Thursday, September 12, 2013

Zoe vs. the Family Bed

On the face of it, Zoe would seem to be in favor of the Family Bed, also known as Co-sleeping. Certainly, if asked, she would say she is. But in practice, it's clear that Zoe doesn't get the family part, i.e., that Mommy and Daddy are supposed to sleep too, not lie awake as she stretches out between us using our necks as a pillow and footrest, respectively.
There was a time a few months ago when almost every night she ended up in bed with us. Sometimes her arrival was preceded by a screaming run through the apartment, and sometimes there was so little fanfare that even though I must have pulled her into bed beside me, I didn't remember it, only waking to find my arm had fallen asleep beneath her, and then that was the only part of me to remain so.
So, Zoe's in favor of being in our bed, she's just not so keen on sharing it. If she's not sleeping sideways, she's elbowing us in the ribs or kicking us in the kidneys, and if we try to move away, try to preserve just a precious half inch of mattress real estate for ourselves, she complains. Loudly. In short, close contact is mandatory. Sleep is something we can do on our own time. Not her problem.
Per my usual folly, I consulted advice guides to learn how to break her of this habit. The suggestions I read about required strategy and consistency. If you decide you don't want the family bed, and that your LO (loved one) should stay in his or her bed (in other words, if you have this thing about sleeping in more than just five-minute desperate snatches every night) you have to make the decision . . . and stick to it.
This means that if your DO (dear one) shows up at the bedside, arms outstretched, half asleep yet in full whine, you're to get up, escort your LB (little bastard) back to her bed and say something firm but soothing: "Nighttime is for sleeping. See you in the morning. Stay. Stay. Stay." Rinse repeat. 
Repeat, repeat, repeat. Good plan. 
Just one problem. You have to be awake enough to carry it out.
I used to say that when Zoe got me up in the middle of the night I was like a zombie, but now I realize that's not accurate. I lack that certain quality zombies have in spades: stick-to-it-iveness.  Zombies stay on mission. (Brains!) In contrast, I was barely conscious. (What's that thing I think with?)

I think I just need a cup of coffee.

I can't even tell which end is up let alone which is obstructing my windpipe.

And say I can muster up the wherewithal to get Zoe back into bed? I've found that in order to accomplish this I have to wait for her to fall asleep again (the escort system where she walks on her own was a cruel joke). Therefore I must maintain some lucidity while waiting for her to drift off, then carefully, oh so carefully, using my dead arm, I must lever her up then lurch gracefully out of bed.

Next I must traverse a dark apartment where a cat with either a nervous condition or a taste for vengeance lies in wait, springing out in front of my feet just when I least expect it. Then if I make it to her room I must confront the most delicate operation of all. Setting her down without waking her.

This involves a finely calibrated weight distribution reminiscent of the bag of sand/golden idol switcheroo from Raiders of the Lost Ark, except the stakes are higher.

If I fail, hopefully I'll just have to face poisoned darts
and a giant rolling boulder, not a cranky toddler.

If I'm successful, I tiptoe backwards toward the door, close it, and return to my own bed, where I will remain awake, finally drifting off just as I hear her door opening, heralding her next visit.
Zoe: 12; Universe: 0


  1. Ha! My LB only wants to come in bed to play. No rest for the weary, Moo Cow.

    1. Ack! Can you convince him to play the game where Mommy sleeps? It's never worked for me but maybe you'll get lucky.

  2. Oh yes, I so feel your pain! I played musical beds just last night as a matter of fact and now I am EXHAUSTED!!-Ashley

    1. I imagine the "music" was that Benny Hill theme song. Probably showing my age there! Zoe's still in her daybed converted from the crib. I'm considering a regular bed but I'm wondering if that will make the problem worse.