We heard her crying shortly after putting her to bed. At first we couldn’t quite understand what she was saying through her tears. Then I caught it. “Come wif me.” I volunteered to go.
Usually my husband goes (and usually it’s some terrible time of the night/morning). He’ll lay on the floor by her bed until she falls back to sleep. It doesn’t happen often but I’m definitely grateful for his willingness. Tonight, however, I felt up to facing the unknown. Will she sleep quickly? Is she hungry? Is she frightened? Will she want my comfort?
Some things you do in spite of the question marks. I ascended the stairs.
She had turned on the floor lamp and was sitting up in her bed, tears in her eyes. I sat by her bed and she came to me right away. She looked frightened and my overactive imagination immediately kicked into gear. Was someone lurking in the shadows? I tried to ask her if she was scared without saying “scared”–trust me, toddlers don’t need any additional words placed in their mouths especially at bed time. If it was her reality, she needed to speak it on her own.
However, when she’s very tired, she doesn’t talk much and when she does talk, it’s in a whisper. She added to this hard-to-understand package by pointing to areas of the room. I finally realized she was pointing to things she wanted…a stalling tactic. Children are smart and she was playing me.
We soon relocated to the chair. I held her on my lap, sang to her, talked to her about how she was as a little baby. “You would cry and cry sometimes and I wouldn’t know what was wrong.” I could feel her smile a little.
I finally turned off the lamp in hopes that the darkness would usher in some sleep. As much as I didn’t want her to fall asleep in my arms (coz she may wake when I put her in her bed), I was willing to risk it.
We’re those parents. We hardly ever rocked her to sleep when she was a baby. A friend’s experience encouraged us to get into the habit of simply placing her in her bassinet/crib, no rocking. Our mothers weren’t too excited about the method but it worked and we’ve raised a pretty good self-soother and bed-goer. Tonight wasn’t so simple, though, and I allowed my knees to move from side to side.
As her body rested against her little sister in my belly, I thought of the pregnancy journey. None of this has been easy. The other day, she saw the scars from a myomectomy three+ years ago and asked in her cute questioning voice, “Wha happened?” Without pause, I said, “It’s what I had to do to have you.” As soon as the words left my mouth, they hit my heart.
I’d do anything to have my little girl, even when she’s scared and awake on my lap long beyond her bedtime, requesting unnecessary snacks, lotion, hair clips, and more…because she’s here and she’s so easy to love.