The Sleeping Habits of Honeymooners

(updated below)


I wrap my arms around her, rest my chin against the top of her head. She's stirring and I'm bleary-eyed. Archer's voice carries down the hall as Hal calls after him. I'm not sure what time it is. Is it 7am? 7:30? Could it even be 8am? 8:30? I'm bad with mornings. I don't test well in the blue light. It makes me squint. I build a cocoon of duvet and pillows and wait for wings.

Meanwhile, my cherub sleeps against me, folded hands against her chest.


In nearly seven months, Fable has seldom woken up before I have, sleeping at times until 11:00am, 11:30, when I've been too sick or too tired to acknowledge the bright light and sounds of neighborhood lawn mowers and revved engines and people talking loudly on their cell-phones in the front yard.

She wakes when I do. No matter how carefully I remove my hair from her hands, how quietly I tiptoe out the bedroom door, she wakes within moments. Her legs kicking and eyes wide-open by the time I finish my morning pee, flush the toilet.


I promised Hal she'd be in her own bed on her six-month birthday. I promised myself. She's nearly seven-months old and I can't bear the thought of sleeping without her. Of inhaling nothingness where her exhales used to be. Of collapsing in a bed empty of Fable at 1am.

It would be like telling a five-year-old that her favorite stuffed horse must suddenly sleep in another room, when the smell of drool and broken button-eyes are her most comforting sights and smells. (I slept with my blankie and stuffed animals well into my teens.)

We didn't co-sleep past two weeks with Archer. He slept on a pillow between us until he outgrew the tiny space. We moved him to a bassinet after that where he slept soundly through the night and when he outgrew that, a crib. The bed belonged to Hal and me. No babies allowed.

Why so different this time? Was it chicken who changed or was it egg?

(The chicken would be me.)

How will I sleep without her now that I have become dependent on her chubby wrists in my hands as I drift off, dream on?

And what of the morning? The two of us nose to nose, a couple of cyclops when we open our eyes, eskimo kisses in our pajamas, Fable straining to sit up against the current of my lips to her brow. Oh but I'm stronger, little girl. And I will eat you up against your will if I have to.

And then... laughter. Laughter like a round of applause, like water its sound.

Nothing sweeter.



One of these days, I'll wake up and say, "enough is enough! My arm has cramped for the last time!" Or Hal will put put his foot down or Fable will turn sixteen and get all weirded out that I'm sniffing her hair as she sleeps. Or one of us will fall out of the bed because the little one said roll over, roll over...

In the meantime, wild stuffed horses couldn't keep me away.

Sweet dreams.

.......................................................

This week I'm giving away the Baby Bjorn Babysitter Balance (pictured below) which is Fable's favorite hang-spot and the only place besides my arms she will cat nap for ten minutes at a time.


I also have two autographed copies of my friend, Andrea Richesin's book, Because I Love Her, a poignant collection of essays about mother/daughter relationships. Book trailer, here.

To win*? Tell me your story of sleep.

GGC

*Winners picked at random by noon Friday. Good luck, sleepy dreamers.


** Congratulations to Keri at ASL Junkie for winning the Baby Bjorn Babysitter Balance, and Amy at Not An Only Child and Mamacita in the City for winning the signed copies of Because I Love Her. Please contact me with your information so your prizes can be awarded to you. Thank you all for participating! (Check out to see if Andrea will be in your city signing books in your city this week, here.)

233 comments:

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M | 5:47 PM

What an absolutely beautiful and exquisitely written post. My children are long gone and having their own children...my grandchildren. Sweeter than the first time around because we make sure to take time and enjoy! Sleep...I never co-slept with my kids. I may have taken them into my bed at the last night before am feeding in to bed with for cuddle time many a time. Breastfeeding was the best! All I want to say is that is heaven when a mom can sleep in a few times because they can now do it on their own!

M

carrie | 5:55 PM

I would love to give the Baby Bjorn Babysitter Balance to my friend Holly who is adopting a beautiful little girl, 6 months old, named Simera from Ethiopia in June. I love your blog, your thoughts are beautiful...

Sherrill | 6:22 PM

My daughter is almost six months old. She has slept in a cradle next to our bed for most of that time. We're talking about moving her to her own room and I'm sad, excited and terrified, all at once. I love to be able to see her when I wake up in the night. I like to watch her breathe and to marvel over her existence. I'm afraid I won't sleep as well if she's not next to me...I guess we'll see.

CaressaRenae | 7:05 PM

My son was a Daddy-Only sleeper when he was little. Now, at 2, it's RARE that he'll sleep on either one of us. But every night when I tuck him in, he asks me to "go night-night me, Mommy," while gently patting his pillow, hoping I'll snuggle in close and sing to him while he sleeps. I love that kid so much it hurts.

jenara's mommy | 8:34 PM

My daughter and I go back and forth. I'm a single mom, I have a wonderful boyfriend who doesn't live with us. When he is here or we are there, we sleep seperately, but when it is just the two of us.. then there are many mornings where my daughter (she's 2 1/2 now) will crawl into my bed in the middle of the night. It is the best feeling. We had months of co-sleeping. When she was born it was the only way either of us got our sleep. As she grew she became more independent, and I found it was me who was desperate for the connection with her in the middle of the night. Perhaps it is because I work full time and am away from her for so much of the day, but there is nothing more peaceful than the feel of my daughter lying there with her head against my chest. Until she decides she's had enough and kicks me in the ribs... :)

canadian Amy | 9:20 PM

my son, aka happy smiles from the moment he awakes in the early morning...some call it co-sleeping, though sleeping rarely occurs just suckling and gazing into each others eyes. a great way to start the day. my son is 7 months old he's over colic/reflux, and rarely sleeps for more than 30min throughout the day, sometimes my husband and i wonder could life get even better if he sleeps?

Melissa | 4:37 AM

right now i sleep in a tangle of duvet folds and pillows, only my face peeking out. sometimes my husband can't find me in there....in 33 weeks who knows how i will sleep....soundly i hope, tangled in up in baby folds.

Danielle | 4:44 AM

Sleep. You never realize how precious a thing even having the option of getting full night's rest is until it slips through your grasp for say ... 7+ months?

At 8 weeks old my daughter taught herself to sleep through the night. No sleep training necessary - she just did it. At 6 months she unlearned this lovely habit, and has never slept more than 5 hours uninterrupted since. Over the last 7 months my husband and I have tried everything to get her back to sleeping (except Cry It Out). We've finally gotten her to the point where she's usually only waking once or twice in a 9-10 hour period, and really only needs a backrub, or maybe part of a bottle, to settle back down. This is a vast improvement from the nights when I would be up with her 4-5 times, sometimes for well over an hour at 2 AM! Did I mention that at the height of my daughter's sleep issues (when she was about 11 months old) I was 9 months pregnant with my son?!? Co-sleeping for a little while seemed to help immensely and thankfully just after my little boy was born, my daughter improved.

But, for a while there (after the kids and my husband) all I could think about was sleep. When you aren’t getting it, the thought of it consumes you. It is this magical, elusive, life-fulfilling elixir that you are certain is the answer to all your worries. “If only I could get a full night’s rest,” I’d say to myself, “then I could [write that novel/plan that vacation/clean the bathroom]!” Now with my baby boy already sleeping 5/5.5 hours at least for one period at a time overnight (at only 7 weeks), I feel like I can finally reach beyond my foggy haze and grab hold of life again! Hallelujah!

rella12 | 5:21 AM

I woke up this morning on the right side of the bed, opened my eyes and saw my 4 month old son, his 3 year old brother with his arm around him, and my husband way on the other side. We went to bed as a couple at 10:00, baby in co-sleeper. Baby joined the big bed at 2:30, 3 year old joined at 4:30. I also sleep with a toy dog that I bought for myself when I lost a baby girl before the boys were born. That dog gave me something to hold onto when my arms ached for the baby. Even though sometimes I find it smushed down by my socks in the morning, I still start the night holding on to it- and sometimes I dream of her.

melissa | 5:26 AM

although not as beautifully, i just wrote a post about this exact thing! my son and how he stopped sleeping in my bed. it's bittersweet. but, in my case, it only lasted 2 days.
this was the most beautiful post!!

pam | 6:05 AM

Sleep? Yes please.

Carla | 7:36 AM

Our daughter, Dessa, is 22 months and before she was born I knew we'd co-sleep. It felt so strange to have carried her with me all those months then send her so far away to her own crib or room. We started off with a pack n' play next to our bed then a positioner in our bed but eventually it turned into just her and her kicky feet.

I'm lucky because DH doesn't mind her in our bed so at the rate we're going she's never leaving. Like you, I think I would ache at night if she weren't there. She only nurses at night now and I adore how she just rolls into my body, a kind of reverse spooning. Sometimes she throws one leg over my hip and just sleeps. I stare at her like a lovesick, psycho lover who just stares while you sleep.

In the mornings it's me she wants because she knows all too well how much effort she'd have to put in to get her daddy to wake up. So we lie in bed and giggle and snuggle.

We're welcoming DD2 in less than two weeks and she'll be joining us in our little sleep cloud. I can't imagine not co-sleeping. One day they'll want nothing to do with cuddling and all things mushy so I cherish these moments. I fight back emotional, hormonal pregnant tears when I think how sweet it will be to have everyone in bed, a tangle of legs, locks, sweet baby breath and scratchy footed PJs.

Robyn Hardisty | 7:51 AM

I love the way you look at her!! I know the feeling. Our daughter, who's almost 16 now, slept with us until she was 5. I mean she'd go to sleep in her own bed, but always migrated to our bed sometime in the night. Often she'd curl up at the foot of it, like a little puppy--but somewhere between 5 and 6, it stopped. She was "too big" for that suddenly.
Oh, but we have another, and he's not going anywhere anytime soon by the looks of it.
Thank GOD!~
Have a beautiful weekend. How could you not? XO~R

Christina | 8:05 AM

I slept with my mother until oh god maybe I was 16 years old. This was all before cop-sleeping was talked about. I was an only child and she was a single parent. we needed each other and since it was only the two of us, why not right? It didn't scar me for life. or did it? LOL. Im kidding. would have changed it for the world. we are still as close as ever.

yet for some reason, I made sure my son (now 8 months) was able to sleep in his own bed. It wasnt that I didnt want to share the bed with him. i guess I was scared he would be dependent on me like I was with my mom. I was scared to sleep without her. I didnt want him to feel the same way. every now and then Griffin will sleep with us and I am so happy about it. I often wished we always slept together since he was born. I have a feeling ill be sleeping with the next one.

Why is it that we sometimes change the rules for the second one? Maybe because it may be our last? our baby? who knows but I say enjoy the co-sleeping, its a beautiful thing.

xxoxo
C

Brittany | 8:37 AM

I wish I had co-slept with my babies actually by me but I used a co-sleeper so they were in a bassinet next to the bed. I creid when they left my room. It is fiunny because with my first I was fine moving her into her crib at 6 months and stopping all night nursing and ketting her have a little baby independence. With Miles though, I help on to our little bedtime routine for almost 9 months and then only let go because me husband made me Even then, I kept letting him nurse in the middle of the night. I just needed that time with him. I am still sad that we don;t do as much cuddling anymore. He just turned one! He is going to be a big boy soon. I think I will count the days until he has a bed and I can get into it and cuddle with him again!

Jackie | 8:41 AM

Ahh, sleep. I love sleep. I've never appreciated it more than when both of my little ones started sleeping through the night - 5+ hours of uninterupted sleep, just for me! Heaven. A simple pleasure, taken for granted until you have children!

I have 2 little ones - Abigayle(2yrs) and Austin (5.5 months), and didn't cosleep with either of them. My husband and I are both sound sleepers, and I have heard too many sad stories of parents suffocating their baby in bed - so it was a big "no-no" for me. We have an antique bassinette that has been passed down in my husband's family - every baby in his family has slept in it, since 1911 - 98 years worth of sweet dreams. It sits at my bedside, and both babes stayed in it until they were too big, and then moved into a crib. The first night I moved both of them into the crib, I don't think I slept a wink, worrying about them. Even with the baby monitor on my pillow turned up full-blast so I can hear every breath, I still get up every so often to peek in and make sure everything is okay.

Lisa | 8:45 AM

I'm expecting my first in September. The plan is not to cosleep at all and to let the baby sleep in the crib from day 1. We'll see how it goes...I'm clueless but optimistic.

leila | 8:53 AM

the other night, i spent forty minutes getting my exhausted three-month-old to sleep. she finally fell into a peaceful little snore, and i watched her beauty as it slept.

within minutes, she was giggling in her dreams---she does this often---and something was so hilarious that it made her squeak in laughter. the squeak was so loud that it woke her up.

and she was so exhausted that she started crying at the state of being awake.

i found this moderately-to-entirely not funny.

Erin | 8:56 AM

I never thought we'd co-sleep - the bed was for the parents, and the cats we couldn't stop. But my own ginger-haired cherub changed that. I love the momentary early morning wake-up, where I get to see us all snuggled in bed and drift off again until closer to noon.

Loukia | 9:34 AM

I still sleep with my 15 month old baby boy. I love it to pieces and am not ready to give that up! I lie down with him beside me in my big bed, and when he falls asleep, I transfer him to his crib. Then I spend time with my 3 year old, and put him to bed in his big boy bed. Then I do my thing.
Then around 1 a.m. baby wakes up and I bring him back to my bed, kicking my husband out so we can have more room. I love 1 a.m.! If he doesn't wake up at 1 a.m. to come to bed with me I get worried. Also? My oldest son slept in our room until he was 6 months old or so, then when we put him in his room, in his crib, I brought a floor mattress to his room and slept on the floor in his room for months. And most nights he's end up sleeping beside me on the floor mattress. Then we got him his big boy bed and we slept there together until my second baby was born. I love sleeping with my children. Nothing is as sweet or as wonderful. I love your posts so much! So beautiful!
And really, let's enjoy this co-sleeping time with our young ones. Because they grow up SO fast. And they're not really going to want to sleep with us when they're teenagers, most probably!

bsmommy | 10:29 AM

When I was a single mama, we co-slept more than we do now...but we still (and she's 9) arrange special dates to wake up in each others arms. Bliss.
Fable is just unbelievably cute, just like her big dashing brother.

Keri | 10:44 AM

Thank Goddess you live on the west coast! I'm barely making the deadline in time! =P We co-sleep too and there's nothing better in this world than waking up to a little cherub's hands on my face, giving me a big grin. =D

Susie | 11:14 AM

While this may be too late to win, I thought I'd share. At 4 months pregnant with my first baby, I lie awake nightly hoping to feel that first flutter, that first ray of knowledge of baby. My husband breathes deeply at my side and I drift off, knowing that very soon, there will be three with us in bed as well.

Who Loves The Son | 11:58 AM

Waking up to my baby's little hands toutching my face is the best feeling in the world. He won't cry he just gently plays with my hair and toutches my face so he I know that he is awake. I try to put him in his cib each night but end up making excuses to why he needs to sleep in the bed with us. Since I had to stop bf at 4 months co-sleeping makes me feel more "connected" with him.

Amber | 1:04 PM

I sleep with my little guy as well. He used to want to sleep in his swing only, but now he wants by mommy and always with his tiny fist wrapped around my finger. i suspect in actuality, it's me wrapped around his little finger, but I don't care, I love it.

Geordy and Pete | 5:06 PM

hi. you are incredible.
please let your readers know you have been nominated for 'hottest mommy blogger' so they can vote for you.

http://bloggerschoiceawards.com/blogs/show/6887

x

Fairly Odd Mother | 5:46 AM

You have captured so perfectly why I coslept with my 3 kids. They were all out of our bed at different ages, although my youngest was there until he turned 4. And now he sleeps with his sisters b/c, one of us sleeping alone?--it just would be weird. I figure he'll want his own 'space' soon enough so I'm in no hurry to move this along.

Gorgeous photos too.

Jen | 8:01 AM

Wow, what a beautifully written post. For the most part, I don't cosleep with my 2.5 month old. Yet, there are mornings around 5:30 where he won't go back to sleep away from me. By that point, I'm too exhausted to put in the extra effort. So we snuggle up and drift off...How wonderful to wake up and watch him sleeping next to me...memorizing the contours of his face...feeling his breath against me...I could lay there for hours.

Adventures In Babywearing | 5:59 PM

Oh, I can relate so much. So so much. She is precious.

Steph

Mrs Cheese | 1:53 PM

My daughter's due date was actually the day that Fable was born. But 'lil girl decided to come early on 9/18/08.

I tried sleeping with her in the pack in play in our room when we first came home. She wailed, and it wasn't long until I brought her into bed with us. I LOVED it, I got loads of sleep and could feed her without having to leave the bed- bliss.

Many people in my family keep telling me she needs to sleep in her own room, but I just can't let go of this precious time with her.
My husband knows hot much I enjoy her, and doesn't say a word.

I treasure every moment we are together, but sharing sleep is something that I find so much comfort in right now as a new Mom.

Kim | 4:22 PM

I was never going to co-sleep with my kids, now my 3 1/2 year old sleeps in the crib that is attached to the bed (one side removed) and sometimes in his own bed and his 2yrs old tomorrow brother sleeps in that same crib and our bed and like you, I don't know what I'll do when those sweet faces aren't there in the morning, but rather in "their own beds".

kittenpie | 7:28 PM

I co-slept with each until about 6 months, though it was much easier with The Bun because I got a co-sleeper and didn't have to sleep with my arm crooked around a baby and staying half-awake. I loved that thing, it made for so much better sleep. I moved Pumpkinpie because she was beginning to move around, and I kept thinking she was going to crawl over me and tumble off of the bed before I could respond. With The Bun, I figured he would start moving about the same time, making the co-sleeper less safe, but we also were going to start our closet reno at that point, necssitating lots of plaster dust in our bedroom, which was obviously not a good environment for a baby to be in, so we moved him then anyhow. The first week, I slept in the bed in his room next to his crib, and he got used to being in there with my company. It worked nicely.

Sarah | 1:40 AM

I just wanted to say this is beautiful. I did not co-sleep with my oldest however I did with my youngest and I understand 100% what you are saying here. Hope, my youngest, slept with me until she was seven and then she decided it was time to use her own bed. No stress or worries. It was also comforting to hear that you slept with a blankie until you were in your teens. Hope has one that she carries around home (and takes with her in a purse). She can not sleep without it and it is hell if she loses it for a second. EVERYONE is telling me I need to make her get rid of it. She is going to sleep away camp in a month and friends are saying the other children are going to make fun of her. I'm not taking it away, I can't. She will decide when it is time for it to go.

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