Maybe every month seems crazy and I just forget, but month nine seemed extra challenging. Two very sharp top teeth appeared. Two high fevers. One cold. Fourteen nights of very little sleep. Yes, I counted.
Silver lining, month nine ended with a new house. In fact, I type right now as E sleeps in her new Montessori bed, my out-of-the-box approach at getting her to sleep on her own. She refuses to be set down in a crib. Who can blame her, I don’t like to sleep by myself, either.
But, I can’t spend all my time asleep with her, so I did my homework and came across the Montessori bed. It works like this, a mattress on the floor with baby-safe bedding in a baby-safe (as much as that is possible) room. According to Montessori teachings, it gives babies the space to develop on their own terms. Honestly, though, that isn’t what sold me. If anything, I was a little skeptical a baby would sleep with so much freedom.
However, it was worth a shot because it was the only method for her to have her own space and for me to still be able to lie down next to her when needed. I nurse or sing to her with a little back rub, and she (usually) goes to sleep. So far, it works for a couple hours at a time and I no longer have to fear her tumbling out of our bed if she awakens without me.
As she gets bigger and I get antsier for time to myself, I completely get why parents choose to let babies cry it out. Still, I am hopeful for a gentler approach. Next stop, should there be one, is back to the crib and (a little) crying. My fingers are crossed we are headed in a good direction with this set-up. I also have to remind myself to treasure these moments of closeness as they last.
Patience, patience, patience.
Month nine has been a hard month, but a good month too. Our little adventure back home with the big family included many joyous moments. There are definitely things to be missed about communal living, just as there are things to be celebrated about our own space. Life is always filled with trade-offs. I am grateful for both experiences.
As we begin month ten, I am hopeful we will find a good rhythm on our own, E will sleep more independently, and I will make a serious dent in the book I am writing. Oddly, I feel like I will be able to write more living on our own because her naps are less interrupted and I have more space to bring in daytime caregivers. Then again, maybe being the mom of a baby makes it hard to write in any setting, but I am hopeful.
Hopes, hopes, hopes.