I have alluded to, on several occasions, the fact that Aidan sleeps in our bed. Now I’m just flat out talking about it.
When I was pregnant, I was all “He can sleep in our room in his bassinet, and then at the appropriate time, he’ll move to his bedroom.” Easier for breastfeeding (and bottle feeding), better at keeping me half asleep instead of having to walk down the hall. And when he moves to his room, he’ll be ready. His sleeping habits will have found their rhythm.
How little I knew…
The bassinet worked great until about four months. And by great, I mean, I got up at regular intervals to feed him. He would eventually be sleeping through the night, right?
Wrong. Not yet anyway.
And when the doctor asked at his four-month visit whether he was sleeping through the night, I said “no” with obvious disappointment. Do you know what the doctor did? He laughed. My doctor has a few kids. And despite the previous guidance he dispensed, he admitted right then and there that one of his daughters slept in his bed with him and his wife until she was four. No two kids are the same.
Shocker! Here I was thinking I was admitting some sort of failure. I failed to get Aidan on his eat-play-sleep cycle. I failed to feed him enough. I failed by pulling him into bed when he just wouldn’t go back to sleep. Or maybe I failed to read ALL the books. Because apparently that ridiculous amount of parenting literature I had read proved to be useless so far. (Except to know that none of those paths were the one for him.)
But that single piece of information he shared – his daughter slept with him and his wife until she was four – made all of us laugh out loud, and then I sighed a big sigh of relief and realized I hadn’t failed at all. Even though he’d told us before that we’d want him to be sleeping through the night by this time, and we want him to be able to soothe himself to sleep, etc., he just admitted that what we want and what ends up happening can often be different.
I also said we wouldn’t co-sleep. I was gravely afraid of it, partly because of his tiny size, partly because I had no idea how Ozgur would do with a little one in the bed, and also because of my perpetual case of sleep deprivation. But as I write this, guess who’s snuggled up in my bed, fast asleep? I’ll give you a hint. It’s not me or Ozgur.
Aidan is eight months old. He doesn’t sleep through the night without eating once or twice. And he sleeps in our bed. Smack dab in the middle of us. (By the way, Ozgur is great at it. So much of what I read said dads often don’t have the awareness to be able to sleep next to the baby. I think he’s better at it than I am.)
We didn’t make this choice because we read a book by Dr. Sears. Or even because our own doctor, definitely not a self-proclaimed APer by any means, said he’d co-slept with one of his children. It happened because that’s what Aidan needed. It’s apparently what he still needs, because despite a couple tries at the crib, he still sleeps with us. And he still eats in the middle of the night.
I looked in so many books for the answers before I had him. As many as I could get my hands on. But it didn’t take long for me to realize that Aidan’s the one with the answers to what he needs. And I continually find them by looking to him to guide me. Don’t mistake it for maternal instinct either. O knows what A needs too. So that’s how we’ve gotten here together.
It wasn’t easy until I accepted the fact that Aidan would let us know. Don’t get me wrong. He eats green beans even though he thinks he doesn’t need them. I don’t let him play with outlets because he thinks he needs to. He’s already learning the word “no.” But if he needs to eat in the middle of the night and sleeps for longer periods of time next to me and O, then that’s what he’ll get. Because a sleeping baby means sleeping parents. And a sleeping family is a happy family.
Besides, I can honestly say that the best part of my day is crawling into bed with my husband next to my already-sleeping baby. At first I can’t see anything in the dark, but O and I tangle our feet up together and I reach for his hand. I can usually find it wrapped around Aidan’s waist. As my eyes adjust, and we can see each other over our sleeping baby, I hear and see a big toothy smile come over Ozgur’s face, and I can see the happiness in his eyes. I smile just as big, right back with a happiness that radiates from the core of me.
No words are spoken, not even a whisper. But it feels as if we’ve just shouted from the roof tops how excited we are to have this little boy, how much we love him and watching him grow, and how much we love being his parents together. And as I try to fall asleep, I always thank God for how truly blessed I am.