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At this time yesterday, I was two hours into a three-hour drive on a field trip to Boston. I was sitting in a bus full of loud excited children, overtaken by rambunctious boys, many of whom did not want to sit with their chaperoning mother. This comes of no surprise. They are excited, with their friends, and dying for some independence as a preteen. As I watched this, from the front of the bus, music blaring in my ear buds, counting the minutes to my escape…I realized how much I miss my boy.
I am exhausted. I wake up at least five times a night. My exhaustion has hit a point of nausea, turning my stomach every time my body stirs awake. And yet, during that chaos on the bus; as the carrots a loving mother packed for her son is thrown three seats back and a thoughtful note written on a napkin is crumpled and squished back into the lunchbox, I long for the quiet moments I had the night before.
This week, I began reading “The No-Cry Sleep Solution” and I love the book. I love the honesty of Elizabeth Pantley. It truly is a no-cry solution, and even so, I’m not ready.
Don’t get me wrong, I would love a full nights rest. I would even love if Everett began “sleeping through the night.”
“A baby is considered to be sleeping through the night when she sleeps five consecutive hours, typically from midnight to 5:00 A.M. While this may not be your definition of sleeping through the night, it is the reasonable yardstick by which we measure Baby’s sleep. That’s five hours – not the eight, ten, or twelve hours we may wish for!”
But, I love those moments in the night. I love holding him, his sleepy eyes closed tight, and his hands searching for my face. I love that sleepy smile after his eyes open, confused and startled until they find my eyes looking back at him.
He wakes me, not to eat, but to comfort nurse. He wakes me to feel my touch, and hear my voice. He’s waking me because he needs me. And I still need him.
“Trust me when I say, ‘You will miss this.’ You will. Even the dark, exhausted nights will take on a certain romance in your memories, and they’ll bubble to the surface when your ‘baby’ drives off in his first car, graduates from school, gets married, has his own baby.”
I’m not prepared to give up these times. Right now, he wants me. Before I know it, he will be that obnoxious boy on the school bus asking a million questions, telling me he is bored. He wont want to sit with me. He wont want the snack I packed him, and will be stuffing that love note back into his lunchbox.
If he wants to wake up, I want to comfort him. I want to hold him tight and tell him that “Mama’s here.”
Even so, it doesn’t matter if I’m ready or not. He’s not ready. One day, when he is ready, he will sleep through the night. That morning, I will be ecstatic! And the next morning and the next morning, until I realize those moments are over. Those quiet times, just mom and baby, rubbing his head while he rubs my cheek. Looking at each other in the dim light of the moon peering through the skylight windows. His sleepy smiles and quiet mumbles. The thought of those moments escaping, are far more upsetting than the thought of never sleeping again.
So, I will continue to look like hell each morning and day. I will continue to complain about my lack of sleep. I will look miserable, and be a miserable human being each day until coffee courses through my body.
Oh, but if you could see those moments just hours before, you’d understand.
“So my advice to put your baby down to sleep is so easily passed out from where I sit…So, allow me to amend my advice just a bit, please. Understand that those beautiful, bonding, peaceful habits are very hard to break, so choose them carefully. If you can, and when you can, put your baby down so that she learns she is able to sleep alone, as well as in your arms. And when you don’t put her down, hold her with your heart too, and relish every gurgle, flutter, and little sighing breath.”
And so, for now, I am putting down the book, and I am picking up my baby.