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Friday Advice Column for Wacky Mothers & Others

October 19th, 2006

Grey’s Anatomy, I love you so. Especially when I have insomnia and you, on tape.

Meredith: “Guilt never goes anywhere on its own. It brings its friends, doubt and insecurity.

McSteamy, to Callie, when her cell rings while they’re in bed: “That your boyfriend again?”
Callie: “I do not have a boyfriend.”
McSteamy: “Then why the guilty face?”
Callie: “You were sexier when you weren’t talking.”

A disclaimer: While I am a professional writer, I am professional in no other areas at all, medically, socially, academically or career-wise. Just ask the other PTA parents. Thus, this is not medical advice. Please check with your doctor or analyst if you need to.

If you have questions, please shoot me an e-mail. It’s not like I’m sleeping.

Love,
WM

Dear Wacky Mommy:

What do you think of co-sleeping? My husband and I are co-sleeping with our three-month-old, and it’s going fine. We have one of those rail/net things next to the bed (not a co-sleeper). But what do you do when the baby starts crawling?

Signed,
Happy Mama

Dear Happy:

I checked with Hockey God on this one because the early months are a blur to me now. Mother Nature’s way of keeping me fat, happy and ready to procreate again. HA! To you, Mother Nature. I’m done.

Hockey God, talking about Wacky Boy and his co-sleeping: “Remember, he’d wake up and immediately crawl away, and I’d grab on to the back of his sleeper so we could stay in bed a little longer? And he’d scream his head off? Wooooo! That was funny.”
Me: “Uh, yeah.”

If you drink too much booze, do drugs, smoke in bed or even if you’re an extremely heavy sleeper, reconsider co-sleeping. Hockey God is a heavy sleeper. I haven’t slept in eight years. (That’s not true — once they were in their own beds, he was the one to get up with them.) While we co-slept, I kept the babies on my side of the bed. I recall they both clawed at his back with tiny sharp nails when they were sleeping between us. And yanked out his chest hair by the tiny baby fistfuls when he slept facing them.

When he cusses it sounds like this: “Fuckin’ godda… goddam… shit! Shit! Goddammit! Fuck!” You kiss your baby with that mouth?

So his memory is skewed, too. Because it wasn’t always that fun. But what about sex? That’s fun. But difficult with young urchin in the bed. You can figure out sex, but you know the old joke: “Daddy says I won’t get a baby brother until I start sleeping in my own bed.” But you can get creative. I mean, that’s how you got the baby in the first place, right?

And it’s pure joy, snuggling with your baby, especially if you’ve gone back to work and feel like you’re never seeing them. Plus you are not going crazy jumping up every five minutes to make sure they’re breathing. Pff-pff-pff — I used to love how Wacky Girl breathed when she was nestled against me. I used to dream it was the dryer tumbling around and it was the best white noise ever. Does that make sense? And when they give you the sweet little baby smile, the first thing when they wake up — That is delicious.

Wacky Girl slept with us until she was 12 months or so, then she went back to wanting to nurse three or four times a night, because she was bored/teething/wanting a snack, I have no idea. (It drove me nuts — I was skinny and exhausted.) I still cannot figure that girl out. I do know she’s in my bed right now, while her dad sleeps peacefully in the princess castle bed he built for her. Ha! Big tough hockey guy in a hodgepodge of Care Bears and Boxcar Children books.

Wacky Girl: “Tell him he can wear my tiara! Either one — I have two! While he’s sleeping in my castle bed! Wouldn’t that be funny, Mommy?”
Me: “Uh, yeah.”

She does not get enough “alone time” with Mommy. She told me this tonight, through buckets of tears. I caved. I CAVED, INTERNET. It is no good, the caving. It shows you are weak. As a parent you must be strong! Kids go in for the kill. They are ruthless. I am standing my ground: She can sleep with me tonight and tomorrow, and possibly Saturday, BUT THAT IS IT. Also, I’m writing this at 11:40 p.m. Thursday night. Cannot sleep. Because of the kicky seven-year-old in my bed. You know, I like sleeping with my husband. He’s like a big furry bear. He keeps me warm and I feel secure when he’s there. And he doesn’t kick. Or lick me and give me his icky germs. Well, unless I ask him to.

MY POINT IS: Co-sleeping is great, but good luck getting ‘em out of your bed. It sure makes nursing easier. After a few months I could nurse in my sleep, switch sides, and not wake up. One of my girlfriends could do the, uh, flop-over? She could nurse on both sides, from one side. She was amazing that way.

Wacky Boy did start crawling young — four months and he was commando. So he went to the crib sooner than his sister did. I used to catch him right before he fell off the edge of our bed. This was nerve-wracking. He has always liked his own space.

As for a bed, I highly recommend on-the-floor futons. Save the frame for later. (We did not have the frame with Wacky Girl, but did with Wacky Boy. Mistake.) When you transition the baby from a crib to a “big bed,” try going really big and springing for a queen-size futon. (Plus you have a guest bed this way.) We did that for both of our kids and it’s worked. Again, keep them on the floor at first. You don’t have to sweat them rolling off the bed, and you don’t need to trade in the cute bed shaped like a racecar for a bed their feet don’t dangle off, later. (Memories of my twin bed from childhood, that I outgrew at age 12. My mom: “That is a perfectly good bed. It is a matching set! I am not paying for a new bed for you!” I would have killed for a bed that was my size.)

Love,
WM

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