Alex, in bed next to me, tapped me on the arm. “I just can’t sleep.” I said. I had a weird dream, the type of dream that gets my brain revved up to a million miles a minute about random things. Not a bad dream. But a dream that wakes me up. Usually for the day.
He points behind his back. I grab my cell phone to use as a light, and I look to where he’s pointing. She’s curled up against him, sound asleep.
She stirred awake, tried to go back to sleep, and started to crawl over him to get to me. She does that still, sometimes. About once every week or two. She’ll climb over him and tap me on the shoulder and I’ll roll onto my back and she’ll curl into the curve of my body and fall back asleep.
Last night, as she started to climb over him, Alex whispered to her that she could just go back to sleep. So she laid her head down on his pillow and did just that. She went back to sleep.
This child. This two year old child. Messy pigtailed little creature in outer-space pajama pants and a purple t-shirt. She used to be that baby that could never be put down for naps. She used to be that baby that woke every hour, every 90 minutes. That threw baby parties in the middle of the night and that had to be held and bounced and nursed endlessly.
She still co-sleeps. Still nurses on demand. We’re taking things at her pace, and her pace still says that she feels most secure in the room with us.
Some people say “SHE WILL SLEEP WITH YOU UNTIL SHE’S IN COLLEGE!” and that we have to get her out of our room right now.
Those were the people that said she would never learn to self soothe if I didn’t leave her to cry.
Those were the people that said she would never walk if I didn’t put her down.
Those were the people that said she’d never crawl if I didn’t leave her on her belly even if it made her unhappy.
Those were the people that said I would never be able to leave her if I didn’t start when she was small.
Those people haven’t made too many accurate predictions, now, have they?
I didn’t listen to them then, I won’t listen to them now.
She’s the one who has my ear, this child. She’s the one who takes each new opportunity for independence as she is able and comfortable.
He let her sleep there for a few minutes until she was deeply asleep again, then moved her back to the sidecarred crib where she spends the night.
And me? I woke up for the day. My body just wasn’t sleepy anymore.