We joined the ranks of co-sleepers a little while ago and I haven’t wanted to admit it. Whenever I do, it is usually followed by a disclaimer like, ‘It wasn’t by choice’ or ‘It’s only going to be during winter time’ or ‘It’s because of the meds I have to take’. And all of these excuses are true but the bottom line is that I was just too tired to do anything else.
My not-so-little Miss L woke me up yesterday morning the same way she does each morning, with a sweet little ‘Hi’ and a pat pat pat on my face. If that fails to rouse me, and it often does, she follows it up by crawling over the top of me and sitting on my face. There’s nothing like the smell of warm urine in the morning to get you going! I love waking up to that little face but oh how I have wished, especially in these dark winter mornings, that she didn’t greet me quite so early.
To be honest, I have wished for a lot of things lately. I’ve wished that we were back in our own home where Miss L had her own room and there was no one to observe my middle of the night parenting fails. I’ve wished I had even an ounce of my pre-motherhood convictions about parenting and the strength to stick to them. I’ve wished I could somehow unravel the tangled ball of string that is our lives at the moment and figure out where we went wrong. I’ve wished that I could give Miss L better and happier and easier and just plain more than I have thus far. Mostly I’ve wished to be joyful and to see the deep furrow between my brows and the tightness around my lips relax.
This morning I woke up to silence. My lovely Mum rescued us both last night and took Miss L in the wee hours so we could all get some sleep. The irony is that without her little fists clutching my hair and her cheek smashed up against mine and her warm little breaths in my ear, I barely slept at all. And when I opened my eyes all I wanted was to see her cheeky little grin as she lined her soggy nappy up with my face.
I was going to start this by stating that I’m not into attachment parenting, or any kind of parenting label at all really. But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t have a strong idea about what kind of parent I would be and I can tell you that co-sleeping was definitely not on the list. But the last year of sleepless nights spent sitting by the side of a cot and crying silently in the dark has taught me humility. Our best laid plans are just that, best laid to rest. This parenting thing is a day by day journey that takes all kinds of unexpected detours and it is ok to let go of the map once in a while.
In a minute I am going to get myself out of bed, take my meds, wash my face and go say a big ‘Hi’ to my little girl. And tonight I am going to try to be a little kinder to us both and find the joy in this moment because this is a precious time. One day she will be too big and too independent and too cool to greet me in the morning with such enthusiasm and I will be wishing to have these tender days back once more.