The Family Bed

There’s an old tradition in Ireland, the wake bed, a family bed where the dead are waked. Well, the family bed takes on a whole new meaning when you have children: the awake bed!

When your new baby arrives home from the hospital all your plans to not spoil him go out the window. He is a tiny little soul and you are his slave. He squeaks, you run. You are completely in his control!

You planned to feed him, bathe him, dress him, play with him, show him off and at the end of the day, put him to sleep in his lovely new crib!

Real life isn’t like that…

You’ve fed him, bathed him, dressed him, played with him, showed him off and, sleeping soundly in your arms, you’ve tenderly placed him in his lovely new crib. His eyes open, he glares at you, opens his mouth wide and screams loud enough to awaken the dead!

How dare you abandon him like that?

At the end of a tiring day you dolefully give in to his battle cry; you lift him and he stops… you are in his grip!

As days and nights merge into one he habitually sandwiches himself between mummy and daddy!

Number two arrives and it becomes a priority to make number one stay in his own bed. But, oh no, he doesn’t like that! He may start off there but he makes his own way into the family bed throughout the night.

You may resort to tricks to encourage him to stay in his own room. Lovely new bed-clothes, soft character lighting, soothing music, pretty mobiles…

Don’t fool yourself; he’s well ahead of you! His nocturnal excursions continue. You beg, you plead, for a full night’s sleep in your own bed without your little visitor – but it falls on deaf ears! Still he pays his call.

You resort to purchasing a new bed for yourself, a bigger one. You have a bright idea: let the wee man have your old bed. He’ll like that, his own big bed, just like mummy and daddy!

More lovely bedclothes, lots of praise for your little treasure. Why didn’t you think of it sooner?

Oh, the naivety of first-time parents.

His new bed might be bigger but so is yours; there’s even more room between mummy and daddy now. So he can bring a few toys along too!

As the family grows so does the gap. You precariously hang off one side of the new big bed as your husband hangs off the other, but you smile as you sing along to, ‘There were five in the bed and the little one said,”Roll Over!”‘

Life imitates nursery rhymes. Didn’t you know that?

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