I like the idea of co-sleeping: cuddling up beside my babies, falling into a deep, contented sleep with them in my arms, hearing their sleepy little breathing noises. It sounds heavenly.
But that's not the co-sleeping I've experienced.
Two nights ago Oliver, who's almost 9 months, was having a particularly bad night - perhaps it was the teething, or general discomfort, or just wanting his mum to hold him - I'm not sure what it was. But by three in the morning I decided enough was enough and brought him back into the bedroom with me.
"Oliver is coming in with us." I told J, who may have grunted or not I can't remember. "Because I'm not getting up and down all night." I settled into my side of the bed, Oliver next to me, curled up in my arms.
Well this is perfectly nice, I thought, closing my eyes.
Seconds later - "heee" "heee" "heee". Oliver, excited to be in this new cocoon of warmth in the middle of the night, was trying out new sounds, loudly, in my ear. "Okay, shhh, shhh, darling." I said, rubbing his back soothingly.
All is good. Then a little hand reached up and clawed my face and I lost an eye. Okay I didn't loose an eye, but nearly. "Owwwch! Oliver!" I screeched quietly. I could feel him grinning at me in the dark with that enormous toothy grin of his.
Sleep. Please. But then I thought - what if he rolls off the edge of the bed? Crap. So I moved him in between me and J. Good, okay now everything's fine, off to sleep we go.
And then another thought - what if one of us pulls the duvet up over his head by mistake in the night? I wedged my arm down on top of the cover to keep it in place. But what if one of us accidentally whacks him in the head? What if we roll on him? What if we crush him, what if we smother him?
The worries subsided and I drifted off, and was dreaming that I was heavily pregnant and that the babe was kicking me. And then. Oh, wait, I'm not pregnant - that's Oliver kicking me in the gut, here in the bed next to me.
Still grinning and gurgling.
I edged back, dangerously close to the edge of the bed now, to escape his punchy little feet. Sleep? No. Slap, slap, slap in my face. He loves to slap people in the face. No idea why.
"He's slapping me in the face." Groaned J. "Yeah." I said "Me too." no longer remotely sleepy.
Twenty minutes after bringing Oliver into the bed with us, I was returning him to the safe confines of his crib, telling him we would see him in the morning when we had all had a good night's sleep. In our own beds. With no kicking, slapping or punching each other.
So, to those who co-sleep with their kids - how on earth do you manage it? Do you wear knee pads and ear plugs? And, do you get ANY sleep at all? I want to know!