I always thought that someday, when I had children, co-sleeping would be one of the highlights of parenthood. It’s the perfect way to spend quality family time together. Who wouldn’t want to wake up with a small child nestled in the crook of your arm? The image is intoxicating. Dark butterfly lashes resting on chubby baby cheeks. Little fingers and toes curling up beneath the covers. Soft sweet breaths on shared fluffy pillows. Oh, the cuddles! Oh, the memories!
I was mistaken.
Co-sleeping with little children isn’t for the faint of heart. I know, because we tried it this morning for ten minutes. My pulse is still racing six hours later. I’m not sure how other parents deal with this through an ENTIRE night, unless they drink heavily. (The parents, not the children.)
Allow me to paint the picture from this morning. The bedroom was dark. My husband won my temporary gratitude by getting the kids and letting me lie down. Both children popped awake at the crack of dawn because it’s the weekend and that’s what they do. I was enjoying the peace and quiet, when the door cracked open. A ray of light cut through the darkness and hit me squarely in the face. There was a figure in the doorway. It was my husband. He carried my 2-year old daughter in his arms. My five-year old son came bounding into the room right after him.
No. NO. NO!!!!!!!!!!!! Panicked, I thought about hiding. They hadn’t seen me yet. The room was dark and their eyes were still adjusting. Unfortunately, before I could slip off the mattress and belly-crawl under the bed, they spotted me. A chorus of high-pitched “Mommy’s” ensued.
“Mommy, I want to lie down next to Daddy. I want to lie down next to Daddy.”
“Mommy, I have Pooh! I want Tigger! Tigger! Tigger! I want Tigger!”
“Mommy, I don’t want to lie down in here. I want to go downstairs.”
“Mommy, I want Mommy! I want Mommy!”
Groaning, I rolled over and faced my family. My son leapt onto the bed and flopped around like a tuna hitting the deck of a fisherman’s boat. My husband deposited my daughter, AND POOH-BEAR, AND TIGGER, on the bed next to me. Both of the stuffed animals are about her size, so it was almost like having four kids on the bed with us instead of just two. Delightful.
My daughter refused to lay down until I moved over to make room for her stuffed friends on my pillow. The spacious bed suddenly felt like a postage stamp. I nearly slipped off the edge when she hit me on the head with Tigger and ordered me to wake up. She had the nerve to look adorable, so I felt myself weaken. Maybe this would be the morning when the “co-sleeping” magic happened?
Through some miracle, my husband and I coaxed the kids to actually lie down. The room was silent. I tightened my arm around my daughter and placed a kiss on her dark head. Yay! We were like the commercials on TV! We were co-sleeping and it was bliss! Well, maybe not technically co-sleeping, but we were all lying down in the same bed, and it was peaceful. I reveled in the moment.
That moment lasted for 5.46 seconds. My son slipped out of my husband’s grasp and did a flip that would make a ninja proud. It placed him squarely in the opposite direction as the rest of us. His head lay hear the foot of the bed and his feet were an inch from my husband’s face.
“Nifty Gilifty!” My son pulled the sheets over his head. I knew what was coming. I’m no stranger to Daniel Tiger and his freaking little blue owl friend. I grabbed my daughter and pulled her onto my pillow before the first scissor kick landed on her face.
While my son pretended to swim, my daughter sat up. Completely unperturbed by the chaos on her left, she turned and shoved her dainty foot in my face. “Piggies! Mommy, I want piggies!” I gently pulled her toe out of my nose before sneezing.
Suddenly, I smelled something. Gagging, I gasped out. “Who passed gas?”
My son laughed uproariously. A glance at my husband told me that he was trying not to laugh. “You’re welcome,” my tiny daughter replied, shoving Pooh bear in my face. “Pooh pooped.”
My son sat up, craning his head from left to right, while doing raspberries. “Look, Mommy! I’m a water fountain.” My daughter giggled and performed raspberries with less finesse. A spray of saliva landed on my cheek.
“Well, you wanted family time,” my husband grinned at me, as I grabbed a tissue and wiped the moisture from my face. “This is family time.”
I suppose it is. Oh, the precious memories.