“What does it say?” Breezy squinted down at the Times New Roman text and frowned. “It says not to let them sleep on their stomachs because of SIDS.” She frowned looking down at Rai, sleeping sweetly on her stomach. Aspen cocked his head to the side, his pose for deep thinking. “Should I turn her over?” Breezy felt panic rise in her chest, “NO, no…um I’ll watch her,” she squeaked, lying down next to the cooing sleeper. It took Breezy about five and a half minutes to neglect her baby watching duties and fall asleep. Aspen glanced over, grinned, and watched over both of them as they slept.
Instinct is an interesting thing; birds use it to navigate unimaginable distances, flying headlong into places they have never been before with pure confidence and gusto. Beavers construct and implement large dams with no other tools than teeth and tail. And of course, moms subdue the angry onslaught of baby wails by feeding them, rocking them, singing to them, and cuddling them close.
Husband’s everywhere have long admired and wondered at this amazing baby calming super power. Aspen wasn’t keeping track, but he knew that Breezy’s record for getting Rai to fall asleep instead of melt down, far outstretched his own. “I don’t get it, I do exactly the same things as you do.” He frowned down at the now quiet bundle sleeping in Rai’s arms. “I’m just not good with her.” Rai shook her head, sleepily. “No honey, it’s not that. I think she just smells my milk or something. I don’t know.”
In the early Rai days, Breezy and Aspen were still quartered closely and snuggly in their 5th wheel. Aspen had constructed a sort of baby cosleeper off the side of their bed, but 99% of the time she simply slept cradled in Breeze’s arms.
Breezy was not what you would call a rebel, and she mostly stayed away from making any sort of ‘statement’. She didn’t like to rock the boat, a saying that here refers to offending anyone. She didn’t want to make waves, referring to starting arguments. She heard the daily onslaught of baby advice from sister to local grocery clerk, “are you still breastfeeding?” She didn’t know what social barrier eroded with the birth of a baby, but she thought maybe it was some ancient social obligation that was still felt – it takes a village to raise a baby. Whatever the reason, she heard over and over again that it was dangerous to cosleep. That it was psychologically damaging to the baby to cosleep. That it would ruin her marriage to cosleep. That she or her husband would roll over the baby if they coslept.(Aside – It was also deeply believed that no baby could grow or thrive in a 5th wheel, as if a baby was like a goldfish – growing only as big as their surroundings.)
Breezy would smile and nod her head, “interesting” and then do exactly what she had always been doing; what she knew in her heart worked perfectly for her family. Instinct if you will. She had stopped reading the books and the articles, worrying to the point of anxiety about the right thing to do. Breezy slept lighter with Rai cuddled close, waking with every roll and fidget, but then fell back asleep easily in the dark quiet room. Rai would wake every few hours, stomach growling and would make a noise, rousing Breezy, who would roll Rai over and feed her on the other side. She never had to get up and rock Rai back to sleep. the light never came on, Aspen never had to get up and feed her a bottle, and within ten minutes, both were back asleep again. Rai never fell off the side of the bed as Breezy’s mother feared. No one ever rolled over her, as the grocery clerk feared, and everyone was sleeping.
By the time Breezy was 9 months old and crawling, the group had moved into a larger abode closer to Aspen’s work. It was a quaint little one bedroom duplex, complete with yard. Rai loved the extra space to crawl around, Breezy loved the yard and the extra space for a bookcase, and Aspen loved that it was closer to work. Rai continued to sleep in bed with the family, and nap sprawled out arms and legs wide, trying to take up as much space on the queen sized pad as she could.
Around the end of Rai’s first year of life, sleep was getting harder. Teething had started so little Rai would wake every couple of hours to feed, leaving Breezy grumpy and frumpled, and Aspen pushed to the side of the bed. “Someone in the Kingdom Hall offered us a crib!” Breezy triumphantly announced one morning. Aspen picked it up in his truck, put it together in the side of the room, and it sat unused for around a month. Breezy tried every once in awhile to put Rai down, but she would immediately feel the sinking feeling, and her eyes would shoot open and she would start wailing.
“Let’s just take the one side off and scoot it up against the bed like a sleeper. I can just roll her over onto it once she falls asleep.” Rai highly approved of this new idea, and so it stands as the current solution, as the daily adventures of sleep continue.