My daughter is kicking me from inside my uterus this morning. She did so most of last night, too, and I am grateful. She’s been quiet in there for a couple days. Not motionless, call the doctor quiet. Just lazy. Her vigorous kicking and punching are welcome signs. The fact that my other daughter kicked me on the outside most of last night inspires fewer feelings of gratitude.
Spring break was going to be the time that we trained V to sleep in her “big girl bed,” and gave up the Accidental Family Bed arrangement we’ve had since she was a few weeks old. And by “we were going to train her,” I mean I was going to train her while Odie drank beers in the living room in front of the computer. That hasn’t happened. The first part. The second part has absolutely happened.
Doesn’t look like she’ll be sleeping in her own bed anytime soon. It is easy to foresee a future where I have the Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper with my infant on one side of me, and my two year-old on the other. At least the infant won’t be able to kick me from the co-sleeper.
V is cutting some teeth, so we’ve had some rough nights. It’s mean to spring something like this on a child when she’s sick or teething. Which is always. Last night, she cried on and off for over an hour, saying “MIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE!!! GIVE IT BACK TO ME! THAT’S NOT YOURS!” repeatedly. I told her she was just dreaming, to which my little contrarian replied, still in her sleep, “No, I am NOT dreaming.”
Clearly the dream she was NOT having was about her every waking moment. The whole world has become black and white to her. There is “mine” and “yours.” She and I do not always agree into which category things fall. I’m learning to be patient, instead of taking things from her and activating her well-developed indignance over injustice, asking her “Can I have a turn?” which will usually prompt her to say, “No! It’s MY turn. It’s NOT your turn.” After which she will almost immediately hand the object to me and declare, “Okay, now it’s Mommy’s turn.” Thanks be unto her day care teachers for teaching her how to share.
After a night like last night, a kicking and thrashing night, I chastise myself for being weak and lazy and not doing the sleep training. It doesn’t feel right to me now. The timing of it has nothing to do with her readiness nor her desire to sleep alone. Though I take a lot of criticism for it (nearly all of it behind my back), I am a child-led parent. I believe that my daughter will let me know when she is ready for her milestones. She always has before. Okay, maybe I nudged her a little with the weaning, but I couldn’t take the pain of nursing through pregnancy anymore. She gave it up easily, if you don’t count the ONE night she cried on and off for hours. I have to force myself to block out the memory of her reaching for my breast and screaming, “Please, Mommy, PLEASE!” It hurt me so much. If I dwell on it, I’ll start drinking in the afternoons.
Likewise, suddenly transplanting my 23 month-old who sleeps between Mommy and Daddy every night to her own bed across the room seems out of the blue. I think we need to talk about it some more. She needs to be prepared. Heck, maybe she’ll even ASK to sleep in her bed. I’ve heard of this happening. I don’t know if it’s mommy folklore or not. Either way, I know she’ll sleep in her own bed someday. All children eventually do.
My main motivation has been the upcoming birth of her little sister. And I don’t mean the change to having another child. I mean the fact that I will go to a hospital, be away from her for a night (at least one), and she will have to sleep without me. Every morning when I get on the freeway to take my daughter to day care, I pass by the hospital where I will give birth in three months. The night will come where I will have to leave my baby to have my other baby. It will be the first of what I presume will be thousands of times I will have to put the needs of one child before the needs of the other out of necessity. The other thousands will just be because I want to create sibling rivalry that will drive one child to relentlessly succeed and the other to seek therapy.
Life will make us ready. That baby is going to be born, and V will have to deal with it. She didn’t nap without her head on my chest until she had to, and she did brilliantly. She didn’t have a working mommy until she did, and she adjusted. Now she doesn’t even say goodbye to me when I drop her off at day care. Odie and I will be as nurturing and loving as we can be, but the time will come when we have to turn V over to the care of her aunt or her Mimi (stepgrandma), give her big kisses and trust her to dig into her inner well of strength for like a day.
Because once we get home from the hospital with that new baby, it’s all smooth sailing from there, am I right?