When Dave and I started planning our family, my biggest concern was how much sleep I was going to lose. We all know the horror stories, and have seen those poor, sleep-deprived Mommas dragging themselves, and sometimes their little ones, through the motions of the day with one eye barely staying open. I know enough about myself to know that I would not function well, if at all, under these conditions. No good can come of me not sleeping.
And God, I think, knew this, too. He has blessed me with two children who also seem to enjoy their sleep (praise be)!! The Ladybug was sleeping through the night at five weeks and The Sprout at six weeks. The Ladybug, at almost two (WHAT?!) is still taking two naps a day. Bedtime has always been fairly easy-peasy each night and I count my lucky stars everytime I crawl into bed around the 9:30pm mark that I am able to drift off to slumberland for the next seven or eight hours, mostly undisturbed.
*Cue ominous music- did you catch that foreshadowing?*
And then we had to change it up. We moved The Ladybug into her toddler bed AND redecorated her room, all in one foul swoop. This has caused a bit of turmoil to her normally calm and pain-free bedtime routine. Now, she says, “Mommy, seep” every time I try and leave after our bath, books and snuggles. If I’m silly enough to be sitting by her bed, she’ll grab my neck and pull me to the pillow and hold on for dear life. She cries now when we turn off the light… not for long, but she does. It’s heartbreaking, but it only lasts for a minute and then she usually falls right asleep, be it in her bed, on the floor or standing and leaning on the bed.
*Cue Jaws music, which is even more ominous*
And then she fell out of the bed. Hard. And she apparently remembers it.
So last night, something woke The Ladybug up at around 10pm. I thought it was just a lost binky- I quickly found it and laid her back down, hoping she’d fall back asleep. No such luck. She was awake. As I laid her down for the first time, she acted like she was going to sleep after whispering, “I fall down.” I tell you what- that was heart wrenching. I was hoping she was trying to tell me she fell during the day but eventually I concluded she was talking about falling out of bed TWO nights before (we have since put a pool noodle under the fitted sheet- she’s going to have to work hard to fall out now, but she doesn’t understand that). But she stayed in her bed and let me leave after a few more kisses and snuggles.
Ten minutes later, she was at her door, calling for her Daddy (she has a baby gate across the door so escape is impossible). Daddy went and comforted her and when he came back to bed, he reported that she had said the same thing to him.
Five minutes later, she was back at the gate. I went in for some rocking and singing, extra kisses and snuggles and then she let me leave again.
Fifteen minutes later, I heard the door open. She didn’t say anything this time but was just sitting with her back against the baby gate, holding Violet. I’ve never seen anything sadder.
So I went in. I pushed the carpet up to her bed and put a fluffy blanket on the ground right beside her. I sat down on the floor, stroked her hair and face and told her to close her eyes. For almost thirty minutes, I sat beside my big girl while she fought going to sleep. At first, I was so tired myself that every time she opened her eyes, I got a little annoyed. I am used to her sleeping. I am used to me sleeping. We don’t have to work for bedtime in our household. Then, I started to reflect on what was happening.
My big girl, who is really so, so little, was scared. She was afraid of falling out of her bed. And I was there- I was the thing that was making her not be afraid, making her feel safe enough to fall asleep. Not the blanket on the ground, not the pool noodle under the sheet, but her momma, who was holding her hand, stroking her hair, and staying by her for as long as she needed me. And when she finally fell asleep, I sat letting her little hand hold my fingers for a couple of extra minutes.
I was tired this morning. It was so hard to get out of bed. But it’s okay. And it’ll be okay if it happens again tonight. Because I’m the Momma. That’s my job.
(After tonight, I might start to get annoyed, though… just kidding!)