We’re sharing our bed with Lyra, for a variety of reasons. One of these is quite simply the fact that we have chosen to do so as parents. I’m happy to share the rest of our reasons upon request, if anyone is that interested. The above link has some good articles on the subject.
I’ve had a few people (all of them dads, now that I think about it) tell me to hurry up and get the baby into her own bed, because they still have their child crawling into bed with them in the mornings as toddlers. I haven’t said much in response, really, because right now I don’t feel as though that’s a problem. This is my daughter, my family, and I don’t feel as though I need to separate my sleeping self from my family life.
Some of my favourite memories as a child are of sharing a bed with my mother. There were nights I would climb into bed and sleep with her (my dad was either on night shift, or sleeping in a separate bedroom for various reasons.) My mom and I would talk about all sorts of things, from the frivolous and flippant to more serious conversations, and I always felt welcome there. I sincerely think a large part of our close relationship when I was growing up was due to those times we shared that are often considered ‘private time’ or something – sharing her bed, or sitting in the bathroom talking to her while she took a bath. I remember these times with a lot of happiness.
Lyra doesn’t like to be alone, for reasons unknown to those of us who are not babies. Or maybe it’s just natural for a helpless being to realized that if it is alone it is potentially in danger. Because let’s face it, we are animals too. This was half of the accidental reason she started sleeping with me. The other half was because it was so hard for me to get in and out of bed for the first month after the C-section.
I kept believing that maybe we’d get her into the bassinet for sleeping at night. I’ve moved on from this thought – I actually really enjoy sharing our bed, now that we have a system figured out. I’m also working on getting Lyra to nap in the bassinet during the day – it is becoming more successful with each attempt. But I no longer want to move her into the bassinet at night. I’m happy to start her in the bassinet, and move her into bed with us when we go to sleep, and we’re starting to reach that point.
So back to the admonition from other people – "Make sure you move her out of your bed AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!" I don’t want to. I don’t need my bed to be a private place where no kids are allowed. As for physically intimate time with Adam – once I’m more interested (wow, does breastfeeding ever lower your libido! But that’s another subject altogether, perhaps for another post) we can find a place and time without that much trouble – especially if Lyra is sleeping in the bassinet in the early evening, or for naps. I’m so tired by the time we go to bed that even if we did have it to ourselves I wouldn’t want to do anything then anyhow.
Right at this moment, Lyra is sleeping in the bassinet for a nap. I’m focusing today on convincing her to sleep in there, using some extreme patience and letting her know that I’m here and she’s safe. She’s been in there for half an hour now, waking up in a little bit of a panic about six or seven times so far, but allowing me to calm her back down to sleep. This is a small success for me. If she can nap in the bassinet, I can work on things that require two hands, like writing and cooking and laundry.
So in a few years when Lyra’s got her own room and still wants to climb into bed with mommy & daddy, will I be frustrated by it? I don’t really know, but right now, I can’t imagine feeling that way. I don’t equate bed exclusively with privacy, or with sex, or anything along those lines. Maybe for some intimacy with their partner can be rediscovered by keeping children out of their bed. I think I’d rather find another way to redefine my relationship with Adam. I really am heading towards writing about that next, aren’t I?