The topic of 'sleeping' is often a hot button subject for parents... including us, I'd say. We have pretty firm ideas about sleeping - and, specifically, night-time parenting. If there are, broadly speaking, two sleeping camps - 'crying it out', and 'not crying it out', we are firmly rooted in the latter. We co-sleep, and while we attempt to put Raf in his crib for the first part of the night (much safer in there until I get to bed), we happily sleep with the little cherub tucked in the middle. If he's upstairs on his own I literally run up the stairs if I hear him begin to even snivel... and if I am more than a minute it's usual to find Raf standing in his cot, arms out stretched with a pained look on his face wondering where we are.
it's honestly a bit heartbreaking.I don't know how I could possibly leave him up there on his own.
And we truly love co-sleeping. Raf is a snuggly little boy who likes to have his arms wrapped around your neck, or he likes to lie on top of you (especially when he's teething and it's less pressure on his poor little gums), and it's simply a gift to wake up to a little boy who, already awake, is waving his hands around in the air, watching them in the pre-dawn light as he amazes himself with the shapes he makes. And I think that, for a little boy like Raf, he benefits so much from the security and the closeness especially when I'm at work all day.
But, you know, it's also pretty exhausting. Raf is 18 and a half months and in that time I have yet to sleep through the night because Raf is up a lot in the night. He doesn't always wake up fully but if I didn't help in some way he certainly would wake up and it wouldn't be a pretty situation. Sometimes I am up - or awake - 10 days a night. I am very fortunate in that I don't need a ton of sleep but it's a side of parenting that people often don't see, especially beyond the early months when there is somewhat of an expectation that you WILL be up. But when little ones are Raf's age it's almost taboo to admit that they are far from sleeping through the night, that you still help them with sleep, and so forth. To my mind sleeping through the night is not something that is really learned, rather, it's more a milestone.
Yet it can be challenging, especially when one parent is responsible for the majority of the night-time parenting. it IS exhausting especially when Raf is teething or is ill and needs even more comforting and help. It's not an unusual night to see every hour on my alarm clock, and it can be difficult when work looms and you're feeling ragged from night one trillion with virtually no more than 2 hours consecutive sleep.
But it's worth it; it really is. I truly think that Raf is a happier little boy for it. Well, that is what I am telling myself :)