If you watch my Instastories, you’ll know we’ve had a really rough couple of nights with O. I have no idea what’s going on, why he’s having such hard time sleeping and why he keeps waking up.
I find myself getting very frustrated and angry. I go into his room in a huff, as if he’s somehow doing this to mess with me.
Then he lifts his arms up, clearly in distress and as soon as I pick him up, he puts his head on my shoulder and falls fast asleep. I sit in the rocking chair for awhile and listen to his breathing. Every once in awhile he wakes up and lifts his head up to look and make sure I’m still there then goes back to sleep.
Then I realize, he’s only 15 months old. For whatever reason, something is bugging him and just wants his Momma close. And then I feel the frustration and anger start to subside. He’s not being a master manipulator. He’s just being a little boy scared or sick or upset or struggling with something.
Then I realize, my anger and frustration has nothing to do with him and everything to do with the fact that I feel completely helpless. I have no idea what to do to make him feel better.
Here’s the thing. I’m a fixer. I like to know what the problem is and then finding a solution and executing that solution. I like to find the most efficient route to that solution. I find immense satisfaction when there is a resolution and the problem is solved. If I can’t do this, I become frustrated and angry at myself and the situation.
Thing is, with a 15 month old, there is no cut and dry answer. He can’t tell me what’s wrong. He probably doesn’t even really know. However, he is showing me the solution. He wants me.
Then, of course, anxiety comes to the 3am party and I start spiraling into the “What ifs” – What if rocking him in the chair is creating bad habits? What if he’ll forever want me to rock him to sleep. What if this becomes the new norm? What if I can never sleep again?
Then I’m so eaten up with guilt and anxiety. I panic and decide to put him back into his crib berating myself for “letting” him manipulate me. Then he cries and I feel guilty for letting him cry.
This morning though, after talking to a couple of other Moms (and a couple cups of coffee), I had a moment of clarity. Regardless of what the problem is, THIS TOO SHALL PASS (thanks to Lindsay S for this one). Am I creating bad habits? Maybe. Is it his teeth? Maybe. Is it a cold? Maybe.
In any case, THIS WON’T LAST FOREVER. Soon this stage will pass and we’ll be on to a new one.
And as if fate knew how I was feeling today, Spotify suggested I listen to the new Gord Downie album and the song “Bedtime” played. Here are the lyrics:
I held you
I rocked you to sleep
It’d take a long time
Eventually you’d go
And I’d try to get out
Of the rocking chair
With you in my arms
I’d get you to your crib
Slowly lower you down
And pull my hands away
As if from a bomb
Then I’d step away
One step at a time
The floors were full of sounds
All the creaks for time
Then I’d get to the door
Open it carefully
Trying back out of the room so quietly
When I’d got to the door
Closed to within an inch
That’s when you’d come awake
As if you’d been watchin’ me
Watching me the whole time
As if you waited to see
If I truly intended
Just to let you be
Just to leave
Just to leave you alone
Just to leave you alone
I listened and I cried. I cried and I cried. Not only because Gord Downie will never hold his babies again before bed but it was also such a potent reminder of how short and sweet this time is.
The funny thing about kids, when you’re in these moments, they feel like forever and they suck. The nights feel so long and endless. The mess is never ending. The struggle is continuous. Yet, this is such a brief moment in time. Such a small blip in our lives and the lives of our children.
To be clear, this doesn’t this mean I’ll stop complaining and start loving the 3am wake-ups. I’ll continue to complain and moan on my Instastories. I’ll still feel sorry for myself when I only got 3 hours of sleep the night before.
It does mean that when I’m in these crappy moments, I will work harder to put things in perspective and remember that they won’t last forever and that I’ll try to live in the moment where my baby will snuggle on my shoulder and live in that comfort.