Sunday, September 28, 2008

Laying down

My baby girl has always been an independent sleeper. Almost from the day we brought her home. She was never one to sleep forever in your arms... she always rested better on her own.

And while I sometimes regretted putting her down and not being able to hold onto that wonderful bundle of love that my last baby was for just a little longer, it wasn't long before I recognized how lucky I was to have such a "good" baby. You can get so much more done when you can put your baby down - and bedtimes are so much smoother without the 1/2 hour (or longer!) of rocking, or even more elaborate tactics, some babies need.

(I payed my dues with my firstborn, by the way - in spades.... I figured this one must be a reward for all that suffering ;)

So I'm just having trouble understanding where we're at with her right now. Over the past few months, she's picked up the need for us to lay with her at bedtime. "Yay down Mommy, yay down!" It's really hard to get to her to go to bed these days without at least a few minutes of one of us (usually me) laying down with her.

Gone are the days of "nigh nigh" - when she would ASK us to go to bed... jammies, teeth, tuck her in with a kiss, then walk away. This laying down every night thing is for the birds! It's cramping my style.

By that time of day I'm tired, I'm looking forward to the few hours to relax after the kids are in bed.... or, more likely, I've got a list of things I still need to accomplish that I feel I can only tackle once they're down and out. I'm impatient to be done.... I've read the stories, we've done the routine and I just don't want to lay down - it's not MY bedtime!

But I do it. Pretty much every time.

I know it's an awful habit to get into but it's too late - that's routine for her now.... and it's really hard to break her of it.

I thought I was in a big rush to get her back to where she was too - to break her of this annoying new habit. But over the past few nights, my mind has be wavering. Now I'm not so sure. Is it really that big a deal? Do I really have anything so pressing that can't wait another 10 minutes?

She snuggles into me now.

She knows that I leave as soon as she falls asleep so she moves closer in the bed, rests a hand on my arm, or even better; rests her forehead next to mine. And that's when I see my baby in this little girl next to me... looking down at her eye-lashes resting on the soft curve of her cheek and catching the last lingering trace of baby scent that she still has.

My heart melts. She never needed me like this back then. I missed out on it. But she wants me now - and those extra 10 minutes mean so much more to her than they possibly can to me. She can have them.... and I can have a few stolen moments of babyhood before my last walks away from it forever.

I can't lose sight of the fact that there will come a day when she won't want me for anything any more - and I'll long for these days when I heard those sweet words "yay down mommy, yay down"

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