Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sleeping with the Enemy

Last weekend my husband and I embarked upon our first camping trip with our little ones.  I may be using the term "camping" loosely as we were sleeping in a cabin, on beds with plastic mattresses, all food was served in a mess hall, and there was a pool on location. But for us, we were roughing it.  As parents of a toddler and a preschooler, the roughest part was sleeping together in a small, one-room cabin.

Our usual travel routine is to put Maisy to bed in a secure, dark space as far away from our bed as possible.  We always bring the pak-n-play, even when the hotel provides cribs, since it fits much better inside the small hotel room closets.   We also tote along an extra bag filled with Maisy's favorite blankets and her five best stuffies (in a desperate attempt of getting a peaceful night's sleep).  Sometimes it works, sometimes we wake up at 5:30.

Since our cabin was a 12 foot by 18 foot rectangular box, with no closets or secluded areas, Maisy's pak-n-play was placed next to the double bed Ted and I were sharing.  To complicate matters, Maisy was sick with a slight fever and sore throat.  Needless to say, by 11 o'clock on the first night, Maisy had abandoned her crib and was sleeping fitfully next to me.  Any attempts to transfer her back to the pak-n-play were met with loud and unyielding refusals.

At midnight, after repeatedly removing Maisy's limbs from my face, I kicked Ted out of the bed and sent him to sleep on the empty bed of the bunk beds.  Finally, without the heat of being sandwiched between two humans with propensities to cuddle, and without two people breathing heavily on my face, I was able to fall asleep.  That night Maisy woke every hour to remind us all that her throat still hurt.

The next night we didn't bother to attempt putting Maisy to bed in her crib.  Ted was again allocated to the bottom bunk, Elana to the top, and Maisy slept with me (read: on me).  This is how the night went:

10:30- "Owie!  Owie!  It hurts!"  Maisy points sharply at her throat.  After refusing any form of pain medication (I've brought grape, bubblegum, and orange flavored Tylenol and Motrin in both liquid and melt-away form), Maisy agrees to go back to sleep.

12:00- "Pick me up."  I gently rub her back.

12:30- "(Whine).... Sing me a song."  Softly, and hazily, I sing You are my Sunshine.

2:00- "Take my socks off!"  I take her socks off.  "No, put them back on!"  I put them back on.  "Wahhhhh!  My socks are squishy!"  Maisy then falls back asleep in mid-scream.

3:30- "I want to wake up!  It's wake-up time!!!"  Surprisingly, Maisy is easily convinced that it is not actually time to get up.

4:45- "Mommyyyyyyyyy!!!  Wake-up!!!!"  After soothing her for 15 minutes, she drifts back to sleep.

5:30- "Wahhh! Owie! Wake-up time!  Pick me up!" At this point I start bribing her and promise her a new stuffed animal is she goes back to sleep.  After a bit of cajoling, she relents.

6:30- Maisy wakes up the entire cabin, and quite possibly the neighbors. Not only does she need us to all be awake, we must also be holding her while standing.  At this early hour I question my decision to have children.

Dr. Sears touts that there are proven, scientific benefits of co-sleeping.  But after these two restless nights, I vow to never again let that little terror anywhere near my pillow.

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