Yeah, we don’t cosleep anymore.
Except, again, when we do.
We didn’t at first either and then we did. And then, well, she was bigger and we needed to sleep and so we transitioned her back into her own bed.
But as all parents of small children know, all too well, parenting is a pivoting dance of what you need versus what they need.
Most times what they need – these tiny humans who rely on you for love and care – most times what they need take precedence.
So every night I watch her through the glow of a monitor and about a dozen times a night I want to go back in to her room and bring her into bed with us so I can hear her breathing next to me and smell her sweet smell and feel her little toes curl against my leg as she sleeps.
And then I doze off again.
Some nights she stays in her bed all night.
Some nights I hear the little pitter patter of her feet down the hallway to our room three hours after she has gone to bed; other times it’s a whole six to eight hours.
We don’t turn her away.
We bring her pillow and stuffed animal and water bottle into our room.
We help her climb sleepily onto our bed and nuzzle in next to us.
Of course this is where she wants to be – where it’s warm and she can reach out and pat our arms, and she can nuzzle and nudge her way into the curves of our bodies, tucked warmly beneath the covers.
Before I became a parent, I would have never considered cosleeping. It would be uncomfortable. I would not sleep as well. I need to honor that space with my partner. Yet, the older our daughter gets, I am shocked at how comfortable I have become with putting her needs first.
I take care of myself, to be sure, but her needs come first – always.
And so that has come to be true with sleeping. Sometimes she is able to go back to sleep in her own bed after a bad dream, or waking for a drink, or just losing a stuffed animal in the folds of the covers.
Sometimes she is able to settle back into her blissful rest and I am able to sleep without her little body wedged against mine.
Sometimes she cannot. The dreams are too scary. She wants to hold my hand. Or place her tiny arm around me and assure me “you’ll be OK, mama” – and I know full well that even without having the words to express it, her being next to me assures HER that SHE will be Ok.
And so, our cosleeping journey continues. It is not perfect nor is it always comfortable, but it is right – for us and for her.
This is where she knows she is safe.
This is where she knows she is loved.
This is where she knows.
And I know, in my heart, for as long as she needs me, there’s no other place I’d rather she be.
Revision Note: This piece is revised from an earlier post. You can follow more of my writing and daily musings, on parenting and life on my Facebook page at Colleen Warwick Green and at Twitter at twitter.com/prepsterhippy