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.



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  1. I’m so with you. I couldn’t do CIO. I will still lay with them and my two are 6. They still have nights they sleep in my bed. I love the growing up my two are doing but I already ache for the day my daughter gets up on a Sunday morning and DOESN’T come snuggle with me on the couch. ❤

  2. Great story!!!! They do grow up so fast.

  3. Oh my goodness. That actually made me cry.

  4. That moment. *sigh*

  5. This was an area where hubby and I disagreed vehemently. Like you I didn’t want to go to bed knowing that as my son was falling asleep he was terrified and that was the last memory of his day.
    I applaud you for making your son feel safe and loved. That truly is the best thing a parent can give their child.
    The nighttime fears don’t last forever. Very rarely do you have a teenager asking to snuggle 🙂 The day will come when you will look at Lucky and see the bond you have forged and know that in part it was because you knew his level of comfort and were there when he needed you. THAT is a good momma.

  6. This brought me to tears, seriously. Wow, what a moment.

  7. I had the same sadness when Kate started falling asleep on her own. It was exciting and freeing and… sad. I really miss those cuddles at night. Like you said, it was something special and so emotional. I now love those nights she wakes up middle of the night and falls asleep in my arms on the couch.

  8. Oh what a precious moment. Boo is the same, he wants me to lie with him to go to sleep, usually in my bed then I transfer him to his bed when I go to bed. He usually back into my bed half way through the night. But I like it and will miss it when it stops.

  9. I am a weenie. CIO doesn’t work for us as a family. Now that E is 17 months, we have been rocking her for a bit, then putting her in the crib. We lay next to it and put a hand through the bars, and she reaches out and puts her hands in ours, then gets to sleep. This worked for our son, who can get to sleep most nights without us laying next to him.

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