far beyond the emotional scope of any normal three year old. There are no salutations. Our mornings start with a curtly-issued set of commands for exactly the same breakfast every single day, like I’m a total dumb-fuck.
“MAKE my LUNCH, Mum!”
(He stubbornly insists that breakfast is called “lunch”. I’ve learnt that it’s best not to correct him)
“I want JAM, PEANUT BUTTER and BUTTER. On SOFT bread”.
Sometimes he can be utterly divine. My favourite days start with “GIVE me a HUG, Mum” (always with the commands, this kid) or the occasional “I LUB you Mum” with a kiss on the cheek. *swoon*
- The warm, sleepy cuddles
There is nothing better than sleepy cuddles with your babies. NOTHING.
Anyone who says otherwise probably spends their free time crotch-punting teddy bears, scowling at rainbows and telling toddlers that Santa isn’t real.
Babies grow up way too fast. Co-sleeping sneaks in extra cuddles.
- The sound of their soft breathing
I love waking up in the middle of the night and hearing my babies breathe, in that total creeper way that mums have. It’s the sweetest sound in the world.
Bleary with nocturnal hormones, I’ll often have this surreal moment that makes me go “Woah, dude. You MADE that!”, like some sort of self-congratulatory stoner-epiphany. (Yes, my internal dialogue at midnight sounds a lot like a dopey one-liner from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure).
Not so sweet when he’s snoring, because it’s more like Samuel L. Jackson from Snakes on a Plane. “ENOUGH is ENOUGH. I have HAD it with this motherfucking SNORING in this motherfucking BED!”
- Everyone gets a better night’s sleep
Co-sleeping was the key to unbroken sleep for everyone in our house. For us it was preferable to camping out on bedroom floors, pacing the hallways or playing multiple games of “bed tag” with tiny midnight runners. And 3am runners. And 5am runners. I know it doesn’t work for everyone but it’s been a godsend here, and instead of enforcing who sleeps where we’d rather just sleep. My five year old started sleeping in his own bed when he was ready. I know that my three year old will too. And soon. *sob*
REASONS I HATE CO-SLEEPING
- My child uses me as a pillow
Being used like a pillow is basically your kid’s way of asserting their inalienable right to treat you like an object for their convenience at all times, despite any discomfort it causes. To put it in animal terms, it’s like a dog pissing on a telegraph pole as a sign of ownership. It essentially means you will have a small child slumped over various parts of you like a dead weight all night long. Polar fleece does not breathe. Nor will you when your kid arches his lower back over your airways.
- Roundhouse kicks to the face hurt
There is nothing more invigorating than being woken by a onesie-clad roundhouse kick to the face. Unless it’s a perfectly-aimed headbutt that connects with the bridge of your nose. Or a viciously swinging arm that threatens to knock your teeth out. Co-sleeping often mimics the physical dynamic of a mixed-martial arts bout. When cuddles become choke-holds and snuggles give way to a swift kick in the guts, your shared space is more “cage fight” than “sleep tight”.
- Being squished into a tiny corner of the bed
We’ve seen the memes: mum or dad tucked into a tiny corner while a pint-sized toddler commandeers the entire bed. That shit is funny because it’s true. And when I say that shit is funny, I mean that it’s not fucking funny at all. There’s only so many times you can wake up with your head slung awkwardly over the side of the bed like a chiropractor’s wet dream. I love that my kid loves me, but I wish it wasn’t the suffocating kind of love that squishes me into a corner while the remaining 95% of the bed is completely empty.
Co-sleeping: it’s like Baby Fight Club. With cuddles.