The luminous digital bedside clock says 01:00.
I know, because I'm wide away nursing my right cheek bone with ice. That's going to be one heck of a bruise, I think to myself. Without making a sound, I turn around and glare at the culprit. He's sprawled on his back, his arms folded behind his head as if he's lying on beach chair in Hawaii. His legs are still twitching, probably an after-shock from the encounter from my now bruised cheek. I glare at him, almost willing him to go for Round Two. A slow whistle escapes his parted lips. I sigh and get back into bed, contorting my body into weird angles, and try to catch a quick nap before the next attack.
Welcome to parenthood! And the joys and tortures of co-sleeping with your baby.
Now, just to make sure we don't go off in a tangent and start to argue about whether or not co-sleeping is good for your child, let me put in a huge disclaimer. I neither advocate nor condemn co-sleeping. Enough and more research has been done on the topic and there are two explicit sides to this argument. As for us, we've tried both, and due to a lot of health-related concerns, we decided to stick it out with co-sleeping. At least for now. But the way things are going, that's bound to change soon.
"Co-sleeping with your kids, especially a toddler, is an art. And along with millions of other parents, I demand that it be recognised as such."
Co-sleeping with your kids, especially a toddler, is an art. And along with millions of other parents, I demand that it be recognised as such. To really understand what I'm talking about, you must have slept with the enemy, which ironically in this case, is your darling little one. There are a number of positions that "the enemy" adopts to make sure he/she (or god bless you they) can inflict maximum discomfort. Of course, keeping with the "law of individuality", each of them may have different preferences for warfare methodologies. And they change. As they grow, it gets worse before it gets better. So have some sympathy for us parents who due to various reasons have no recourse but to bed down with our tormenters.
Mine, for example, started off with the I don't care about you phase, where he'd just lie in a corner and not move around at all. To be honest, this was bliss. We were less than a year into our parenthood at that point, and hence most of our information was gathered from the internet and parenting books. And not one of them mentioned this phase. As a new parent, I would find myself getting up frequently in the middle of the night just to make sure he was breathing, and wonder why he wasn't moving around as they said in the books. This phase lasted for approximately four weeks. Of course, undisturbed sleep still eluded us, since he had to feed every now and then.
In no time, we were at the If you're not coming to bed with me, then you have no place here phase. Ironically, this ultimatum did not come from my wife, but from my 12-month-old son. I'm often the last person to go to sleep in my family. So by the time, I eventually make my way to the bed, I'm quite tired. Having to partake in a power struggle to reclaim my side of the bed was not something I was prepared to indulge in. So as parents do, I quickly gave up my night-time endeavours and joined the family in bed, before it was too late. However there is something that truly defies all known laws. How can someone so small, take up so much space?
"[T]here is something that truly defies all known laws. How can someone so small, take up so much space?"
Of course, our troubles did not end there. Since I was in bed around the same time as him, my little one decided to up his game a bit. We'd re-arranged the bed in such a way, that one of the sides of the bed was adjacent to the wall. And we'd shifted him to the spot beside the wall, a move that I thought was brilliant in many ways. For one, it meant that not only could I sleep next to my wife, but I was also protected from his night-time martial arts. But as some bright and intelligent person once said: Never put doing the impossible past a kid, especially a toddler!
Needless to say, in the middle of the night, he'd somehow make sure he delivered his karate-style punches and kicks on me. Since then, we've been through :
- The Bridge phase, where he lies horizontally between my wife and me, effectively keeping us away from each other.
- The Over the face phase, where he lies over my face/neck, sometimes drooling all over my neck, other times, just suffocating me.
- The I like your hair in my mouth phase, where he twirls the strands of my wife's hair with his little fingers and then shoves it into his mouth; fortunately I escaped this phase.
- The I've got my eyes on you phase, where he suddenly sits up in the middle of night, and observes you like a hunter stalking his prey. It freaks me out each time.
And now we're currently in the Inverted phase, where somehow he invariably ends up lying in a direction opposite to us, so his feet tickle our noses. "How bad could it be?" I hear you ask. This phase also incorporates the Ninja phase as we call it, where he feels compelled by some unseen force to throw some savage kicks, which unfailingly find their mark -- me.
As the clock nears the witching hour, I must wrap this post up, eat my dinner and rush to bed before I lose my spot.
I guess Charles Darwin knew what he was saying when he stated, "It is not the strongest nor the most intelligent of the species that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change."
He was obviously a parent.
A version of this blog was previously published on www.iwrotethose.com