Moments I Could Have Missed…
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*Note: Our family has been in the throes of moving chaos and this post got lost in the shuffle. It was originally written in mid-July, about two months ago, but it is just too sweet not to share. Please enjoy this snapshot into my family’s dearest moments.
Please Just Go To Sleep
Tonight my son had a difficult time going to sleep. We started his bedtime routine on time just as we do each night, and went through our whole process. It took him almost an hour longer to fall asleep than usual. Any parent reading this I’m sure has also pleaded in weariness, “Why is this happening to me?”
As a first time Momma, I’ve read a lot in an effort to learn about babies and sleep. In the spirit of full disclosure, I definitely wasn’t following many of the suggestions that have been given on this particular night. We’ve been going through quite a transition lately because we are in the process of moving. The routine is all over the place and despite my best efforts to maintain consistency for my baby’s sake, some days it just hasn’t been possible.
Why Are You So Stinkin’ Cute?!
So tonight, instead of keeping everything dark and quiet, as my son began to cycle awake, I just went with the flow, too tired to fight it. When his eyes popped open and he smiled, I knew we were in for it. He didn’t want to nurse anymore, so I put him up on my shoulder. Then he saw his Daddy laying quietly on the bed. Another smile and a bounce.
I was still rocking him in the trusty ol’ rocking chair and he started to giggle. I realized with him on my shoulder, rocking was a bit more of a ride than a calm way to settle him. You would think I would have stop upon realizing this, but instead I gave in to the fun! So, as I rocked back, I gave him a little bounce and a “Weee”. This produced another giggle. We continued this way for a few minutes and the giggles grew into a continuous chain of laughter from all three of us. I can honestly say, neither my husband or I have seen and heard my son laugh so much and so hard. It was hilarious, entertaining, and heart-warming to see my son having so much fun…even if he was SUPPOSED to be sleeping.
Cry It Out Isn’t For Us
There is a lot of pressure for parents today to let their babies “cry it out” as a method of sleep training. This post is not meant to condemn those who choose this method, but rather encourage those who do not WANT to choose this method for their child. In another post, I will address the reasons my husband and I have decided that this method is not for us and our son. And although there have been times I’ve nearly caved to this sleep “training” method, today I simply want to say, I’m so glad we didn’t miss this precious and enjoyable moment. It was so very special.
No amount of couch time, TV watching, game playing, book reading, or even adult conversation (which I do desperately crave these days), or progress in unpacking could have been any more enjoyable and fulfilling than those few minutes of playtime and laughter with our son. My husband and I will remember it forever.
If We Had Chosen CIO, We Would Have Missed This!
There are other experiences with my baby I hold dear that would not be the same if I didn’t nurse, sing, or rock him to sleep. One of the sweetest things that comes to mind is how my son pats my face while I rock him and sing. His little hand finds my mouth (sometimes I’m like a fish on a hook with his little fingers in my mouth) as he feels my warm breath on his hand. His little fingers crawl up and find my nose which becomes a handle, as he closes his eyes. I can’t tell you how many times he has fallen asleep with his hand on my face and I absolutely love it.
In fact, it’s become a new part of our nap time routine for me to name the features of my face as his fingers touch them. “Mouth”, “nose”, and sometimes even “eyes” if I lean down close enough. We are also working on signing for milk which we can incorporate a bit before he falls asleep.
I wouldn’t trade these sweet moments for all the 8-hour uninterrupted nights I’m missing out on. They are just too precious.
A dear friend told me that waiting 18 months for this sleep thing to work itself out “sounds like torture”. She is not a stranger to sleepless nights as her son is only a few months older than mine and we like to help each other in sharing our thoughts on various parenting topics.
One Day, He’ll Be Grown
And yes, I am tired. However, I have peace in the knowledge that one day my son will sleep through the night. One day he will wean and not need Mommy’s milk (affectionately called nursies in our home) for nourishment or even comfort anymore. One day, he’ll be too big to rock to sleep. One day, he will not need me to sing to him so that he can fall asleep, in fact, he may not want me to sing to him at all. One day, I won’t lay him in his crib (and co-sleeping will be a dream) as he’ll crawl into bed on his own, shoo me away, read his book on his own, flip off the light, and go to sleep…all by himself. And I’ll miss him.
Today, my son is nearly 8 1/2 months old and I can hardly believe how fast time is passing. These few months, which may add up to only a couple years will pass quickly enough, with or without sleep (and to be honest, I am finding ways to get rest). I simply choose to cherish all these moments while I have the opportunity to do so.
“My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart also will be glad; and my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right.”