Vote, everyone. For the love of all that’s holy, please do it. No matter what Jon Stewart said last night, your vote does matter, please just do it. Because I don’t want to be the one who must shut you down when you start bitching about policy and reform.
Or don’t vote. But then you’ll get the smackdown when you bitch at the dinner table. Or, if you’re a republican; hey, there are so many of you anyway and it’s raining, why bother? Don’t you worry about getting out there today. It’ll be OK, just stay home.
In other news, the Toddler has contracted our Funk. Last night we brought her into our bed again. I’ve missed her, and I hope she never stops sleeping with me when she’s sick. I can’t explain the comfort that just a simple nudge of a very hot foot in the middle of the night can bring to my worried mind. I know we all survived colds as babies sleeping in our cribs. But I need her near me; I need to make that skin contact every once in a while during the night, my bleary mind registering a change in temperature or the telltale clamminess that means a fever has broken. I need to listen with half an ear for a choking cough or a little whimper requesting juice.
I am torn between two worlds, it seems. I am confident that had this child not learned to sleep in her bed, in her room, I would have surely gone mad. I embraced the evenings free to watch TV in my bed, to drink my tea without hands grabbing, to read a book without a child in my face. I resented every moment I spent lying there, barely breathing, lights out, dead silent, inching off the bed bit by bit only to see a tiny face pop up laughing just as I came up off my crouched position on the floor on my way out of the room. I resented her for hijacking my nights- for tethering me to the bed every day at naptime, for she refused to sleep in the bed without me back in our co-sleeping days. I love that she arranges her dolls in the bed with her, and that she makes up songs to sing and that she amuses herself sometimes for an hour after waking-playing, singing, starting her day. I like to think that she’s got her own style of meditation.
And yet, I miss her. Every night we spend in bed together is precious. I doubt myself. When I roll over in the morning and she reaches out to stroke my cheek with a “good morning, mommy! Where’s daddy?” I think I might die from the sweetness of that moment.
When I read Dr. Sears and the co-sleeping crowd, this is what they talk about. The bonding, the sweetness, the comfort. They leave out the hours trapped in bed with a baby who won’t go to sleep. They neglect to mention that if you want your baby to sleep on a ‘normal’ schedule, then you too must plan to sack out at 8 o’clock. These articles leave out the baby who thinks this is SO MUCH FUN. They don’t talk about my baby. They don’t talk about the parent who just wants 15 minutes to take a fudgeing shower already, and doesn’t get to because if they get up out of bed once the baby is asleep the baby will wake up and scream.
It’s such a short time in a child’s life, I told myself. I can do this for a few years. Really in the context of a LIFETIME, what’s the big deal? So we don’t watch The Daily Show for a while. So we don’t read ourselves to sleep. So we shower in the morning or during the day (but not at naptime not with a baby who knows when you get out of the bed!) we can do it.
I underestimated the price I personally would pay for this “bonding”. I lost my mind. My soul was withering away. I resented my innocent child. We put her in a crib first beside our bed and then in her own room. I braced myself for the tantrums. For the pulling away. For the maladjustments. I waited for the behavior problems that would come from my abandoning her in a dark room in the baby jail.
And she thrived. She played with her animals. She sang songs. Sometimes she cried for us, and we went. Sometimes she cries for us still and we go. And I have my life back. And because I have my life back, when she cries for me I go. And if she says, “I want out” I get her out, and we lay in bed. And sometimes she tells us she’s ready to go back to her room. When she’s jumping on her father’s back, or jumping on the bed screaming TV! TV! We make the hard call to send her back to the quiet and dark. But usually when she calls us, when she wants to be with us, she lays on her pillow and drifts off to sleep.
So I’m a walking contradiction. Upon close examination I can’t name one person in my life that isn’t.