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I’m hosting my first Thanksgiving in our new home! Did I mention we bought a house? We closed at the end of July and been settling in for a little over 3 months now. It’s beautiful and so much more spacious than our former home, which we still love & miss, but square footage matters, folks.

I haven’t updated since March (like 7 months?!), sadly haven’t written my column since I left the Duplin Times, and I really miss writing and just having multiple creative outlets in general. A lot of things have happened since my last post.

My new job doesn’t have a lot of creativity involved, sadly. I still get to do some freelance magazine design on the side, and I get to tell other off-site designers how to do things, but I don’t get to do much myself. I’m really trying to find resources and platforms to get myself some freelance work, but it’s proving rather difficult competing against other designers for jobs. I do enjoy my new job, for the most part, the people and short commute especially, but I was indeed happier at my old job.

Dylan – I mentioned in my last post how he had to go to Duke because there was an abnormality in his eye. It all happened very fast: We saw the specialist at Duke, she diagnosed his problem, a hamartoma (kind of like a tumor) on the back of his eye, pulling on his optic nerve and retina. It had to be detached immediately because it was hindering the development of his peripheral vision (which may never completely return but it won’t hinder him in any way), and ran the risk of tearing his retina. So, on April 5th, he had surgery on his eye.
He had a follow up in June, all seems fine now, and he goes back to Duke for another follow up next month.

Jerry is doing great at his after-school program, UCP Easter Seals EMPOWER – it really has made all of the difference in our house. I don’t know what I would do without that program. Things are still a little rough sometimes, but not having to come home to chaos every night is huge.

Todd started working at the local New Bern newspaper with me back in April, so now we’re both close to home and the kids, which is good.

So, there’s my update for now. I had something else on my mind when I came here, but I went down a rabbit hole instead.

Happy Holidays!

Don’t brush your teeth with the Desitin

I started struggling with depression in high school when I was around 16. There was pressure to perform well in school, participate in after school clubs, sports, stay involved in church activities (that was another life), and of course the birth of my surprise little brother in 2002. My depression manifested itself as extreme exhaustion and anxiety that would turn into panic attacks where my face and hands would go numb and I couldn’t breathe. I started having migraines that nothing but sleep in a pitch black room could cure, sometimes to the point of vomiting. It affected my personality by making me focus only on the negative things in my life, and whenever you put a magnifying glass on anything, it makes them seem a lot larger than they truly are.

It peaked when I was around 20 and going through my divorce from my first & very brief marriage. I started seeing a therapist and was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder and started taking some medication to manage it, and another medication to take when I felt the onslaught of a panic attack.

I lost a few friends during this time of my life, but I was so lucky to have better friends (Todd, Crystal, Andrew, Danielle, Lance, among many others) that stuck by me and understood that what I was going through was a period of my life, and not who I was. Todd impresses me most of all, because he managed to meet me during one of the most tumultuous times in my life, fell for me, and stuck with me all the way through it. My only explanation for this is that he was going through his own growth period, and we went through it and grew together.

I lead with this not to get into any sort of back story or anything, but just to let you know briefly where I’ve been to come out the other side, and where I am now, at age 30. I’m no longer taking any medications and I can’t remember the last time I’ve had a panic attack. Migraines, which used to be a part of my daily existence, are a thing of the past.

When I go through things now, I can’t help but think of how a former version of myself would have handled it.

“This would have sent me into a tailspin a few years ago.”

“Really?”, asks my new favorite coworker. “That doesn’t seem like you.”

“A lot of things have changed.”

First things first, and let me be perfectly frank and not mince words: ROLLER DERBY SAVED MY LIFE.

When I found out there was a roller derby team in my area and they were recruiting, I was out there immediately. I skated for about 2 years, and I knew it was time to stop when on my way to practice one night, I began having a panic attack. The activity which had helped me overcome my anxiety was now causing it. I still remember my time doing it fondly, but like most things in life, they come in seasons.

Roller derby saved my life because I met people from all walks of life, from all mental and physical backgrounds, and we all threw ourselves on a rink together and threw ourselves at each other and threw our fucking problems on the floor. Some of the best friends I have today, and will probably have for the rest of my life, I have because of roller derby. It toughened me up physically, but most of all, it strengthened me mentally. However, it was a process. I didn’t get there immediately.

And I know the people in my life were divided into a couple camps when I was involved in the sport/activity/cult/gang/lesbian 3-ring-circus – whatever they called it. Some people thought it was awesome, and others thought I was being incredibly selfish. To be honest, I probably was – but at that time in my life, it was imperative that I focus on myself for a while. It really made all the difference.

Another thing that changed me was around the time I stopped doing roller derby, we started trying to have a baby. We spent about 3 years trying for (and losing) babies. It was going through this unimaginable pain that made me realize things could always be so much worse and helped me put life’s daily problems into proper perspective.

I left my high-stress job as a preschool teacher at a daycare and got back into publishing. I got healthier, less stressed, saw a fertility doctor, got a diagnosis for our miscarriages and finally had a successful pregnancy – Dylan!


But let me get to the point… because all of this was just a means to clear my head from everything that has been going on lately:

We’ve desperately outgrown our little 1,000 square foot home. As soon as we had the money saved up to move and were looking at homes, Todd hit a deer and wrecked his car, and we had to spend every penny on getting it fixed.

Almost the next week or so, my car died in the daycare parking lot after dropping Dylan off. Luckily it was a much less expensive fix, but still a hit.

The past week, the lights at our house have been flickering. Last Saturday, breakers started flipping off. We’re having to run an extension cord from our fridge to the one outlet in our home that doesn’t seem to be turning off. So many phone calls to the landlord, the utility company, and various electricians, my dad replacing breakers, and yet the problem still isn’t solved. I sit here right now waiting for a call from an electrician so I can go home and let him into the house, hoping he can fix it and that our house doesn’t burn down.

Jerry’s behavior has been going steadily downhill for the last year or 2. Puberty hit him hard, but it hit us even harder. We’ve been struggling to help him, find out what he needs and what to do to get peace in our home again.

I noticed Dylan’s eyes pointing in strange directions occasionally and asked his pediatrician about it at his 1 year check up and she suggested he see an eye doctor. When that appointment finally came, the doctor wasn’t concerned too much about the occasional drifting, but she did see an abnormality that concerned her so much that she strongly suggested we see an eye specialist at Duke. That appointment is tomorrow morning and we’ll need to leave the house by 5:30 in the morning.

This weekend we were meant to enjoy a fun family cookout and then ride down and volunteer at the Glow Run downtown, but instead, I fell quickly and violently ill with a stomach bug that took me out for pretty much the entire weekend. Jerry woke up in the middle of the night with it. So he’s sick, missing the first day of his after school program that I’ve spent the last week busting my ass to get him into, at home with no power.

 

Probably ONE of these things would have sent me into a tailspin a few years ago, much less all of this at once.

But I’m okay. Everything is going to be okay. And I know this because of everything I’ve been through and made it out the other side of. I know this because I focus on the positive and not the negative now. I know how lucky it was that we had that money saved up to move because if we hadn’t, we’d have been without a car until we did. Even though Jerry’s behavior has been tough, it was finally bad enough to push me to ask for help and get him enrolled in the Easter Seals after school program for children with disabilities. Even though my car died, I now have a 7-year warranty on my new battery. Even if something is wrong with Dylan’s eye, we were lucky enough to be on top of it this early.

So anyway. There’s that. And I’ll follow up soon with a positive update as soon as I have one.

How do you measure a year?

Dear “no-longer-an-infant-and-now-he’s-a-toddler” Dylan

My friend (& your Godmother!) Elizabeth said it best the other day when she told me we didn’t survive your first year – we conquered it. 

Every single person told us to savor each moment because you would grow up too fast – we heeded their warnings but they couldn’t have been more right. This past year has flown by with reckless abandon!

I can’t stress this enough: YOU ARE SUCH A GOOD BABY! How long can I get away with calling you a baby? Is there a time table? I know you’ll always be my baby, I just don’t know how long you actually ARE a baby!

Everything is happening so fast. I don’t want to hinder you or slow you down, and I want nothing more than for you to hit all of your milestones and succeed, but somehow, it can be a little painful to see it all happening.

I was so overwhelmed by the prospect of planning a birthday party right around the holidays that I almost didn’t do anything at all for either!  I wanted to celebrate your birthday, even if I knew you wouldn’t remember it, but I didn’t want to pull everyone away from their Christmas celebrations, either – but with some gentle nudging, we pulled you together a fantastic ‘Birthday Brunch’ at Shoney’s in Emporia, everyone came to love on you, you ate an entire chocolate cupcake all by yourself, and even though you were obviously worn out, you didn’t fuss or cry during the entire thing.

When everyone was gone, we sat in a corner booth and you nursed to sleep and slept all the way to Margaret’s and then some. Boy, you were pooped!

I love seeing and feeling how much everyone loves you. You are cherished beyond measure. My heart explodes watching you go from arms to arms, lap to lap, your dimples ablaze with the glory of love.

You’ll be walking soon. Your butt scooting as your prime source of transportation was a hit with everyone, but you finally started crawling, and now you’ll stand unassisted for a while before plopping onto your bottom.   You pull up on everything and walk that way, but I can’t wait to see you take your first real steps. It should be any day now!

And then we’ll really be in for it.

I (can and) can’t wait until next year – I’ll do so much better at figuring out how to celebrate your birthday AND Christmas. This year I only managed to do one and I’m very disappointed in myself, to be quite honest.

I was starting a new job, and funds were tight, and never felt like we had enough time to get anything done. There aren’t enough hours in the day sometimes. Sometimes I feel like there’s not enough of me to go around. I want to be the perfect wife, mother, sister, daughter… it’s a lofty goal. Probably an impossible one. I try so hard to successfully manage our little household, pay our bills, plan our grocery trips and meals, make appointments, be social and involved, express gratitude, be a decent person. I definitely feel like I’m falling short somewhere all of the time. If I’m doing well in one area of our lives, I’m probably slacking in another.

But if there’s one area I feel 100% we’re doing our best, it’s with you. And you let us know every day with your giant smiles and just how great you are to us. Thank you for being you, Dylan.

I am so, so honored to be your Mommy!

Happy First Birthday!

 


I condensed the first year of Dylan’s life into a 30 minute movie. He should enjoy it one day when he’s older.

 

A year later: reflection on my column’s birthday

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Dylan, 9 months, enjoying one of many trips to the park.

mugshot soft spotOne year ago, near the end of my first successful pregnancy, I began my first column by sharing with  our readers our deeply personal struggle with  infertility, miscarriage and recurrent pregnancy loss.
Since that first column, I’ve discussed many topics: our journey raising my teenage brother on the autism spectrum,  the struggle of returning to work after maternity leave, finally growing into adulthood and motherhood, my experiences nursing in public, and the joys of raising our now nine-month-old son Dylan, to name just a few.
The self reflection gained from sitting down each month and deciding what aspect of my life I want to delve deeper into has been immensely rewarding.
As I mentioned last year when I started, October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, with a special Remembrance Day occurring on the 15th.
The source of the following words are unclear, but I’ve heard a saying that brought me great comfort when I first heard them: “Grief is love that has no home”
My grief, my love for my lost children had nowhere to live except within me, and it filled me completely up, consumed me for many years.
As painful as our journey was, I know that those losses have made me the mother I am today. Dylan’s mommy was created by those children who left before him.
Dylan healed me. He gave my grief, my love for those lost children, a beautiful home. There’s no place like home.
I’m acutely aware that what I went through shaped my views, how I parent, and ultimately, what type of mother I am to him.
I cherish every second with Dylan. Even though he’s been in childcare since he was seven weeks old, I still ache when he’s away from me. Even when he’s crying, I still can’t get over how beautiful he is.
I take way too many pictures, “hold him too much” (other people’s words, never mine, I don’t think there’s any such thing), and “spoil him” — I don’t think you can spoil a child with love. But hey, what do I know?
Is he going to be a Momma’s Boy? Probably. I’m okay with it.
There are people in my life who are still struggling with infertility, miscarriage or are in the never ending throes of adoption. I’m acutely aware of them, too.
I want to share my joy while also making sure they know how much I appreciate the gift I’ve been given and I’m not going to hide that light away.
So, I’m mindful in my posting online. I don’t complain about my baby, or lack of sleep, or any of those typical “new mom” things. I was the same way throughout my pregnancy. I tried to stay as positive and upbeat as possible.
That’s not to say I didn’t ache and moan, but I didn’t broadcast or dwell on it. And even though pregnancy was no walk in the park, I savored every minute. I’d do it all again, 10 times more difficult, if it meant I’d get to have Dylan in our lives.
So, here we are, full circle, feeling like I’m back at the beginning and happy to have been sharing with you all for a year. I’m hoping for many more.
As Dylan approaches his first birthday, there are so many more adventures to come. My husband and I will make sure of that! Even though Dylan might not remember clearly all of the experiences we give him, we’ll keep right on exploring, having fun, and there will always be photos for him to look back on.
One day, when he’s old enough to appreciate it, maybe I’ll share with him the steps we took to get to him, and the relief we felt when we finally found him, during a full moon on Christmas Eve.
No gift will ever compare to the one we got last Christmas. Material possessions seem almost trivial now. It may sound corny, but my outlook on life has changed. I actually want to downsize our belongings so I can focus more on appreciating experiences! Less time cleaning and doing chores, more time playing and traveling.
We’re a long way from where we started. I’m a long way from where I was a year ago. Sometimes, the end justifies the means.
Becky Wetherington can be reached at bwetherington@ncweeklies.com or 910-296-0239.

No spending doesn’t mean no satisfaction

mugshot soft spotSeptember is, hands down, my favorite month. It’s my birthday month, school starts back, fresh office supplies hit the shelves and the weather simply couldn’t be more perfect.
So will someone please tell me why I decided to go and try to ruin my dear September with a challenge as difficult as not eating out for the entire month?
I coined it ‘No Spend September’ which isn’t new or original or even 100 percent accurate because obviously, we’re still spending money… but only on groceries, gas, and absolute necessities.
The decision came about in a rather rash, rushed fashion that I’m a little ashamed of, because I jumped into it head first without consulting anyone or considering the feelings or opinions of my family. When the idea came to me, it just felt like the right thing to do. So I committed. A lot of planning didn’t actually go into it, I just figured I’d figure it out as we went along.
My husband didn’t have a positive reaction when I first enlightened him to my brilliant idea. I gave him an out by telling him he could do whatever he wanted, but ultimately, he and my little brother helped me clean out the cabinets, pantry and refrigerator, and take a detailed inventory to help meal plan for the next couple weeks. We all loaded in the car for the first of many grocery trips.
People eat out for a lot of valid reasons: a matter of convenience, lack of time or energy, and even, though it actually costs more, money.
It can seem cheaper or easier to run through the nearest drive-thru than it is to think about buying all the supplies you’d need to grill your own burgers at home.
But that’s exactly what we’ve been doing! Not only is it more delicious, but it feels more satisfying to know I did it myself. Eating out will be more of a special occasion, as well, instead of the commonplace event it has become.
We both work full time jobs. We get home in the evening with a tired eight-month-old baby in tow, to a hungry teenager, at about 6:30 p.m. The last thing anyone wants to do is slave over a hot stove. If I didn’t have something prepped or ready in the crock pot, we almost always picked something up or ate out.
We’ve been sticking to our meal plans fairly well, but I know if we get a craving for something, instead of eating out, we can get the supplies to do it ourselves. More fun, more family time at home, healthier, and less money! All I needed was the motivation and accountability.
We’re halfway through the month, and honestly, I think we’re going to make it. I sincerely had my doubts, but I’m enjoying myself.
The trickiest part has been breaking our worst habit: eating out for lunch at work every single day. For many years, my husband packed and suffered through countless stale, boring sandwiches. At some point, he decided he’d had enough.
I was worried about how I’d keep lunches interesting. On top of washing the baby’s bottles every night and packing them every morning, would I have the foresight to pack lunch?
Instead, we decided to “lunch” grocery shop on Monday’s for the work week. Then we didn’t have to worry with remembering yet another bag in the morning, or giving myself another task to worry with after work.
We stocked the office kitchen and fridge with the lunch items, and enjoyed preparing our lunch together each day instead of arguing over where we were going to eat.
I’m enjoying the challenge. Is it something I want to commit to permanently? No, probably not. Simply because I believe everything can be done in moderation, but if this experiment has taught me anything, I’d say I’ve learned its always fun to challenge yourself to try something different, no matter how simple.
Is this challenge something I will do again? Absolutely!
Challenging myself to stick to something has been the interesting part. I didn’t realize how rarely in life I challenge myself to commit to something and how seldom I actually tell myself ‘no’ on anything, just for the sake of ‘no’.
Maybe I just wanted to save some money this month. Maybe I just wanted to force myself to cook more. But it’s been a self-test of character, and that’s something I could use more of.
Becky Wetherington can be reached at bwetherington@ncweeklies.com or 910-296-0239.

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Marinated and baked portabello mushrooms; one of the many new recipes our family has tried instead of eating out.

His nose will grow now.

PinocchioWe had to work late last night, which is a regular thing for Mondays. Our newspaper deadline is 12pm on Tuesday, so we complete the bulk of our paper on Monday nights.
When we got home from work, Todd and I noticed that Jerry was already in his pajamas. He told us both, separately, in 2 different rooms, that he had already had his shower. You see, he had called earlier and gotten our permission to go out and play Pokemon Go in the neighborhood, which we allowed as long as he was super careful and stayed away from the roads. So, in the heat, he would’ve been sweaty and definitely needed a shower.

I made the comment, “Why are you already in your pajamas? Did you even get dressed today, or have you already taken a shower?”

“I already took a shower!” he exclaimed cheerfully.

I was SO PROUD OF HIM and I told him so! I was elated! Jerry had taken a shower ON HIS OWN without us having to tell him to do it!

The feeling was brief. I went to the bathroom to brush my hair and put it in a ponytail when I noticed the bathroom mat wasn’t wet. When Jerry takes a shower, he doesn’t grab a towel first – he gets out of the shower sopping wet, and stands there dripping on the mat while he grabs his towel.

Hmmm. I looked inside the shower: bone dry. Walls, floors, shower curtain – not a drop of water on anything.

My heart sank. We just got home and we’re already doing this. Ugh.

I wanted to be proud of him! I wanted him to feel that I was proud of him! And by lying to me, again and again and again, he robbed us both of that feeling. That disappointed me more than anything.

I tried reasoning with Jerry – which his doctor told me is futile, but I don’t think that part of me can ever give up the hope of reasoning with him – I asked him if he realized how silly it was that I was that excited that he simply showered on his own. He said he did. But… Does he?


 

pinocchio-runningThere are some mothers of special needs kids following my blog, and although they come here to read and relate with our journey with Jerry, I’m guilty of not writing about him a lot – for many reasons: His privacy, mainly. I don’t mind sharing, but Jerry might take offense to some of this when he starts surfing the internet, or yet, if his friends from school were to stumble across things about him. These posts will be long locked down and made private hopefully before that happens.

I’ve touched on Jerry’s trouble with the truth before. I read back over the post to refresh my memory, and honestly, not much has changed. There’s definitely no improvement.

Jerry’s psychiatrist is recommending he see a therapist that specializes in children on the autism spectrum, but I’ve yet to hear from them regarding that appointment. I’m about to become a squeaky wheel…

The lying has definitely become an entirely new beast – morphing, mutating, growing… it’s out of our control now, that’s for sure, and I don’t know what to do from here.

Jerry chooses lying over absolutely everything. If it were up to him, his day would go like this:

• Wake up whenever, usually after lunch
• Eat whatever he wants for lunch, regardless of -anything- amount consumed, how much left for himself or others, when I purchased it, who it’s for, anything.
• Watch TV, play games on phone, play on computer for the entire day
• Ignore all responsibilities or required chores
• Do absolutely no required hygiene (shower, brush teeth, deodorant, etc)
• Lie about absolutely everything when asked

japanese-pinocchio-recordSome of the measures I’ve taken to help him in his day have included a daily checklist with a reward system (failed, he just stopped doing the checklist) and alarms on his phone to remind him and help prompt him through his day (failed, he just turns them off, ignores them and doesn’t complete the task the alarm was reminding him to do – when asked why he didn’t complete the task, I’m met with ‘I forgot’ – but how did you forget when I reminded you?!)

Last year we had such a problem with Jerry eating foods he wasn’t supposed to (ingredients for nightly dinners, going through 2 weeks worth of snacks in 2 days, and hiding all of the trash from the food all over the house, etc) that we purchased a security camera that we can watch from a computer or our phones to check on him when we are at work. He absolutely hates it. He claims we’re “spying” on him. We explain it’s not spying if he knows we’re watching, and it only watches the living room and kitchen, so he still has his bedroom.

The security camera has helped a little bit, but he knows we can’t watch it all the time and he uses that to his advantage. But I have caught him doing some crazy things on the camera when he thought no one was watching: One time I caught him using Dylan’s BOTTLE BRUSH to clean the bottom of his boot. Yep. (He didn’t see what the big deal was.)

It’d be nice to have a 14 year old at the house in the afternoons to help out with a few things, especially with 2 parents working overtime every week with a 7 month old baby – simple tasks like dumping the trash, loading & unloading the dishwasher and tending to the cats each day.

collodi-bookWe made so much progress with Jerry in his first few years here – he went from doing absolutely nothing for himself to functioning on the level of a high functioning child on the spectrum, almost to the point where you wouldn’t even know he had autism! I feel like we’ve taken some leaps backwards – Jerry struggles to do even the most basic things for himself lately. We have to remind him, prompt him through every part of his day – dressing, hygiene, bathing himself in the shower (he’ll just get wet, won’t actually use soap or shampoo), eating (he’ll just sit there transfixed on something until his food gets cold) – and now he has braces, and it’s of the most vital, utmost important that he take care of his teeth, and a few days after he got them he went to Virginia for 2 weeks – when he came back, his gums were swollen to the point where they were touching his braces, because he hadn’t been brushing or flossing. No doubt, he was simply lying to my parents – because why would a 14 year old lie about brushing his teeth?

Things are difficult. We’re struggling. We feel like we have no one to talk to, no one to ask for help, no one to reach out to for assistance of any kind. The psychiatrist just wants to talk about medication, the school seems to be all talk and no action, and I need more options.

PinocchioEMAIL-300x242I need to do some research and see what services are available to him that would be beneficial to all of us. I’m looking into Easter Seals to see if they have something for Jerry. Right now we’re trying to decide if Jerry needs an after school program or if we can do another tutor this year. He does seem to do better with one on one.

 

I’d love for Jerry’s afternoons to look like this:

• Get home from school, have a snack
• Open bookbag, put important contents on kitchen table
• Work with tutor on homework or wait for us to get home if he needs help
• Do his little chores (cats, dishwasher, trash)
• Once chores and homework are done, he can enjoy TV or electronics until we get home
• When we get home, we cook & have dinner together
• Take a shower & get ready for bed

I don’t think that’s too unrealistic.

He’s definitely capable. We’re not giving up.

Co-sleeping: the case for cuddling

Dylan co sleep

Our seven-month-old son, Dylan, wakes up smiling each morning; knowing we’re close to him makes him feel safe and secure.

mugshot soft spotIn my years working in childcare, I took part in all sorts of training courses through the local community college online, after work at night with groups from other centers, and would even sign up for weekend conferences with special speakers.
I spent a lot of time seeking knowledge, soaking up everything I could to be a better teacher, to know how to take care of the children in my charge, and most importantly, keep them safe.
One of the most vital trainings, one of the ones we had to take repeatedly, was Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) prevention training. So before I had a child of my own, ‘safe sleep’ methods were ingrained in me. I used to grimace and shake my head when I’d hear stories such as, “Oh, he just slept in the bed with us and he turned out fine”. In the back of my mind, I’d think, “Psh. Luckily!” I may have been educated, but I was woefully naive.
Ultimately the cause of SIDS is unknown, but there are many known risk factors, and since the “Safe to Sleep” campaign (formerly known as the “Back to Sleep” campaign) launched in 1994, the rate of SIDS has decreased by more than 50 percent.
However, no amount of training classes can surpass motherly instinct. And I could probably tell you on one hand how many times my seven month old, Dylan, has slept in his crib. In the beginning, when asked the regular probing, personal questions by every passing family member, or even strangers in the street, I’d attempt to quickly gloss over our sleeping arrangements. It was none of their business, anyway. But after a while, I realized it didn’t matter what anyone else thought. As long as I knew we were being safe, we were doing what was best for our family. We were all happy, and best of all, well rested.
It’s important for both partners to be on board with the arrangement. We realized early on that even if Dylan was resting peacefully, neither of us could sleep soundly without feeling, seeing, hearing him breathing. Call it over-protection, but we waited quite a while for this little boy.
In our situation, we wanted him near us to keep him safe and keep ourselves sane. We don’t need to defend ourselves, but if we weren’t such light sleepers, it would have been a different decision. Believe it or not, I actually don’t believe co-sleeping is for everyone.
I have found myself wondering, though, why is there such a stigma about it? It makes our nighttime routine so much easier.
My routine used to involve struggling to get out of bed, getting a crying baby out of his bassinet, carrying him into the living room, grabbing myself a snack (did you know breastfeeding burns an extra 500 calories a day?), getting comfortable in the chair and nursing him, where he would inevitably fall back asleep and I’d be too exhausted to get up for fear of waking him up.
Falling asleep in the chair with him in my arms is much more dangerous than him sleeping next to me on the flat, clear surface of the bed where we can both be comfortable.
Not to mention, nighttime feedings are now as easy as rolling over and holding him close. When we figured out how to nurse in bed, we never looked back. It changed our lives!
The most common question in these first few months is always regarding Dylan’s sleep. And I’m overly eager to share — “Yep, he’s sleeping through the night! He’s a great sleeper! And if we do wake up, we don’t remember!”
I used to track everything Dylan did on an app on my phone. It may sound crazy now, but in those first few days, weeks, and months, that little app saved my sanity.
Time was a foreign concept, and if someone asked me when he last ate, or when was his last diaper change, I honestly could never remember.
It would start with the glazed over eyes and a slow, “Ummm….” as I reached clumsily for my phone for clarification.
I still use the app sparingly, but I definitely don’t track every little detail anymore. I also realized I didn’t have to track nighttime nursing sessions either!
Let me be clear: I’m no idiot. I take safety precautions. He naps in his crib. He’s not left in the bed unsupervised and he sleeps between us without excessive blankets and pillows.
I’ve already heard the advice: “You better put that baby in his crib” yet without offering a good reason why I ought to, it doesn’t truly land.
I’ve also heard the counter argument of co-sleeping parents, “He slept with us for years and he turned out just fine… we wouldn’t have had it any other way.”
My husband and I both agree he’ll be out of our bed by the time he’s a teenager. Then it’d just be weird.
He may still be breastfeeding though. Who knows? My answer to that probing question is always “Oh, I guess we’ll ween before college.” Stay tuned.

Becky Wetherington can be reached at bwetherington@ncweeklies.com or 910-296-0239.