Given the fact that everyone involved is completely unconscious during the period under question, it’s amazing how much consideration is given to where the baby sleeps.
Okay, I’m a sucker for hug up whole night…with the baby and, yes I admit it, Stone is left to sleep on the far, Arctic side of the bed. But does it really matter? Is my marriage really at stake? Is this really going to affect my child’s ability to be independent? Will any of us ever be able to recover? Am I being a bad mother? Is it worse to be a bad wife?
I’m guessing that every single parent and rationale person on the planet will tell me to get Ziya used to sleeping in the crib again, and I have a sneaking suspicion that they are right. It’s not that I’m spoiling her, I’m spoiling me. It’s obvious that we each think that night is really the only time we get to be together, hearing each other breathe, smelling each other’s skin. Where does that leave Stone? This is indeed a good question as the Arctic is a vast, cold and isolated place. Will I feel this way only temporarily and, eventually, will both Zi and I be ready to give up all this loving up for sleeping alone (her) and hugging up only my husband again (me)? It’s hard to say and it’s hard to care.
I could be the only person to feel this way – or to admit it – but I’m in love…with Zi, far more than I’ve ever been in love with Stone (whom I’m still in love with) and right now, its all heady endorphin-infused mutual attachment. Zi misses me during the whole week, I miss her and Stone is peripheral because each of us is the other’s North Star. It’s bad, really bad. It’s worse for me because I know it’s not too long before her process of individuation starts with all its little shifts from a dependent baby to a truly separate human being, the kind who simply is no longer on you. I don’t want to keep her little and hold her too tight, I just want to hold her tight now, in fact hold now tight, while she still lets me.
I’ve heard it all. The stories of women whose children are still sharing their bed when they are ten or for that matter seventeen, and whose husbands are either in the bed with them or have made their bed somewhere else in the house. I’ve heard the warnings about how Stone’s suggestions to put Ziya back in the crib should not only be heard, but taken seriously. I’ve heard all kinds of psychological theories about ‘natural’ and ‘normal’ child development. I recognise there are multiple perspectives and everyone has a view and somewhere inside I understand why this is an issue. I see why the question of where three people lie unconsciously over a few dark hours is at the heart of how you organise your multiple relationships and selves after you have a baby. I also think that surely it can’t be the source of the crises prophesised. We are, after all, unconscious during this time. How bad can it be?
I guess, more importantly, there are three people in this family and the desires of two count more than the third. I get that inequality and loss in status and say, and it makes me feel sorry, but it doesn’t stop me from wanting to go to sleep and just hug up my baby. As he shivers in the long night of virtual abandonment, I wonder how long a tolerant, understanding and patient husband will indulge me. I’m going to go thank him, give him a hug and let him know I’m living a dream I always wanted, partly because I know he loves me and lets me.