On Co-Sleeping With A Butterfly
|January 26, 2014||Posted by Jennifer under Breastfeeding, Mommyhooddom|
Co-sleeping with Baby B is like sleeping with a butterfly.
Since the day he was born, maybe even before, he’s been a light sleeper. If there’s one thing I will NOT miss when he finally reaches the, “I No Longer Need to Co-Sleep with My Mother Milestone,” if I live long enough, is the constant fear of waking him, which still happens 7 million times a night no matter what I do or how quiet I am.
I suppose I must have done something when I was a teenager (like sneak out of the house at night one too many times) to hack off the Gods of Mom Sleep.
Yeah, I’m sure I did because boy am I ever paying for it now!
In order to describe the past 27 months of co-sleeping with Baby B, I’ll just use last night as an example. Sleep deprivation has partly obliterated my memory of most of the nights since he was born, but I’m willing to go out on a limb and say they’ve all been about the same.
So last night, Baby B and I snuggled up next to each other all nice and cozy. There’s a wall of pillows on the left side of the bed where my husband used to sleep. His snoring woke Baby B so he had to move to the other bedroom months ago, maybe years. I can’t really remember.
Baby B did his usual nurse-to-sleep business that involves switching from one breast to the other no less than 849 times. I’m like a Carnival cruise ship listing from side to side to accommodate his pulling and tugging. I’m pretty sure reconstructive surgery is in my future.
Now call me lazy. Call me crazy. Call me in 20 years if you want to find out if either of us warrants therapy for this, but I let Baby B develop a habit of staying latched while he sleeps.
No, not all night! Even I have limits.
He usually stays latched for about an hour after he falls asleep. Then, he unlatches himself and rolls over. Now, I have TRIED to unlatch him sooner, trust me, but the second I slide my finger inside the corner of his mouth, he starts screaming bloody murder and frantically bobs his head around looking for his boobie. I always give in. Every. Single. Time. Yeah, I know. Probably not good.
Anyway, moving on.
What Co-Sleeping is Really Like
So last night was pretty typical. I think.
During Baby B’s asleep-but-still-latched-hour, I surfed the internet on my smartphone, making sure the light from the screen shone away from his sweet little face and that no, I repeat NO, video ads accidentally played until I made sure the speaker volume was turned all the way down.
Keep in mind, I don’t exhale while my delicate little Butterfly is still latched or else he’ll wake up and turn the hour-glass back over. Heaven forbid I drift off to sleep and accidentally drop my phone on his head. That wakes him up too. If the tectonic plates shift one thousandth of a millimeter, I get a bonus round of nursing. Oh lucky me.
Fortunately, last night Baby B unlatched at his usual time and without incident. One might think that I could simply roll over and go to sleep. Oh, how I wish that were the case. It’s just not that simple.
If Baby Butterfly senses the slightest motion from my side of the bed, he’ll roll right back over and poke his bony fingers into my ribs until he finds his boobie again. So what I have learned to do is stay in my left-side-lying position balancing on my hip bone for another hour or so after he unlatches… just to make sure he is good and ASLEEP!
“God Jennifer, why don’t you just put him in his own bed, or at a minimum get up and sleep in the chair across the room.”
Ha, I would love to. But if you’ve ever witnessed the Butterfly go from dead asleep to DEFCON 3 in .02 seconds when he realizes he’s left the bed or I’ve left the bed, you’d stay put too.
So there I was last night… lying partly on my left side with my right butt cheek at a 45 degree angle to the bed, defying gravity. I read some tweets, listened to my sciatic nerve yell at me to “Wean him already!” and wished I could teleport back to the night this all started and just say “No!”
Add to that gnawing pain-scale-number-6 state I was in… I had to pee.
The nights I have to pee are the worst.
When I absolutely positively have to go, the trick is to pick my left arm up by the sleeve, the one that lies just mere inches from Baby Butterfly’s head, with my right hand as to not ‘push off’ the mattress with my elbow. Heaven forbid there’s a rippling of the flat sheet. He will interpret it as a magnitude 7 earthquake and I get to hold my pee for another hour.
Did you know that it is virtually impossible not to cause an air current no matter how slowly you move your body? To displace as little atmosphere as possible, I’ve become like one of those living mannequins you see at shopping malls. Move and freeze. Move and freeze.
Fortunately for me, last night I was able to Mr. Roboto onto my back, wait for the blood to return to parts of my body necessary for standing, and then levitate off the mattress without incident.
I cat-walked into the bathroom, where I peed — silently. The trick is to put some toilet paper in the bowl first.
I made it out of the bathroom (without flushing) and back into bed. This time, on my right side! Oh, how luxurious it is to be on my right side after two hours of plasma pooling on my left.
I managed to inch the blanket up over my shoulder, one thread at a time. By the time I got that finished, I was cross, as Sir Topham Hatt would say, and very tired.
I carefully placed my phone on the nightstand without making the slightest bit of a tink, and finally closed my eyes. Home free, I thought. But just incase I needed back-up, I prayed.
Please keep the Butterfly asleep. It’s midnight and I know he needs his sleep. He was so tired and cranky all day today. He doesn’t need to nurse again. Really, he doesn’t. He’s not hungry. I am, but I’m sure he’s not.
Two seconds and I mean TWO FRIGGIN’ SECONDS later, I hear Baby Butterfly’s wings a flappin’!
I tried to ignore it. Oh please stop. Please stop, I thought.
I didn’t dare look over my shoulder at him. I hoped that if I held perfectly still, didn’t shed a flake of skin, and pretended like I was on vacation, he would settle down.
Please, please, please just this one time can’t you please go back to sleep, I thought.
“Boobie. Boobie. Want some boobie.”
I still didn’t move. I pretended like I was deaf.
Sensing that I might have turned off my ears, Butterfly put on his boxing gloves and steel-toed boots.
Wah, wah, punch, punch, kick, kick.
“Ma-ma, Ma-ma… need some boooo-bie!!”
“Ok, for crying out loud,” I muttered as I rolled back onto my left side.
So yeah, that was the first time I woke him up last night. I keep forgetting that butterflies can hear when your eyelids bang shut.
Do you have a butterfly in your house? Baby that nurses at night? How do you deal with co-sleeping?