What did I learn this week?

A perfect moment

Getting C to bed is always a task that requires the three “p-‘s” in abundance – planning, preparation, and patience. For some reason, she is convinced that she is going to miss out on something exciting if she goes to sleep (hence, the resistance to napping during the day). While I am flattered that someone finds me so interesting, this is in reality hardly the case. But, even though I tell her that nothing fun happens once she falls asleep, she doesn’t believe me.

Often I will lie in bed with her waiting for her to fall asleep, and she will continue to talk – both to me and to herself – until I tell her that she now has to try and be quiet so that mommy can get to sleep. The other night she laid her head on my shoulder with my arm around her and I watched her as she stared into the distance, blinking her eyes more and more slowly, and finally closing them and falling asleep. Watching her achieve a state of quiet relaxation was, for me, a perfect moment.

There have been many times that I have watched Corey approach C in the same way I imagine a member of the bomb squad approaches an unknown, but clearly dangerous, incendiary device. This is a child whose spirited nature causes wonderful highs, and also devastating lows. So, to see her in the process of transforming from the electric high of wakefulness to the calmness of sleep, is quite something.

I still remember that as a baby, she cried so much and so vigorously, that the fact she slept with us in our bed was important if only to provide me with a few moments of quiet reflection with her – something I was only able to get while she was sleeping. If she had not slept in our bed, my only memories of her as a baby might well be the hysterical crying, instead of the content peacefulness that invariably follows when a baby finally succumbs to sleep in your arms. And, nothing compares to the look you get when the baby wakes up and finds you exactly where you were when he or she fell asleep. Even as C approaches three, I still feel this way. When she wakes, she still looks at both Corey and I with a sense of security and completeness when she finds us right next to her. Nighttime waking and crying is an extreme rarity, which is almost immediately soothed by a soft word and a gentle touch of reassurance.

So, please don’t ever tell me that I shouldn’t sleep with my baby, or suggest that she should be in her own room, or otherwise insinuate that cosleeping is bad parenting. Instead, tell me how lucky I am that I have found a way to connect with and provide emotional support to this spirited creature even in her most difficult moments.

And what happens now that baby W makes four? More of the same, only in a slightly bigger bed.

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