Wednesday 24 November 2010

Child Safety in a Double Bed

11th September

The baby can creep along on her tummy and is nearly crawling now. She is getting too big and too active for the hammock, so I installed a barrier down the middle of Big Sister’s double bed. Her pine panelled tongue and groove cabin is exactly the size of a double mattress, plus a small corridor down the side of the bed for parents to stand in. There is a cupboard full of baby clothes above the pillow end, and a cupboard full of toddler clothes at the foot of the bed. A musical rabbit is suspended from the ceiling hatch. The door at the front of the cabin leads out to the cratch covered bow deck at the sharp end of the boat. The Doctor bought a second hand cot from eBay and we have velcroed the two wooden cot sides together to make a surprisingly strong, child-proof barrier. Until recently this kept Big Sister safe from rolling out of bed. The cabin bed is higher than a normal adult bed as it has storage space and the boat’s water pump underneath it. I screwed cheap door-handles to the walls inside the two clothes cupboards and attached the cot-side barrier to these with bungee cords and carribena clips. We thought this would make the barrier easier to remove when necessary, but this is not so. The barrier divides the bed like the Berlin Wall, and to insert the baby onto her side of the bed, beside the window, requires back-bending gymnastics that are advised against in all doctors’ back-care advisory leaflets. After sleeping well for quite some time, the baby has now returned to night waking while she gets used to her new and unfamiliar sleeping arrangements.

Last night one babe woke the other up. I lay in their bed between them, trying to stop the baby from pulling her sleepy sisters hair and listened to the tree trunk outside grinding against the steel roof. It made an awful grating noise, it’s no wonder they couldn’t sleep. Eventually I went outside wearing a nightie, biker boots and a black woollen cloak. I edged up the gunwale and peered into the dark water, thinking to myself, Rosie and Jim never had to do this! We are moored too far from the bank for me to investigate over land. I can’t see where the tree is rubbing the girls’ cabin. The Doctor suggested putting the tyre fender between boat and tree, but it’s not tied on and I think it would fall in the cut if I just balanced it on the edge of the handrail on the roof. I return indoors having failed in my mission. The Doctor says the girls are quiet and have probably gone to sleep now. But they’ve woken him up, and although I then sleep well, he has a bad night’s sleep from there onwards.

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