Thursday 23 October 2008

On having my bed back again (after three years!) and losing it in one day...

We’ve always (like most Indian parents) been “bed-sharing” with Ads (I didn’t know that terms like co-sleeping, bed sharing or attachment parenting existed before we started living in the US. Names for what occurs naturally in Indian and most Asian and African cultures!) It has been a very cozy, intimate if sometimes somewhat uncomfortable experience. As he has grown bigger, he occupies more space and ends more nights spread-eagled diagonally across our super-size Cal-King mattress, leaving S and me clinging to the edges of the bed for dear life. For a while during the second trimester, I took refuge in a body pillow lent to me by a friend and effectively created a Lakshman-Rekha between myself and the father-son duo. Predictably enough, my state of nocturnal bliss did not last more than a few days; before long I found father and son cuddling up inside the body pillow and myself on the fringes. No matter – I promised myself, once my parents arrived, I would transition Ads to sleep in their bed and so end this tug-of-war once and for all.

For several weeks after they arrived, we had been trying to motivate Ads to move to their bed with no success. 3 days ago, he was bribed by the prospect of Naani relating “avalo” (“lots of”) stories to snooze him into naptime – in contrast to stingy old mommy who would only relate one or two stories – and he decided he was better off napping in the grandparents’ room.

One small victory achieved, we redoubled efforts to move him to their room at night-time. A full-scale attack was launched 2 nights ago with mommy promising him that he could sleep in the bright blue-and-orange sleeping bag which was dumped in the store-room, Thatha promising him lots of stories and Naani throwing in the appeal of a cozy cuddle under a brand new comforter (my son adores being cuddled and hugged and kissed, only by select people of course!). The little fellow got super-excited and insisted on kicking off his bed-time routine right then and there, so we rushed through the nightly pee-pee, change into pajamas and brushing of teeth without further ado and got him settled, amidst much giggling and excitement, into his new “bed”.

I must admit to a wonderful sense of relief on having my side of the bed to myself. S seemed to have separation anxiety though. He missed watching Ads staring silently into space for 15-20 minutes at a time before he finally drops into sleep (S keeps wondering what he could be thinking about!), he missed waking up umpteen times during the night to check that Ads is still under the covers, he missed throwing an arm over his son and resting his cheek against his……….as for me, the freedom to twist and turn any which way I please for these last few days before another little thing arrives to claim the middle space in our bed far outweighs these considerations.

However, I celebrated my "victory" a little too soon, because last night Ads insisted on me accompanying him to his new bedroom and whenever I made a tentative move to go back to my room, his lower lip would tremble dangerously and his beautiful eyes would shine with unshed tears. Soon enough, he asked me (in a heartbreakingly sweet voice) - "Can I sleep in my own bed with you and appa, pleeeeeeez?" Who had the heart to refuse?

He has bought time with promises to sleep with Naani and Thatha after "thanga-papa" (baby sister) arrives. In the meantime, we will try, try and try again until we succeed. S is secretly gleeful at the turn of events!

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