I hate to complain (well, actually, I don't, but you already know that) but I am so, so so very tired. I actually think I could be the most tired person on this earth, ever. P thinks and says he's tired, but he's not as tired as me. No way, not by a long shot.
You see, we've started having those conversations, you know, the ones all the baby books tell you not to have, to not even start, the ones about who's the most tired, who got up the most often to see to the baby in the night. It's supposed to be bad for your relationship – and it is!
Though I think the damage has already been done, what with the waking up every two to three hours every night, never even seeing, nay, dreaming of that blissful, feather-filled, fluffy duvet-ed, clean cotton sheet-ed eight hour stretch. Oh, what I'd give for a full nights' sleep in a smooth, soft and comfortable hotel bed tonight...but I digress. You tend to do that, I've found, when you're suffering from sleep deprivation.
So, we've come to a decision. It's time for Oscar to sleep in his own room. Not in our bed, between us, happy as a clam, where he ends up pretty much every night, transported there in a groggy trance by one of us from his cot at the other end of the bedroom, by a parent who has been so beaten down by tiredness, that by 2am or 4am when the baby cries neither of us even bother trying to resettle him. One of us just gets up, staggering drunkenly like a zombie in Dawn of the Dead, and plonks him down in the middle of the bed between us.
The past four months of our little angel's life have been for us (as regular readers would know) in turns, joyful, desperate, rewarding, life affirming and hopeless. Nothing, however, has had such a profound effect on our day to day lives as the lack of sleep we have endured. Don't get me wrong, having Oscar in our bed has been simply lovely – it's cosy and special and I do believe has made us both closer as a family, but also helped him to feel as secure and loved as can be.
The problem lies in the fact that we have simply dropped our comfortable and relaxing nightly routine of preparing for bed whilst chatting over the day, and settling in amongst the pillows with a book until we are ready to sleep. Indeed, all movements in the bedroom once we retire have been carried on in toe-stubbing hushed whispers and the muffled opening and shutting of wardrobe doors. Even then, it's fairly likely that Oscar may stir (the result of being disturbed by all the whispering) and need to be settled again, or, if we are particularly tired, simply moved into our bed before we even hit the sheets.
The next eight hours I seem to wake, on average, at least every 45 minutes, checking to see the baby is asleep, awake, alive, still there. By dawn when he stirs, I am hallucinating, and there are times when I am in tears, I honestly believing that I just cannot go on, get up, see to the baby, feed him, change his nappy. But I do, and I've found that once you're up you can go on, and you do, because you have to. But it's definitely not fun and I'm definitely not my best self for Oscar, for P, for our friends and family, and especially not for me.
Today we moved the cot into his bedroom – the lovely, light, beautifully decorated, toy-filled sanctuary that is currently used as an area in which to change nappies and dress him. We are under no illusions that we have some more sleep deprived hurdles to surmount, in fact, I have a feeling we'll be getting even less sleep than before for a time, because one of us will need to actually get up and go into his room when he stirs, and stay with him, at the coalface of settling, when all he will want and expect is to be welcomed into the warm parental nest. But it's time for us to try and get a better nights' sleep, time to reclaim our bed and our lives. Even more important, I do know that once he's gotten used to it, Oscar will sleep better too. In fact he may even sleep like the proverbial baby!
Do you share a bed with your baby?
Does it affect your sleep? What do you think?
Is it better for the whole family if the baby sleeps in its own room?
See my article on co-sleeping here.