The Newborn Diaries: Kicking baby out of our bed
When I imagined what married life would be like, I certainly didn't think that I would be waking every morning, tightly cuddling my... baby.
Not that I don't love co-sleeping with Diana. Now that I've been doing it for so long, I'm over the initial phobia that had Diana taking up the entire bed and me sleeping in a sliver of space – she now has a more modest ¾ of the bed and my husband and I can almost stretch out in the ¼ of space allotted to us.
Since baby D is moving everywhere and rolling around now, I'm not as terrified of crushing her as I once was, so I can really get in there and snuggle with her. It feels like we're continuing the bonding of the early days.
But she's over six months now and has never once slept in her cot. While having a baby crawling around in bed with you is a contraceptive of sorts (useful for parents of newborns), there comes a time when the baby needs to get the boot. I need to reclaim my bed.
I can only begin to imagine the pathologies that are threatening to take hold of baby D (will I be accompanying her on sleepovers when she's older?) if I don't get her into her own room and bed, pronto.
So begins project "Get baby to sleep in the cot." This involves serious planning and skill (not two of my strong points at the moment), because even though her cot has plenty to offer her - tunes from a Winnie-the-Pooh mobile, tons of stuffed animals, space to crawl around - I'm not there. And she knows it.
Last week, Diana started falling asleep right after lunch - her head was lolling while she was still in the high chair. So I seized the opportunity, grabbed a dummy (no point in even attempting this risky procedure without my parenting crutch) and got Diana upstairs into her cot.
Within seconds, she was wide awake, had gotten herself onto her tummy and was screaming.
I knew this would happen - this is why I've been dreading this moment. I read that if you leave a tired baby to cry for 10 minutes - which feels like an eternity when your child is screaming bloody murder - they'll usually manage to fall asleep on their own.
I repositioned Diana close to one of the cot sides to prevent her from rolling (she'd probably be embarassed to find I'm revealing this, but her big secret is that like Zoolander, baby D can't turn left!), and went out of the room. Sure enough, after 10 minutes of screaming - silence.
I tiptoed in to check on her and she was sleeping (miracle!), but also gripping the cot bars for dear life like a cell. Not going to think about the psychological implications of that one.
I actually got Diana to sleep in the cot yesterday as well, so I'm starting to feel that this is a surmountable hurdle. Plus, at nursery they told me that after stuffing a bottle of milk down her gullet and letting her play for 20 minutes, the staff were able to get Diana to bed in the cot as well.
I'm thrilled that Diana is slowly but surely getting used to the big girl bed. I also know I'm a coward because while it's great for her to nap in the crib during the day, what about when it really counts?
I'm too terrified of a sleepless night to try.
For more musings on motherhood, follow me on Twitter @jenbnyc.