It’s 5:00 am. I am sitting in bed next to my sick 16 week old while he dozes semi-peacefully between Gibby and I. There are piles of laundry on the floor beside me, two cats vying for our attention at the foot of the bed, and on the nightstand next to me lies a hospital tag, freshly snipped from his chubby little ankle.
Atticus hasn’t always slept in my bed but it seems every time I formulate a plan to move him into his nursery something comes about and the co-sleeping continues.
I said to Gibby the other night that I was starting to like having him in the bed again, and in response I received an aggressive head shake and a firm “NO.”
Yet, despite this aversion to sharing our bed with the baby, night after night I wake up to see his little round face lying next to mine, an arm flung across his cheek, his mouth gaping open in a silent snore. (No, I am not talking about my husband here as Gibby and I both know his snores are anything but silent.)
Prior to having a baby I had mixed feelings about co-sleeping, however for the first month of Atticus’ life he slept in a Dockatot between Gibby and I.
After this, we moved him into a “pack and play” beside the bed. This decision was surprisingly hard for me, and looking back I will admit that I wasn’t fully ready to move him out of the bed, however this had always been my plan, and sticking to my plan took priority.
Unbeknownst to me, I was about to battle the 8 week sleep regression (which might not be a thing for everyone, but it was certainly a thing for us.) During this phase, which went on for weeks, I found myself waking with him every 45 minutes to an hour. As soon as his sleep stretches extended back out to two hour intervals I made a new plan and told Gibby that it was time we moved him into his nursery. I blamed his bad sleep habits on having to share a bedroom with five other sleeping bodies – the cats sometimes sleep on the bed and other times run circles around us, and Sunny has always had the habit of jumping on and off our bed throughout the night, her collar jangling like an alarm clock each time.
I told myself that if he could just have his own space, then everyone would be happier and so, once he hit 3 months of age I put my plan into motion and moved him into his crib. I “humble bragged” to my family and friends that he was finally in his own room.
Well, Atticus slept peacefully in his nursery for two whole nights and then commenced the rolling stage. During this stage, every time I placed him down on his back he would instantly flip over onto his stomach and cry. I tried everything: propping him up with towels, keeping a hand on him until he successfully fell asleep on his back / side, and even putting him down on his stomach. As suspected, my plans quickly fell apart, and soon he was back in our bed where I could prop him against my own pillow, and keep a hand on him throughout the night.
Just when the rolling was starting to get under control, a new challenge reared it’s head: the dreaded baby cold.
Yesterday, after two days of watching him battle a runny nose and mild cough we brought him to the after hours clinic at our family doctors office. Some may find it hard to believe we weren’t driving like maniacs to the Emergency room at the first sign of a sniffly nose, but his symptoms strongly mimicked teething, and he was unusually clingy yet happy, so we agreed to wait it out.
Our regular doctor wasn’t in, and the man who saw Atticus couldn’t tell up from down and convinced us the appropriate course of action was to take him to McMaster Children’s Hospital for a diagnosis. WTF, right? After he left the room I felt myself starting to come apart and overcome with nerves I knocked my coffee off the table and into the car seat (he wasn’t in the seat at the time.) Despite using an entire box of kleenex to sop up the mess, our poor kid still rode to Hamilton in rush hour traffic sitting in a puddle of cold Starbucks, and arrived at Mac looking like he’d blown a diaper all over his white onesie.
I’ll just state the obvious here and say I didn’t plan for any of this.
Two doctors checked him out. Their verdict? A baby cold. Their advice? Ride it out. My decision? Keep him in the bed until he feels better.
You see, pre-baby I had all of these plans. I planned to have a baby that would sleep through the night in his own crib, and I felt like my plan was foolproof as I had read, researched, and googled everything in sight.
Atticus however, had a different idea about how this would go, and so I have decided to abandon all of my “plans” and enjoy these moments rather than wish them away (as time will surely take care of that.) Down the road I know that Gibby and I will reminisce about these mornings: the ones where we woke to see his little round face smiling, his chubby legs churning, and listened to his baby chatter chase away the last remnants of our sleep.