Attachment parenting is something I believe in and try to practice. I have given birth three times in a joyful participatory drug-free manner, carried my babies in slings and wraps close to my heart, have breastfed each baby for as long as they desired (still am), and am dedicated and connected to who they are and what they like and need and how they feel and so on.
And I have co-slept. There is a difference between co-sleeping and bedsharing. Though they shared their own room consisting of their own beds, the children have always been welcome in our bed. In fact, our bed is a mattress on the floor in order to be more accessible for toddlers in the middle of the night. Yes, this was a conscious parenting decision - "Let's just put our new mattress on the floor. It'll be easier for the babies to crawl into bed with us" one of us said while the other spouse simultaneously nodded in agreement.
The summer vacation ritual has been that Tulip is the first to awake. She crawls into bed with me and gets in "her spot". Wolfie wakes soon after and nestles into "his spot". Luna had been in a crib until recently. Now she is in a bed of her own which means she is free to roam.
Now things have shifted. You see, there is only one mama. And mama only has two sides.
This morning Luna visited me at about 4:00, nursed and stayed. I love it. Tulip found me and took the other available spot, Wolfie's spot. When Wolfie arrived, he stood at the foot of the bed and began negotiations. Among the three I sensed mounting tension and saw lips jutting forward, quivering, heard strain in their voices as they communicated their desires knowing someone was going to get a bad deal.
Oh, and it was 6:15. Why, oh why, won't my kids sleep in. It's summer vacation for goodness sakes. I do not like a few things. 1) Not getting enough sleep; 2) Being cajoled out of bed with pulls on the arm or the dreaded whip-off-the-blanket; 3) Being urged, verbally, to get out of bed now, get out of bed now, get out of bed now by a small person at the side of my bed where, when I am good and ready to get out of bed, would like to swing my feet. By myself.
I want to get out of bed alone. I mean, even if there is a sleeping little person there, I could still get up when I am ready, and physically get up on my own without any...ahem...assistance.
Gabe sleeps though all of this nonsense, by the way.
So here is my solution this morning. I tell the girls that they had a turn to snuggle me all to themselves and it is Wolfie's turn. I tell the girls that they can play in their room for a little while (I mean, why don't they just do this when they wake up anyway?) and Wolfie is going to snuggle me for a little while. The girls get out of bed; Wolfie gleefully, triumphantly jumps into bed.
But. The girls stay in my room. In fact, they stay right by the bed resisting the urge to do numbers 2 and 3 mentioned above.
Then. Luna, who is two and doesn't really understand compromise (or probably does because two year-olds are smarter than we give them credit for; so smart in fact, that they can rely on the fact that we all assume they do not understand something like compromise and then get exactly what they want) and crawls right back into her spot. Uh huh. She did. Tulip looks at the three of us, crushed. She says, simply, "Luna got back in bed with you."
I tell Tulip that I have a new spot for her...right on top of me. Tulip = supreme victor. Wolfie gets it and so does Luna, because she's two and knows exactly what she just did.
Then I tell them that they can go watch a show because, here I will shamelessly quote myself, "Mama needs to sleep by myself for a few minutes and get up on my own." I tell Wolfie they can watch a Fishtronaut and I'll get up soon (21 minutes, I know this).
Yes. I substituted Netflix for myself. Why? Because Wolfie totally learned how to do the whole thing - he can turn on the TV and use the Wii controller to select and play shows.
Oh, and because when Mama gets to wake up on her own, by herself, she is a much, much happier mama. And happier, well-rested mamas make for better attachment parenting mamas.
Or, is it the other way around?