Dot writes: so…we chickened out. Treaties are at present being drawn up by experienced baby lawyers specifying the precise number of minutes we are allowed to sleep in positions of our choosing before Frank reoccupies his rightful territory. I’d taken the boys to spend the afternoon at my friend Claudie’s house (where, incidentally, Frank crawled into the inflatable paddling pool by crushing the side down, without turning a hair at the cold water, and with all his clothes on) and we came home quite late. Frank was already crying when I brought him in from the car. I handed him to Ken – and he turned on me the look of most agonising betrayal, in the meantime raising his cries to a scream, as if to say “are you again abandoning me?” At that point I realised we couldn’t do it again. Ken was happy to agree (despite the comment he left on the last post). Being the stay-at-home parent has mellowed him.
I like to think our efforts (Ken’s efforts, Frank’s suffering) last night were not wasted. I’ve always been ambivalent about co-sleeping, suspended in the middle between the adamant cot-down-the-corridor brigade and the equally firm how-could-you-do-that-to-your-child tribe. Without a doctrinaire stance to maintain I’ve tended to feel guilty from both angles: why aren’t we resolute enough to fix these sleep problems? why are we complaining about a natural and loving arrangement? Now I know my position: this baby has me round his little inadequately manicured finger. He’s in the cot right now for his usual early-night sojourn. (It’s 9.30, but it’s so hot and light that counts as early.) I have little doubt that in an hour or so he will stir and join us in the bed. And that’s where he’s probably going to stay until he’s four, so we’d better learn to like it.