That Moment.July 3, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Posted in Mama Bear, milestones, motherhood | 9 Comments
Lucky has always been a kid who needed help falling asleep.
When he was an infant, I had to rock AND nurse him in order to get him to settle down enough to sleep.
We had a little while where I could put him to bed half-sleepy, but that was after some work on our part – bath, rocking, sippy of milk.
And from the moment that we transitioned Lucky into a toddler bed back in 2010, and then his real bed when he turned three, he’s always wanted us to stay with him until he falls asleep.
And I’ve done so. Despite Charlie Brown’s desire to be more firm and have him fall asleep on his own, I’ve resisted going the hardcore method of sleep training*.
I just felt really strongly that I didn’t want his bedtime to be about tears and isolation and loneliness. It’s, like everything, my own baggage – I have vivid memories of being scared and little in my dark room, but knowing I had to fall back asleep because my parents would yell at me if I got up.
The thing is, I’ve always enjoyed the nighttime with him. Back when I was nursing, it was my favorite moment; listening to the classical music in the dimness of his nightlight, rocking and nursing my son.
The quiet happiness of that moment made the sleep deprivation worthwhile. For eighteen months, even.
So resting next to him while he fell asleep, to me, was never awful. A pain in the ass on the nights where it took him an hour to fall asleep, yes. And the times where he just wouldn’t stop moving and I’d have to
say a lot more firmly than I’d like yell to stop moving and go to sleep was annoying, yes.
But then he’d roll over and face me, his arms clutching Bear, his eyes all droopy and sleepy,and he’d fixedly stare at me until he drifted off.
And in that moment, my love for him was white hot and nearly otherwordly.
In the past couple of weeks, I’ve noticed that he hasn’t really been able to get comfortable in bed. So after 15 or 20 minutes of laying with him, I’ve gotten out of his bed, kissed him, said Happy dreams, lovey. I’ll see you tomorrow, and left.
He’s protested a couple of times. One night he asked me to stay with him until he fell asleep. (I did.)
Sunday night, he was exhausted from an early wakeup, and two playdates. So when I got him tucked into bed, he was nearly asleep already. I didn’t want to bother him by climbing into bed next to him, so I kissed him and smoothed his hair back from his forehead.
Mommy? he said, his eyes drooping from sleep.
Yes, love. I’m still here. I responded.
You can leave.
I kissed him one last time and left his room, a hollow pang of something a little like incompleteness in my chest.
Never thought I’d see the day where I missed him needing me to fall asleep.
*Please note I do NOT at all judge anyone’s decision to sleep train using CIO or whatever other method you decide that works for your family. I just couldn’t do it personally.