Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Love, Children, Books



I'm reading a book that kept me up until after 11 last night, which is quite a feat since I get up at 5 (and, actually the big cat woke me up at 4:15 and I didn't get back to sleep this morning).
Anyway, the book is not a thriller. The title is Love and Other Impossible Pursuits and it's by Ayelet Waldman. It's about a woman whose baby died and she tries to deal with her husband, her stepson and figure out if she can survive. And it isn't morbid or even depressing, which makes no sense. I was really enjoying the voice and the story when I began to fear the book would take a turn.
The details about the death of the baby are fed to the reader slowly, and about half way through I got worried because I didn't want it to become a lesson in the dangers of bringing the baby into a parent's bed. The baby died in bed with the main character.
All three of my children shared my bed when they were infants. I don't know how other mothers do it. I would be lucky to stumble to the crib, pick up the baby and stumble back to bed. Lie on my side, let the baby latch on. If the baby was soaked all the way through, I would change his diaper, or prod Earl and ask him to do it. I can't imagine forcing myself to sit in a rocking chair to nurse, or, even more of a challenge, going downstairs to warm up a bottle, coming back, feeding the baby, putting her back in her bed. Yikes!
With my first, I was probably more paranoid about hurting her or rolling onto her. I remember that I would be careful to aim my breath away from her face so she wouldn't get my exhaled carbon dioxide.
Co-sleeping does have its drawbacks. I can't tell you the number of times I would wake up and throw back the covers and say, "Where's the baby?" Of course, those were times when the baby wasn't in bed with us.
And, co-sleeping let my children be comfortable joining us whenever they were scared or just wanted some cuddle time when they got older. One of my favorite memories is of my middle son. I would hear his footsteps as he ran from his room, across the landing and then dived onto the bed. He was blond then and we teased him that his feet were square. Thum, thum, thum, thum, dive. I tried to imagine him waking up in the bottom of the bunk bed and getting up the nerve to brave the dark landing before he leaped into bed between me and my husband.
I should think about these memories more often. They might help me get through these teenage years.

1 comment:

Sheila said...

Several times we woke up to a missing baby, when the baby had actually started out in our bed. One time one of the toddlers had scooched up to the top corner where he could slide down between the bed and the wall and that's where he slept until I woke up in a panic looking for the baby. :)

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