I’m sat here surrounded by caffeine and chocolate. It’s the middle of the morning, nap time, and I’m already flagging. Last night I was in bed for over ten hours. Did I sleep for that long? Did I hell.
‘Make the most of your sleep now, before the baby comes!’
Pre-parent me would laugh every time someone said that. Sure, we all know that newborns are sleep thieves but how hard could it really be? Surely even babies grow up at some point? Yet here I am, eighteen months later, surviving on far less than I ever thought possible. We’ve gone from a newborn that woke hourly, to bed-sharing. From bed-sharing to multiple night-feed wake ups. And now? We’re in a whole new ball park.
He sleeps. He sleeps well. And whilst we get our bed to ourselves at the start of the night, it’s around 2am that the attraction begins. He’s woken and his cot isn’t as fun as ours. It’s not as warm, not as snuggly and it’s missing two vital components; Daddy and me.
In our nightly moment of weakness, we forget reason and bring him in. It works. He is quiet, peaceful and often drops back to sleep in seconds. At least one of us does. Our bed is not made for three. A double implies just that; it’s not the super kingsize that I wanted. It’s a double, for two, with an imposter in the middle. An imposter who, despite his tiny size manages to splay his body diagonally between his father and myself. Alternating between kicking him and swiping me in the face with his flailing arms.
Now it’s not just us adults fighting for pillow space and valuable mattress room. It’s all three of us. Some nights we move him back into his own room, some nights we pass out on the edges of the bed, clinging on for dear life. I dream of the times we talked about getting a bigger bed, weighing up the fact that anything larger would turn our bedroom into mattress from wall to wall. Knowing that in making the decision to have a smaller bed, we were following the crowd – apparently, according to research, even more of us are going smaller, in line with our smaller houses.
I miss my sleep.
Even when I wake up, the bed still isn’t mine. I’m consigned to an even tinier slither of the side whilst the middle of the mattress becomes a play zone; a farm yard, a race track, a trampoline even. If I thought that space was at a premium when we’re all snoozing, it’s when we wake that the real fun begins. Our morning turns into a game where we all pretend to ignore any need to get up, safe in the knowledge that if we move an inch, our space is gone.
When we bought our bed, a double was more than enough for us. We looked at upgrading to a king size when we moved house but decided against it. A new frame and mattress would have been an expense we just couldn’t justify, not to mention the new bedding we’d need to go on it. After all, isn’t one of the perks of a bigger bed, a bigger quilt!? I felt torn between having the space in our bedroom to live and the space in our bed to sleep.
Now I’m a parent I know which I’d choose in a heartbeat. We have a whole house for living in. We have one (tiny) bed for sleeping in (technically we have a spare bed as well but we’re not that desperate… yet!). So every morning, when I wake to a toddler foot jammed into my pelvis or a tractor being rolled over my head by my little bed intruder I curse pre-parent me. You don’t need space in a bedroom, you need space in a bed. Next stop for our family? A new bed. My sleep is too precious!