When friends come over and meet our family for the first time, I like to joke that Elijah came before The Cubs Fan and is, therefore, my number one man. While this tends to get a chuckle or two (perhaps out of pity for The Cubs Fan), there is some truth to the matter. Eli sleeps curled up in the crook of my neck with his cheek pressed to mine or with his neck draped over my eyes to block out the light.
On the nights that The Cubs Fan is home, Eli squeezes himself in between our bodies to ensure that he gets the most contact with me and that hubby dearest gets the least. Has this caused marital squabbles? Honestly, yes. But that’s not what this post is about. Tonight I’m writing about a jealous cat. But jealous of whom?
When we brought Birdie into the picture everything changed. Eli was bumped out of the number one slot and replaced by a wailing, stinky lump of human who constantly needed to be fed and held. What better way to accomplish both of those things than to co-sleep? Birdie could snuggle right up to me and eat to her heart’s (stomach’s) content while I snoozed. This idea was short lived though out of my fear of smothering her with my giant breasts, so she was moved 2 feet away into an arms reach mini co-sleeper next to my side of the bed. The set up was great. I could easily pick Birdie up and feed/comfort her when she stirred and then lay her back down without leaving the bedroom. Eli, however, had other plans.
I would wake up to find Eli curled up with Birdie in the co-sleeper, or he would insist on laying on top of her during her feedings. One afternoon I left the room where the baby was sleeping to go to the restroom, and when I came back I found that Eli had decided to curl up on top of her. It was about this time that I began to have nightmares about the cat smothering the baby. Not ready to move Birdie out of our room, I started to research ways to keep a cat out of the crib.
Various companies make nets that fit over the crib to keep cats out, but the mini co-sleeper has strange dimensions that didn’t fit any of the standard nets. I did find that the arms reach company made a netted canopy to fit over the co-sleeper, but it cost approximately the same amount as a baby monitor. Desperate to keep her in the room with me, I shut Eli out and endured two nights of the constant scratching and yowling of a cat scorned. We tossed him outside only to hear the awful nails-on-chalkboard sound of his claws screeching down the sliding glass door that leads from our bedroom to the backyard. Clearly, this wasn’t going to work. After a week’s worth of deliberation and fretful sleep, we decided to purchase a baby monitor and put Birdie in her crib where she would be safe from our furry feline. She took the transition to her crib surprisingly well, which is something that I cannot say for myself. I missed having her in the bed and in the room with me. There’s a space that the cat just can’t fill. But safety comes first in all things baby related, so Birdie only co-sleeps with me in the morning when Eli is roaming outside.
Being the jealous cat the he is, Eli still continues to snuggle up close and try to squeeze in between Birdie and me during our feedings. He’s come to learn, however, that his time at the top is over and that everything revolves around my baby bird. And if he doesn’t like it, he can just take a trip outside.