Friday, January 23, 2004

Sleeping with baby

Have I mentioned how much I hate sharing a bed with Helena? I mean I really hate it. It evokes an image of all sweet and tenderness, mother and child basking in each other's warmth, anchored in peacefulness, restful. But it's the opposite.

It might be that she feels my presence, and that keeps waking her. Or possibly, in the course of a usual night she wakes just as often, but since I'm in the next room I don't notice. If we're sharing a bed, there's already an unusual circumstance at play: we're in a strange environment, staying the night with family or friends; or as was the case last night, Helena wakes in the night, crying frantically for some reason we can't pinpoint, and cannot be calmed.

J-F suggests nightmares as the source of her trouble. I usually suspect teeth. Yesterday may have been the wind rattling her windows (though she continued to wake in our room, which has no such windows to rattle).

For some reason, once she's in our bed, J-F sleeps soundly, assured of her security. Not me. I'm not at ease. I'm still afraid of crushing her; she's still tiny. And I worry for her, speculating on her pains and fears, and praying for her restful sleep.

Yet, after a dreadful night, I look forward to sharing a nap with baby this afternoon. Perhaps we'll fall asleep in each other's arms while I'm reading to her. More likely I'll crash to the mattress, digging my palms into my eye sockets, waiting for the Motrin to kick in, and Helena will clamber over Mount Mommy, and bounce along my thigh in victory, and climb back to the other side, and try it again, and again, and again, till she collapses in exhaustion.

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