Saturday, June 27, 2009

A failed experiment in cosleeping

While we slept with River for the two months of his life (often taking turns, so that one of us could get some quality sleep), from about three months on, we’ve all been happy sleeping in separate quarters. River sleeps 12 hours a night without waking up (and has done so for a long time) We get some personal time, as well as uninterrupted sleep

Still, there is the draw of a sleeping child, of the beautiful innocence lying by one’s side So, though I knew co-sleeping had not been a good thing for us in the past, I didn’t think it would be a big deal over a weekend

A couple of things I forgot:
1. Since we leave the room after putting River to bed, we don’t know exactly what his process of lying down and falling asleep is. Sometimes we know he has thrown his toys and/or bottle out of the crib. Sometimes we hear him talk to himself. Now we know the whole routine – a routine that does not work very well with two sleepy parents around. With parents around, it takes him a good hour to go down, even when it’s well past his bed time. He crawls across one parent, to the other, across them, back again. He knocks both parents in various areas. He reaches for whatever he can find (lantern, ipod) and plays with it. He drips milk from the sippy cup on mom. He laughs and giggles and talks to himself. It’s oh-so-sweet, but oh-not-so-sleep conducive. I put in an earplug (I lost the second) and put on an eye mask. I thought if we were quiet and didn’t respond, he’d eventually go down. He sat on my legs, like an armchair, and slid down them. He then stood up, sat down and repeated process four times. Only then did he finally assume the stomach-down position and fall asleep

2. One person’s nighttime twitches affect all. River ended up sleeping with his head on Mark’s legs. Mark didn’t want to wake him, so he was locked into a certain position for a long time, depriving him of sleeping. The insomnia that resulted caused him to twitch all night, searching for a more comfortable way to sleep. All the movement kept me up. So only River slept well.

3. While in the crib, he can wake up, then fall back asleep if there is no immediate attention; in a tent, mom and dad are aroused at his first babbling. There is no going back to sleep for anyone.

4. The black-out curtains really make a difference, especially in summer. With black-out curtains, River sleeps until 8 or 8:30. Without, only until 7, if that.

Mark ended up so tired that he is taking River the hour-drive home to sleep in a bed/crib this evening, leaving me to sleep alone in the tent. Initially, I was disappointed, as I was looking forward to the family time. But then I thought – hey, an evening in the forest alone, with the freedom to read and to write without interruption. Yippee!

I would like for us to be able to camp more often. Both because I need the connection with nature, and because we need to work on keeping expenses down and this is an affordable way to travel. Especially for this easy type of camping, where we pull the car up to the lot, I think we need to move up from the two-person tent to a sent that can accommodate a sleeping toddler and somehow put some space between parents and said toddler.

Can anyone recommend some good options?

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