It’s been a rough week. We’re all sick with nasty colds and coughs, no one is sleeping well, and everyone is extra needy. There have been no less than four people in our bed every night. I know for some people the family bed is the norm, but not for us. My husband works long hours and does not sleep well as it is, and anyone who’s ever shared a sleeping space with a child knows how much space a tiny little human can somehow take up, so bed sharing on a regular basis just doesn’t work for us. Once they begin sleeping through the night, usually around 12 months for our kids so far, they’re moved into their own bed.
I have to admit, I love having my girls snuggled up asleep next me. Whenever my husband travels for work we have sleepovers, it’s become our special tradition. Their little jammies and soft breathing, it’s just the sweetest thing. And I love the excuse to let them sneak in on the rare occasions when they’re sick or have bad dreams. But there are five of us now. And this week there are five of us with runny noses, headaches and coughs that keep us up all night. The baby is comfort nursing all night long. I can hear the girls coughing away in their room, and at some point in the night I hear the little footsteps coming across the hall ready to snuggle up in our bed.
Last night I lay awake, in the very center of a 5 person sandwich, thinking about when I was a kid and used to sneak into my moms bed when I wasn’t feeling well or had had a bad dream. My mom’s bed was a magical place. It was enormous, this vast sea of cozy blankets and pillows, and I could creep in and curl up on one side unnoticed until morning. She had a small tv at the far corner and my brother and I would watch Fraggle Rock and You Can’t Do That On Television and pretend that the bed was a boat and the blue carpet beneath was shark-infested waters that we were each trying to push the other person into. Whenever she’d go out at night I’d camp out in her bed with popcorn watching Nick at Night and trying on all her clothes and jewelry. Her room was the ultimate safe place for me and her bed was the centerpiece, and I remember how comforting it was to be this tiny little person in this great big bed. I want my girls to have that feeling. I want them to know that they can always come in and snuggle up if they need comfort or company. I want them to know that my room and my bed, and essentially my world, are never off limits to them.
All of that being said, and all of that being true, there is still another reality to co-sleeping with three sick children: it’s hot, it’s cramped, it’s loud, it’s smelly, there’s always a foot or a fist jammed somewhere unpleasant, and I “wake up” with a crippling set of aches and pains. I say “wake up” in quotes because I’m pretty sure I never actually slept, though I did google the lyrics to Oats, Peas, Beans and Barley Grow as well as all the songs from Emmett Otter’s Jug Band Christmas. Despite three cups of coffee, I was a real beast today and we were all getting no each other’s nerves so we packed it up and headed out to the library to stock up on enough books to get us through the rest of this winter (my choices are pictured below). I’m charging my book light and getting ready for another long night, but fingers are crossed that we all get a good night’s sleep and wake up feeling better because we’re scheduled to go on seal walk with our science co-op tomorrow and I do not want to miss that!!