She stood in her crib, legs anxiously shuffling as she let out frustrated cries and signed vigorously. In the darkness, I could feel her hands on my cheek as I bent down and held her in place, rubbing her back and gently saying, “No milk, baby. No milk.” It felt as if we were growing up together.
It’s been weeks since she has consistently slept through the night. It used to be a breeze and then molars started coming through on top of whatever other developmental changes. Nursing her back to sleep seemed to be the only solution and she certainly welcomed the comfort. But I’m certain the hard part of this teething phase is over. I’m certain that now we’re simply accustomed to a particular way.
And the way must change.
So I stood there, rubbing her back and periodically patting her bum. I wasn’t going to say anything in case talking frustrated things but I sensed I should. I believe it was God in His quiet, drama-free way telling me to treat my child according to her abilities. “She can understand both your touch and your words–use both.”
She soon calmed down enough for me to comfortably leave her room. A few more moments of fussy cries followed and then she settled down. She settled herself down.
Now I need to do the same. It’s almost 4am.
Two nights/days later…
I woke up right around 4am but was determined not to let my bladder win. Surely I could simply turn on my side and go back to sleep. And then I heard a thud. And then a fussy cry.
I’d already committed to a new rhythm. She wakes, I go in–no hesitation. So up I got and in I went. I rubbed her back and spoke to her–cheek to cheek–telling her it wasn’t yet time to get up, that she needed to go back to sleep.
And then, oh so wonderfully, she dropped down onto her knees and curled up into her favorite fetal-like position. A little whimpering continued for maybe 20 seconds.
Yes baby, we’re growing up together.