We’ve always been a co-sleeping family. The pros and cons you’ll find in myriads of lists all over the internet never made too much of an impression on us. No, you won’t roll onto your baby. That just doesn’t happen. (I’m still laughing about the nurse in hospital, that moment when she realized that I had my little girl with me in bed and not in the cot beside me. “Aren’t you afraid you’ll roll onto her?” Lady, I just had a C-section. I’m happy if it takes me less than ten minutes to simply get up. Spontaneously rolling about is completely out of the question.)
As a newborn, our son would sleep in our bed, later in his cot next to my side. It made breastfeeding a lot easier and we all got a load of extra cuddles. His baby sister arrived just as he had got used to sleeping in his own room, so back he came, because if she’s allowed, it’s only fair if he’s allowed too. That was the moment we bought a bigger bed… Finally moving them out didn’t prove too much of a problem, maybe because we moved them into a shared room at first, so they wouldn’t feel too alone. They’d sometimes sneak back in with us during the night, something which gradually happened less and less and by now barely happens at all.
We’re still a co-sleeping family on weekends or during the school holidays though. With the kids being ten and eight now, and of sizes appropriate for their age, stuffing all four of us (plus the rather large dog, plus two cats) into one bed isn’t feasible anymore. Luckily, there’s a big sofa bed in the living room, so those nights not followed by a school day always start with the question who will sleep where, and if we can’t agree, we’ll pull the mattress off the sofa bed and onto the floor, drag the guest mattress down from the attic, and play campsite in the living room.
Now you’re probably wondering what I’m aiming at, since the title of this post mentioned danger, and I’ve only been talking sunshine and butterflies… well… those pros-and-cons lists about co-sleeping… they totally fail to mention one thing.
Talking in your sleep.
I do tend to have rather vivid dreams. I always know they’re dreams, which is a huge advantage, because I can totally lean into them and let them flow, let my imagination take me to the moon and back, while simultaneously knowing that I can always pull out. As you can probably imagine, that makes me a pretty active participant in my own dreams, or, in other words, I do a good bit of the talking. Sometimes I do that out loud. Most of the time what makes it past my lips is only unintelligible mumbling, no matter how clear it sounds to me (yes, I do wake myself up that way). Recently, though…
I had this dream, I don’t recall the fine details, but at some point I was sitting and reading a newspaper. To be precise: an article about people who accidentally (lottery win, inheritance, whatever) got rich somewhere between their forties and their fifties. The question raised by that article was, what did they do with those vast sums of money they never expected to have? Live their dreams, do some good? Some of them, maybe, I didn’t get that far, because the first guy I read about said he’d immediately gone and invested the money in no-fail stocks. What’s no-fail anymore these days? Well, arms factories, of course. War machineries. There was only one possible reaction to that revelation. I dropped the newspaper onto the table and a single word escaped me, crossed the boundaries of sleep and burst into the waking world…
The next thing I heard was my little girl’s incredulous voice. “Mom? What did you just say?”
I was as instantly wide awake as a bucket of ice wouldn’t have managed to make me. Shit. Shit, shit, shit. “Um… just talking in my sleep?”
That, my friends, is the real danger in co-sleeping, that no one ever talks about. She’ll never let me hear the end of it.