If you have been a new mom or you know someone who has been a new mom then you know that sleep is an especially precious commodity. I don’t think I have had a good nights sleep since December of 2011. The past few nights have been especially trying. The Kiddo is teething and is waking more in the night than she has in the past. I try to be a good sport about this but to be honest, its wearing me out, so perhaps I was already a little sensitive when the Kiddo and my mother set out for an afternoon fundraiser at a nearby Country Club (sounds fancier than it was, so don’t think I’ve gone all high class on you).
The Kiddo is what some would call a “good baby”. If you knew me in person, you would know that term makes me angsty. I bristle at the idea of assigning infants good and bad labels. I prefer to think of her as being a laid back baby. She doesn’t cry much and when she does, its usually not too difficult to figure out whats got her riled up. I have some theories about this but that’s not what this particular blog is about, I am just setting the scene for what happens next.
My mother, the Kiddo and I mingle and work our way around the fundraiser. Kiddo was either being carried by my mother or being worn by me in our Ergo, this works well for us as the Kiddo likes to take in the scenery. One woman, an acquaintance of mine, came up to us and commented on how quiet the Kiddo was and what a good baby she is and then went on about her new grandchild who at five months was “still sleeping in the same room” as her daughter in law. She said that she told her daughter in law that if she did not get that baby out of the room, the baby would never leave. She then looked at me and said “I mean, YOU don’t have her sleeping in YOUR room, do you?” I should not have been shocked, but I was taken aback…if I have learned anything since having a baby it is that everything I do is open for public comment, so why should I be at all surprised that this person who I barely know is inquiring about where my child sleeps.
I told her that the Kiddo does sleep in my room. I would have gone on to tell her that having the Kiddo in the room with me is probably the only way I get any sleep at all and that dragging my half asleep butt across the house several times a night sounds like a nightmare. I would have told her this but I hardly got the sentence out when she jumped on me about how I must get “that baby” out of my room right away. I started to feel Hulk-like rage come over me, in fact I really couldn’t tell you how the conversation itself ended…but since my mother was standing next to me, and because I was not escorted out of the event by security, I probably did not cuss the woman out…although it did cross my mind. I think I just smiled and moved along to the next table.
I appreciate that my flavor of parenting is perhaps a little more liberal than others, and I generally roll with it, for example, when Kiddo was looking a little hungry I did not come unhinged at the suggestion that I take her to the restroom to nurse her, but this crossed the line for me. It has never once occur ed to me to ask, let alone voice an opinion on the sleeping arrangements of other people.
There is strong evidence to support room sharing and even bed sharing with babies, provided the parents follow simple safety precautions, and when you look at the whole of human history, the notion of children sleeping in another room away from their parents is a relatively new concept…and it happens to be one that the Kiddo just doesn’t have much appreciation for…and for now, Im ok with that…even if it does make me the odd one out at the the Club.