Wednesday, February 22, 2006

it works for us

Over on Rancid Raves today, Cagey wrote about co-sleeping, and that's what I was thinking about today too, then I got distracted by Daniel's smiles and couldn't decide on a neat enough segue to include some crap about his sleeping habits in my last entry. Also, I am lazy.


Daniel sleeps with me. He has since we were in hospital as he'd just been born and it made sense to keep him with me. While he'd have no doubt quickly learned to lie peacefully in his crib beside my bed, I wasn't ready to give him up when he'd just spent the last nine months so incredibly close to me. I certainly didn't judge the other new mothers in the ward, but I did wonder how they were able to separate from their babies with the cut of the umbilical cord, when I could not.

When he naps in the day, he sleeps wrapped in electrical cabling next to my bed, and at night, he starts out there until I come to bed. When I do, I clatter about, putting on lights and noisily turning the pages of my book until he wakes up. Then, with his first squawk of consciousness, I call him a poor thing for not being able to sleep on his own (*ahem*) as I bodily pluck him out of his bed and plonk him firmly into mine. The next eight hours are the absolute best of the day. Daniel sleeps by my side, and when he wakes for a feed, he does so either draped over my chest or tucked in the crook of my arm. We wake and sleep together for the most part, but peacefully, both of us stiring awake as the need arises. At other times though, I'll wake briefly to find him already awake, amusing himself as his legs kick and his arms punch the air. Those times, he doesn't need me as I'm already there, so I go back to sleep and our quiet night continues until he settles himself and joins me in dreamland. I worry about this not being A Good Thing at the same time that I know it is because, left alone, no baby could go for that amount of time without crying for attention.

Despite all this, I'm not all about attachment parenting (though honestly, I'm not really sure of the extent of what that means, so I probably shouldn't deny it with such certainty) I just like holding my son. I pick him up when he cries because I'd much prefer he cries to leave my arms, than to cry because he's not in them. In some ways, or from some perspectives maybe, my life is more, what is it? Complicated? Complex? because of simple differences resulting from my style of care. For example, Daniel is a bit of a loaded gun with the stroller as when we go out, I prefer to use a sling, and now, so does he, but because I'm used to this dependency, it isn't harder to tend to Daniel than it is to tend to a child used to his stroller, it's just different. Daniel doesn't cry much, maybe because he has been held so has no need to cry to be held, or maybe because he's just one of those babies who wouldn't cry much anyway. Whatever the reason, he's happy, and so am I.

The transition from singledom to motherhood has been one of the easiest of my life, and being a mother, is easier still. It's so easy that, after all the doomsday prophecies from virtually every already-parent around me while I was pregnant, I keep thinking I must be doing something wrong. The happy boy I'm raising though, with the chubby cheeks and the dimpled thighs tell me I'm doing things right enough for him to be absolutely thriving. I'm doing things right for us. This new job suits me, and the way I work at it suits my son.

And this is for the next wave of doomsdayers who tell me to wait! it gets harder! You're right, it will and I'll probably have to eat my words in the coming days, weeks or months, as Daniel grows and his needs change and I find out I've got nothing, nothing for this growing boy who needs more than a hug to make his day.

2005-2007© aibee