The Canine Co-Sleeper

Posted in Monthly at 8:16 am by Pasha

By Pasha Holiday

I have been co-sleeping for ten years. It is a shameful confession for any mom to make. What can I say, she was always so sweet, it bonded us from the beginning and I was guilty of enjoying our time together. But at 10-years-old old habits die hard and there might be nothing we can do to get our bed back.

Sure, Lolli is an obese chihuahua and not a human. However, facing a baby (who will, no doubt, also be co-sleeping) with sleeping, feeding and bonding needs means that some of Lolli’s less desirable sleep habits have come under examination. She is the kind of bed hog who likes to wedge in between the humans (the warmest bodies) and then push them out of her space with her 10-inch-long legs. She smells terrible (a certainty that in dog years she is 70 … she smells every bit her age.) And now, in the newest conundrum of being old and generally gross, she has begun to snot all over the bed.

So, with less than a month to go before the (real) baby is born, we knew something had to be done. Doggy co-sleeping be damned, that dog can’t be in the bed with this baby. Or at least Lolli can’t be at the top of our bed by our heads (and the baby’s body.)

We started trying to break her of her sleepy ways a couple of weeks ago. We brought her blanket up from her dog bed (because moving her to the dog bed all the way on the floor seems so inhumane.) It took her a few nights of waking me up to snuggle in every half hour and me reiterating, “No, go lay on Lolli’s blanket,” for her to get it. In the week or so since we have had to tell her less times and she had stopped creeping up into baby territory as much.

Her snotty, stinky blanket is at the bottom of the bed and by 2011 we will have a new stinker cuddled in the love nest. Before getting pregnant, I barely thought about the Lollster’s sleeping habits, or rather, lack of manners. Sometimes it was inconvenient and she is a terrible bed hog. Sleeping with Lolli, especially in these later years, always meant double the washing of the bedding. But we never wanted it any other way. She snuggled in the nook of my belly, until the baby took that away from her, too. Sometimes she would sleep behind our knees, curled up under a warm butt. In the winter you could always count on Lolli snuggling deep down under the covers to warm your feet and be the best little heater ever. But the boldest position that she became accustomed to these past few years was the rigor mortis-like pose between my husband and I when she felt she needed just a bit more space on the pillow.

I will absolutely miss Lolli on the bed, by our heads, but I am happy to see her moving into old age at the foot of our bed, where she probably always belonged. Like any mom, letting her go has been hard on me, too. I miss waking up to snuggle her closer and using her belly as a pillow. But there is a new baby coming into our down-filled town. I just hope that we can break our co-sleeping habits before he or she turns 10! I have the distinct feeling that it is a little easier to train a dog than it is a human.