When you become a parent it’s easy to forget everything. You forget that you know anything about parenting, even if all you know is the bare minimum. All of a sudden you are in charge of this helpless being and all you can think is, “How in the world am I equipped to do this?” But you do it. Every day. You are there, doing your best for that being, and they are loving you for it.
I thought I was doing what was right for my girl. I try so hard to follow her lead because she knows best what she needs and I wholeheartedly believe that she is able to communicate those needs to me, in her own way. But I’m realizing lately that I haven’t really been listening when she communicates her sleep needs. I’ve been pushing what I think is best and expecting the results I want. That’s not the way it works, though.
My mom came over for a short visit to help with the sewing machine and reminded me of something about my own childhood. She told me that around the time I was born my dad’s snoring became absolutely unbearable. And I can tell you, it’s like a freight train. Sleep does not happen when he’s snoring. So she spent many nights sleeping on the couch in the living room; and I slept right next to her, on the floor between the couch and the coffee table. I slept there next to her for years. I can even remember after my sister was born taking blankets and pillows into my parents room in the middle of the night to sleep at the foot of the bed. I always felt better, and slept better, when I was sleeping near my mom.
This reminder gave me such a clear insight into what my daughter has been trying to tell me from the beginning. She feels better when she can see me and feel me close to her. And I know that’s true, because she is the same way during the day. She is happy to play by herself as long as she can see me or BJ.
I’m sad it has taken me so long to figure out what she’s been communicating about her sleep needs. From the beginning I wanted her close to me. I wanted to co-sleep. But I gave up too soon. When she was around a month old I moved her into her own room. I kept picking her up when she made the slightest noise in her sleep, which meant that I was getting no sleep at all. And co-sleeping was never really an option because our bed is just not big enough.
Now I am regretting my decision to move her out of our room. For the last couple nights I have been sleeping on an air mattress in Roly Poly’s room. And for the last couple nights she has spent at least part of the night, if not most of it, sleeping on the air mattress with me instead of sleeping on her floor bed. And I have been mostly loving it (except for last night). I told BJ the other day that this is what I wanted from the beginning. Being near my sweet girl, being able to see her throughout the night, touch her.
After being reminded of how I was when I was younger – wanting to sleep near my mom every night – I understand much more why I want to sleep near my girl. And, more importantly, why she wants to sleep near me. I’m hoping to talk BJ into some kind of new sleep set-up so that we can be near each other every night. And I still want to be near BJ. We have a great relationship and I don’t want that to change because I want to sleep with Roly Poly. But when we figure it out I’ll be sure to share it here. Maybe someone can find some support and encouragement to follow their own instincts and the cues of their children.
I send you my love and support through the interwebs.