A general consensus has been reached, amongst fathers, and it is that co-sleeping is a sex killer/marriage wrecker/bad deal. “How do you retain intimacy between husband and wife when there is a child physically between them?” weak-willed dads ask, tears staining sensitively bearded cheeks, before themselves answering, “You cannot.”
Well, I have had enough and can say, without fear of contradiction, that co-sleeping is grand. Fathers who disagree are unimaginative and, probably, rotten lovers.
I must state, at the outset, that I ain’t a fan of attachment parenting or any other top-down parental theory for that matter. What works, and what doesn’t, is a complete crapshoot because children are born, unfortunately, with damn minds of their own and spirits that cannot be easily broken. They are, each, little insurgents sneaking bombs into the best-laid plans. Also, if mother does not want to co-sleep, then good for her and bye bye baby. It is the mother the baby wants, and it is the mother who must put up with incessant clawing, shifting, moving, nipple-twiddling, tugging, sleep-depriving.
But if the mother does want, then the father should stop his sniveling and embrace a brave new world! Having a baby in that bed is a glorious gift, because babies are, by their very nature, cute and fun to gaze upon. My little 2-year-old princess has been sleeping between my wife and me since her first minutes. And she is cutest when sleeping, because she is not asking me to play the stinky Italian Play-Doh she found in Rome or demanding that I put my booze down. I get to enjoy the wonder of her personhood without any personal sacrifice. Sleep is also not an issue, generally speaking, for the father because, again, the baby does not want nor care for him. My little 2-year-old angel tries to climb on top of my wife and sleep there often, and the only thing that wakes me is my wife’s tortured begging for peace. The greatest gift of co-sleeping, though, is the freedom it bestows upon coupled sexuality.
The least sexy place in the entire world, you see, is the bed of a couple who has been at it long enough to have a baby. I have never seen one that has not been turned into some degenerative couch. Salt and vinegar chips and the memory of last night’s episode of The Good Wife, hide in its folds. The pillows are touched with all manner of human detritus. Even when freshly laundered, its sheets carry the whiff of a settled, domesticated life. It is the least sexy place to have sex.
Yet men are lazy, fathers even lazier, too often settling for the monotony of uncreative love due to a variety of factors including exhaustion, exhaustion and exhaustion. The co-sleeping baby successfully removes this degradation and forces the father to use his imagination, even though he is exhausted. Most houses have showers. Sexy. They also have laundry rooms, kitchens, closets, unused baby rooms. All sexy when played well. Airplanes have bathrooms, cars have backseats, neighbors have unlocked backdoors—you get the idea.
Certainly being inventive takes thought and energy, but shouldn’t a healthy and genuinely satisfying love life necessitate these? The co-sleeping baby forces a father to treat his partner like a deliriously exciting liaison and his union like a burning hot fire. Both are much sexier than Ferberization or sleep training or whatever the hell is trending these days.
Again, this only works if the mother wants, needs or enjoys the co-sleeping dynamic and if it makes her life easier with the nursing, night waking, patting down and changing. But if the baby is already happily snoring away in a crib in another room, then as you both were. Maybe stop eating salt and vinegar chips in bed though.
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