I am stuck in a dichotomy of sorts. Perhaps I always will be, it may just be part of who I am. For the past few months it has been rare that a night goes by without a little person appearing next to the side of my bed in the middle of the night. They don’t say much and are easily led back to bed, sometimes after a stop in the bathroom. Sometimes I tuck them in and slip out quickly, anxious to get back to my bed and my dreams. Sometimes I lay for a few minutes until their breathing changes and I know they are in another world of their own.
I struggle with finding the balance between teaching self-soothing and soaking up the time where they need me and only me. It started when my first was born and I was adamant about sleep training and schedules and teaching him to do it on his own. I was not going to be the mother with the baby who would not go to sleep without a pacifier or rocking or something that would be difficult to break away from. I wanted to have the child who could fall asleep on his own and could do it wherever we were. It worked, for the most part and all my children were pretty good sleepers as babies. I suppose having a method is comforting to me- whether it be for sleeping, potty-training, discipline, etc.
So it’s hard for me that I am waken up by these little people every night when I know they are old enough to stay in their beds and go back to sleep on their own. I want them to be able to do that, for them and for me. I want them to have the ability and I want me to have continuous sleep. I’ve contemplated how to do this… what if I just didn’t get out of bed and had them go back on their own? Well, for one thing the house would not remain quiet. There would be protesting. Loud protesting that would very likely take quite a while to settle. That is worth it for a few nights if it would work. How am I to know what will work?
Then I read Amy’s post today and remembered. I get told often by those whose children are older than mine that these years fly by so quickly and that I will surely miss them when they are gone. Amy is profoundly good at capturing moments and allowing them to impact her. My children will not need me in the middle of the night forever (I hope). Perhaps they will not always want me to lay with them for three minutes (beckham’s current request). Seneca might not always share her blanket with me as I lay by her and tickle her back just one more time. They are moments to be enjoyed, not rushed. I thought when I had infants that by the time they were this age that we would all be sleeping through the night. I was wrong, but I know that there will be a point in my life where I’m sure I will have time to sleep. So for now I will attempt to enjoy the fact that they need me. and want me. and love me. And I will still try to figure out how to keep their little bodies in their beds because that is just how I was made. But I’ll ease up. And I’ll relish these opportunities to snuggle with them until their breathing changes and they are once again, sound asleep.