Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Breath of Fresh Air

Today, Steve and I got to take a break from our hectic, adult lives to spend lunch with our beautiful son and his classmates. It was such a nice interruption to surround ourselves with tiny bubbles of energy and excitement and giggles and chatter. Piping up voices that told story after story. Repeated phrases and pantomime and more giggles. So refreshing.

I teach high school juniors and seniors. To go from watching my students, kids who are too cool to look like they care about anything, even though they desperately do, to ones who were no more than three feet tall and bouncing with joy at the mere thought of chocolate milk made me walk back in to school and finish the day with a huge grin plastered to my face.

Would I want that all the time? No. There is a reason I teach high school. But spending an hour with them was sheer joy. I can only hope I get to accompany the wonderful teachers who care for my son and his friends on a field trip. I would love it. And it would give me a bank of giggles from which to draw when things get too heavy, too dark, too stressed to see straight. In the meantime, we're going to the pumpkin patch this weekend. It was a welcome reminder of enjoying the simple things in life, and taking in as much living as you can. Like drinking a bottle of chocolate milk.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Family Bed

Many schools of thought exist regarding the use of, or the absolute denial of the Family Bed. Numerous cultures, outside the U.S., make ready use of the Family Bed and see nothing wrong with continuing with life as if the children were not there.

I have been part of varying and heated debates at lunch as my co-workers and I discuss raising our children - we have a young department, and all but two of the English teachers have children - the majority of the children are age 5 and younger. (We told students to stay far away from the water fountains in our hallway during a 2 year stretch there - it was obviously contagious...)

Ultimately, among our group, we have some parents who adamantly refuse to allow children in the bed, parents who allow children in the bed for specific reasons (ill, bad dream, etc.), and... me. 

Sydney is our only child. He will be our only child. What may have been by choice at one point is now no longer up to us. Nature made sure of that. We're fine with that. We've had time to heal, to discuss, to move on. But since our only child is so young, still, we want to capture as much of the joy he brings as possible.

Admittedly, this means he may get away with certain things more than I would allow if we had more than one child. Discipline is set - I will not allow us to slack off on that. But I really do not have a problem with Syd sleeping with us, as long as he goes to bed in his own bed, first.

He is very good about that. We bathe, read stories, cuddle and rock, and he goes to bed in his own bed. He sleeps soundly, most nights, until around 2 when he crawls in beside us and goes right back to sleep. And, thankfully, his sleeping with us has comforted him enough to where he is beginning to sleep until (gasp! Eruptions of angelic praise!) 6 am!! 

Steve gets up at 5 to work out, and I and Syd cuddle until 6 when we finally get up. (Eventually, the plan is to get up at 5:30 and work out, too... ).

My point to this posting is explain that it doesn't have to be black and white. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. I enjoy cuddling with my baby boy, who is no longer such a baby. I enjoy waking during the night to hear his soft snore. I truly love knowing he feels comfortable enough with both of us to slip immediately back into a restful slumber after crawling in with us. And as long as Daddy and I have bedtime to finally get to discuss our days and cuddle, without distraction or talking over the top of a garrulous 3 year old, what is so wrong with our Family Bed? 

Will this continue? Of course not. There will come a point where it will be a little off-putting. And I have a feeling Syd will feel that way before Steve and I do. Honestly, if he doesn't reach that conclusion first, we will enable it. But for now, while he's 3, I will cherish what time my son wants to spend with us, because it is so fleeting, and because I feel as though I'm holding on to a moon beam.