According to some parenting gurus, babies become happier, more confident people if they have the benefit of “co-sleeping,” a practices that is defined, variously, as baby and mother sleeping within reach of each other, sharing a “family bed,” or “sleep-sharing,” which could mean a shared bed, a crib close to the mother’s bed, or a “co-sleeper” bed connected to the parents’ bed (also available in a pet version). Co-sleeping means the baby is closer to you, the baby always has access to you, and the mother can be instantly available to the baby, even at night.
Sounds reasonable. Who doesn’t want to be available 24/7? They developed BlackBerries for a reason.
Yet the term “family bed” makes me cringe. I grow queasy when I read my buddy Dr. Sears raving “we're happy; [daughter] opened up a new whole wonderful nighttime world for us that we now want to share with you.”
Not me. Please not me, Dr. S. I’m not the droid you’re looking for.
How judgmental of me. This is the most judgmental, anti-baby thought I’ve had since I allowed myself to observe that Maryland law notwithstanding, the woman in Nordstrom Café probably could have put her breast back into her bra within five minutes of her baby going back into his stroller.
[Use the space below to write your complaint about my rabid anti-woman, anti-breast, anti-baby anti-quated attitude.]Le leche League should leave a horse head in AP’s family bed because:
Why am I such a douchebaguette about the family bed? I think we can trace my bad attitude to the following: (1) my baby was a shitty roommate; (2) I cannot conceive of a “wonderful nighttime world” that involves a baby or child; and (3) I want to get laid.
My lovely infant daughter was a shitty roommate. If our family was The Real World, I would have kicked her out after ranting about her to Camera 4 for a few weeks.
The books said that I would want to share every moment with her tiny pink self, sad to say goodbye even for my weekly shower. So I got a bassinet out of my grandmother’s attic and positioned it just so, a foot from my own head. Then I had a c-section, which made lifting her from that thing agony. More importantly, she was loud. Not sad loud. Not crying loud. I gave birth to a tiny little narcoleptic Chia Pet. She was and is a world-class sleeper. Hell, she’d rather sleep than eat.
[Use the space below to tell me to fuck off.]AP should fuck off because:
Problem was, she had animated, verbal dreams. About Smurfs. “smur smur smur smur-smur, smmmmmmm, smurrrrrf fff ffff fffff fff.”
“smur smur smur smur-smur, smmmmmmm, smurrrrrf fff ffff fffff fff.”
You have to be shitting me, baby. Sweet, little… (fucking)…sweet baby.
The first night, I picked her up, thinking that I should feed her. I did this six times. She wasn’t hungry. She wasn’t even conscious. After 17 days, give or take 21 minutes, I kicked her out. According to the parenting books, I did this at exactly the right time: right after I told her that I really don’t give a shit about the Smurfs, kid!
My wonderful nighttime world grew quieter, and I was able to reap the benefits of three consecutive hours of Smurf-free slumber.
Fast forward to today. My baby books went to the consignment store to help inform another new mother sucker. All except Dr. Sears. High school buddy Kelly, if you are reading this, I’m sorry. I appreciate your gift, but I put The Baby Book in my basement, and when I was moving out, I didn’t want to be responsible for someone else reading it. So I didn’t pass it along to a new mother. I passed it along to a landfill.
[Use the space below to tell me about recycling.]
- Baby seals deserve to live because: _____________________
- Forests should not be paved because: ___________________
- Al Gore is dreamy because: _______________________
All of my books except THE Baby Book are teaching someone else what’s she’s doing wrong. My child is six, and between the day I voted her off of the island and today, I separated, divorced, was a single mother, and singlehandedly built an elaborate backyard swing set, [because goddamit, I am good enough to do this job by myself AND I am also butch in a hot way].
And I met, and fell in love with, and married Mr. Adequate Parent.
Who is far above adequate in the ways that count. Not just because he’s hot in a Russ Feingold kind of way. Or because he is living proof that baseball statistics, in spite of conventional wisdom, actually have an aphrodisiac effect. Not just because he’s a fine human being who has made a career of helping others. No, not just because of those things.
[I interrupt myself to make the following endorsement]The man is a tiger in bed. My best friend, Webmaster Lori, dumped her Duracell stock when Mr. AP and I got engaged, and I cut up my “Good Vibrations” platinum card.
But it's not just because he is a tiger in bed, either.
Which he is—you should really read the asides. They will enrich your experience as a reader. Thank you again.
He’s the right roommate because he can help me figure out what I can do to be an adequate parent when my child is awake—when it counts.
That is why I cannot imagine a “nighttime world” that involves a child. Thirty-six years into my life, and four years into my child’s, I discovered a nighttime world that makes me wiser, happier, better at everything. And blissfully exhausted, at times.
So fuck yeah, I believe in co-sleeping.
Just not with a kid.