Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Sleeping Beauty, or Flee the Puma

Our daughter is well known as a good sleeper. There was an odd side-effect to this. I never really enjoyed her sleeping form enough. I always had an odd sense that once she was asleep she was NOT to be disturbed. To do so would somehow irk the sleep gods who had delivered to us this sleep-luck. For the sleep-luck was profound, no real sleep-work in there. Many much finer parents surrounded us who made it quite clear we were defecating equine footwear and we better not screw it up for the sake of parent sanity everywhere.

So once asleep ne'er a check would be.

Then we had our son and I didn't conclude bedtimes anymore. I was paralysed with sleep-wonk not knowing how to end my day without that nearest sleep good night kissy-kiss-kiss with the daughter daddy put to bed. Then I discovered something... I could actually walk into my girl's room when she was sleeping and kiss her. It was ok. She did not wake and demand Blue's Clues videos and Sunchip snacks for hours. No it was just zzz zzz zzz.

My mother had always told me how she would 'check her'... I was mystified. What? Isn't that what the monitor is for? (NB: I used a monitor on volume 4 when my daughter was less than 9 feet from my bed... I wanted to catch any sleep apneas and I guess I thought technology would be my guide in early parenthood. hahahahahahaha.) So I started trying some of this checking stuff. I found that I could even pick her up. Part of me wanted to dance her outside and see just how far this sleeping would go.

But really what is so remarkable about it? I guess what I like about it is that feeling of being back in the cave. I adore that baboon sense of picking up my offspring in the night as the leopards approach and providing safety. That millisecond where I lift her and she curls around me as if we might take flight for hours and she need not wake for it. That she might only hold on tight and fuel me with her trust and her promise. Is this crazy? Does anyone know what I'm talking about? I often think 1. this feels so nice and 2. I should post this on the blog and see if I am crazy?

In other news... Our son has not always been such a good sleeper. I have not often had moments like this with him that were not accompanied by the odd jerky wrestle of a gas-bubble-troubled belly, or the stiff spine of a dirty early hour poop diaper, or the wails of teething, fevers, etc. etc. Due to a conspiracy of housing and temperament he has lead us through our incarnation as accidental co-sleepers and more learned parents generally. He sleeps fine.. I shouldn't mislead just not as freakishly hard as his sister not with the same easy will to do it unaided. I believe this week he has started to point directly to my bed when it comes time to sleep. Of course, being the stalwart and uncompromising sort of parents we are we laugh at this assertion and redraw the boundaries with consistency and verve unless we are really ill with a cold or otherwise driven to wishy-washiness.

I'll add that soon he will wean from any bedtime breasttime. Tonight he distanced himself with a plop in the crib so awake as to supply as wide a range of complaints as one might discern in a 15 month old. I gave him the pillow we usually cuddle with, I also worked it for 55 minutes. I lay on the floor and urged, Nigh-night. I sang and smiled and let him poke at my eyeballs through the crib slats. Ultimately, to end a long day I told him he had to shut it. With this he laid down, and I hung my head. With this he serenely found his focus in the nightlight and drifted off to dreamland? Serves me right. My tears beat against the mattress hard. He'd given me a pretty righteous f' you, Ma. If you say I have to do it myself I'll leave you right out, then.

So many nights lately I have hoped for him to find his independent sleep. Right now I am happy to hear that little waning cold's cough suggesting that maybe, just maybe, I should go check him. Someday I'll have to carry two through the forest to flee the puma? Do you really think I could do that?

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Blogger Mad Hatter said...

No you are not crazy. I think this all the time--like I am the Gorilla in Anthony Browne's Gorrila so maybe not as primal an image as you invoke.

I think Miss M is more like the Boy than Miss Fancy. She always has trouble going to that sweet place of rest but she sleeps in late every morning and for that I am grateful.

5:32 a.m.  
Blogger Lumpyheadsmom said...

Of course you could do that. I have no doubts.

12:33 p.m.  
Anonymous cheesefairy said...

I agree. You could totally carry one under each arm if need be.

Beautiful imagery in this post. I am still too chicken to go in my son's room at night...I figure if it ain't broke, don't fix it. But then he used to have all his naps in my arms so I had lots of sleeping baby to look at during the day.

10:52 a.m.  
Blogger kittenpie said...

You know, I never go in either, for the same reason. Won't she wake? But on the rare occasions, like last night, when she wakes and I have to put her back to sleep and stay a little while, I marvel at the stillness of her face, and how different it looks at rest in the dim light of the nightlight. If only it weren't at 2 am following a screaming nightmare...

3:23 p.m.  
Blogger mamakie said...

It took me a long time to be able to go in and check on my kids with a last one kiss and hug (as they ask for it). My daughter is like yours - always been a great sleeper. She's 4 now, and I love going in before I go to bed and giving her a kiss to say good-night. Sometimes I even get a sleepy "I love you too" in return.

My son has been a bigger struggle and I've only just started to give him a kiss while sleeping for fear of waking him.

Checking on both of them is part of my bedtime ritual now that I couldn't go without.

9:09 p.m.  

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