Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Last night I woke, in the fetal position, my right ribs aching, cold. It took me a while to remember how I had gotten to be there, sleeping on a wooden railing, without covers…little tufts of hair tickling my nose and the sweet sounds of Z’s breath; in and out, in and out, shallow and calm. I was in his toddler bed.
As I woke up and realized that I actually fallen asleep with him, I remember how this came to be. It was sometime around midnight that his sweet, quiet voice chirped through the hum of our room fan startling me awake, “mommy?” as to ask if I was there or not. In that moment, I stirred to see which kid it was, mostly still asleep and cozy in my bed, (my bed with the thick duvet and the double pillow top mattress) I felt my eyeballs as hard as marbles trying to focus in the dark, “mommy?”
Of course, I kind of knew this was going to happen at some point. The start to Toddler Bed World was much too easy. The child was saying good night and only getting up once to open his door and spy on his older siblings checking to see if they were yet asleep. Just once. But the urge seemed to grow, and grow, and over the last two weeks he has turned into a full-blown insomniac! Fighting rest time and bed time and any time that means he has freedom to decide whether to roam the halls in the glistening moon light or lie down and sleep like the rest of the house.
And so, I ripped off my cozy comforter, and stepped out into the cold night house air. “no mommy, want to sleep in your bed.” I ignored this request, pretending I did not hear, and took his little hands, gave him a hug and told him we are going to get used to his big boy bed guiding him back down the hall. He was resistant, pulling in the other direction, but we made it and lied down. I tried my best to get my 5’5″ frame in his 4 foot bed; Me (fetal), Zander, 5 stuffed doggies, one small blanket, and the toddler bed. My eyeballs hurt. He mumbled something….
Then my ribs hurt and I was suddenly awake, and confused. I realized I was in the toddler bed. Of course, this bed has rails to make sure you don’t fall out, which I apparently was sleeping on, and a mattress, hard, the same one that Zander slept on since he was a newborn. In that moment, I needed my bed back. I needed my thick duvet that I pull up to my chin and my the double pillow top mattress…..but he was so peaceful. Asleep.
I wondered how long I’d been there. Not more than 10 minutes, I guessed. I slowly got up, trying not to disturb the peace, feeling my knees crack as I straightened them, and slipped back down the hall.
Now, I glared at the clock quickly counting how many hours were left in the night before 5:00am.
So much for 10 minutes! I cozy-up and turn over and drift to sleep feeling accomplished and thinking that I had won. But the battle had just begun…
Click-Clack BAM! A sound echos through the house and I am awake!
In that moment, my heart was racing! My eyes jolt open, still hard like marbles, like I had never fallen asleep. I felt myself get hot, my blood flowing. I turned to look at the clock.
Zander opened his door and shut it. Will he lie back down when he sees the dark night? I doubted this. I heard the click-clack of the handle again, and then he started to whimper, like he suddenly couldn’t figure out how to open the door in the dark. My bed felt extra warm, of course, and oh so cozy with the covers all drawn up around my chin, my ribs happy…but, before I knew it, I was up, and out, in the cold house air once again, tripping and walking toward the silhouette of a child now standing in the hallway. “can’t find Buddy,” he said. Simple enough. This darn blanky will be found and off to bed! Buddy had fallen behind the bed. I found it. Tucked him in and said goodnight.
And, so goes the rest of the night…
He’s standing in my doorway now. My body aches, this time with sleeplessness. I don’t move. He lays down in the doorway on top of Buddy. Oh, how cute he is, in that moment, so wanting to be ‘Big’ but knowing his freedom will get him so much closer to a cuddle in a much cozier place. How can I blame the kid? Really, I can’t.
(He has slept in our bed whenever he needed, for a few hours here and there. Usually, it’s just a belly ache or teething or travels that screws his sleep patterns, all understandable things. But this, this is inability to resist his craving for mommy, and his new-found freedom. In that moment I became the enabler, too tired to fight it anymore. Really, it’s been 3 hours since he was slept soundly!)
I still don’t move. I can see him, but he can’t tell I am looking. He picks his head up and whispers, “mommy?” from the doorway floor: as if to ask if I was really there or not. I stir a bit and open my covers…he pops up and jumps to his feet and runs to the bed, softly and slowly climbing up and cuddles in…
In moments, tufts of hair tickle my nose once again as his sweet breath goes in and out, in and out, and he is asleep! Spooning me, I wrap my arms around him.
That little stinker! He totally won. I was defeated with his sweetness, his talent to win me over. His stubbornness. But who could blame him? Now he’s gotten another taste of the ‘good life,’ in the bed with the thick duvet and the extra soft double pillow-top mattress. My Bed, not his bed… we will have that talk tomorrow....
Before I fall asleep, I look at the clock.
The Three-hour Battle was over. I succumbed to my defeat as his little breath turned into sweet snores…
Around four o’clock, my husband stirred, as he normally does around this time, and noticed the little man in bed with us. He scooped him up and carried off, back to the world of the Toddler Bed.
I know that Three -hour Battle from last night is far from over. I have a feeling it will continue for nights and nights and months and months. What’s a mother to do? Cuddle them or make them sleep on their own…I know the answer is different for everyone. I know my answer. I never truly fall asleep with him in the bed. Plus today, I am really tired. My decisions around this situation in the day time often play out differently in the night-time. Therefore, I am sure the battle will be revisited, tonight, with a little silhouette of a boy poking around my room, chirping out into the moon lit night, “mommy?”
…probably sometime around midnight.