“I want my maaaamaaaa!”
I know I rolled over to look at the clock. I don’t remember what time it was. I know it was not the first time last night that she called out. I don’t remember which time it was.
I don’t want to get out of bed. I want to will her back to sleep from where I lay. My mind races to process what time it is and calculate the small amount of sleep I’ll clock tonight. It continues to race and process the effects that this will have on my day tomorrow.
My head hurts.
And then I swing my feet over the edge of the bed. As soon as they find the floor, I’m off. I walk into her room and I forget about sleep and how long tomorrow will feel.
She wants her mama. Her mama she will have.
“Place your baby in their crib while they are still awake.” they say.
“Encourage your baby to fall back to sleep on their own.”
“When your baby wakes up in the middle of the night, don’t pick them up.” they warn.
We followed all of the rules. To the extreme. Sleep is so important to all of us, it seemed like the natural thing to do. But, for a while, I felt robot-like. Sleep was a business and nighttime was no-nonsense.
Looking back, I wish I’d spent more time cuddling her. I wish I’d spent more time soothing her on the nights she had trouble sleeping, rather than stressing over the REM time we were all skipping.
So now, I’m making up for lost time before the lost time keeps adding up.
I walk into her room and lift her out of her crib.
“What’s wrong, Baby?”
Her head rests on my shoulder. Her face nuzzles in my hair. She doesn’t answer me. But I know. Nothing is wrong now.
I settle into the big armchair next to her crib. Her head doesn’t move from my shoulder. She rests. I listen to her breath as she settles. She’s not sound asleep, but she’s on her way.
More and more often these days, my job as her mom is to encourage her to do things on her own. So that she’ll learn and be independent and explore. And I love that.
But sometimes, my job is still to soothe and to comfort. I love that too. And I’m so glad I didn’t completely miss out on moments like these.