Frank 1, Parents 0

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.

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7 thoughts on “Frank 1, Parents 0

  1. Lily Roth

    Hmmm…I’m afraid our little Pingle also has us both wrapped around his finger. I do hope he will want his own bed before he’s four!

  2. Katimum

    Never mind, we’ll have another go at Beddgelert, and Granddad can wheel Frank round the surrounding countryside while the rest of us get some sleep! (Ho, ho…)

  3. kenanddot

    As it happens Frank was very snuffly last night and had a rather miserable time anyway; but at least mummy was there to comfort him. They do say you shouldn’t try to sleep-train a baby who’s not feeling well.

  4. Oh, sympathies and virtual hugs and consoling noises to all of you, from the other side of the world (and you’re probably moving towards bedtime again now). Thinking of you …

  5. We found, as you might remember, that Lucas was far harder to sleep-train than Jonah, for many of the reasons you mention above (harder to let the second child cry without waking the first; more tolerant of the wakings). Bizarrely, what seemed to work for L. was moving country. He’s slept like an absolute log since we moved (famous last words) – until 8:30am yesterday! It was a LONG time coming, but we’re finally at the stage where we go to bed expecting not to be woken, rather than the inverse. With Lucas, it all seemed tied to dropping his nap, which of course is a long way off for Frank… Good luck, whatever you decide! x

  6. kenanddot

    @Katimum: have you consulted Grandpapa about this? I hope he brings his most durable walking-boots…
    @Obrienatrix: we fling ourselves gratefully into your virtual hugs. We need them.
    @Lily Roth: if co-sleeping is working for you I think that’s great. And I think they normally do move out before they’re four.
    @Sarah: I’m glad to hear Lucas is doing so well – you’ve definitely earned it!

  7. We co-sleep and like it. There are benefits on each side. It’s just a matter of balancing everybody’s needs and desires. Frank sounds more like Clem than Hugh and he actively resists moving out of our bed. But we have a big bed and like him there. My number one recommendation, if your going to co-sleep, is to invest in a BIG bed and a very good mattress, preferably foam. Ours is king size. I’d have an even bigger one if I didn’t like the mattress so much (the foam ones are really good but costly).

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