Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Blown Away

Early this morning around 3am, I awoke to a soft little "Mommy? Mommy?" from the other room. Hootie sleeps through the night about half the time, and the rest of the time something wakes her up. Sometimes she gets herself back to sleep without intervention, and sometimes I need to go do something to help her along her way. She's never been a "good sleeper" in all her 3 years and 3 months, but with every child come the challenges and the surprises along with all the wonderfulness of them. She never once vomited on me and she never drooled at ALL. And I truly feel blessed, as those two things probably would have done me and my anal retentive self in. But sleep.... that's a far more complicated issue. It started with 4 months of colic, of walking back and forth in my tiny house, with my child perched up on my right shoulder, and it just barely got better. We did not go the "co-sleeping"/family bed route, not because we're cold hard heartless parents, but because even when I tried letting the child sleep with me, I was completely and utterly unable to sleep with her next to me. I listened to every flutter of her eyelids, every hint of a sound she ever made. Was she breathing? Was she stirring? Was she about to open up the gaping yaw that is her mouth and howl imminently? I was too on the edge, too afraid to wake her, or too expectant that she would suddenly awaken, that I never slept. So, we decided she would sleep in the crib, in the room directly next to ours. We even shared a common wall, her crib on one side, the head of our bed on the other. And the wall/door between us made it just slightly more possible that I could ignore some of her sounds enough to actually sleep. Many, many times I have woken up, and the only movement I have made is to maybe open one eyeball. And within 30 seconds, the child has woken up crying, and I've gotten up to handle something in the night. But ever since she was about 2, she's been trying like hell to be allowed, without special privilege, without argument, to be able to sleep next to me. And on occasion, like when she is sick and awakens every 30 minutes, or when she's going through a rough transition like first attending pre-school, or on vacation... she's been allowed to sleep with me, for the peace, tranquility, and overall mental health of the entire family. Because this child has an iron will, and she will make it painful and without sleep if she is not satisfied. Believe you me, we've done many a "tough love" evening, with crying and screaming and pleading and cajoling and all manner of different mind-altering tricks coming from her tiny 30 lb body. And eventually she exhausts herself and falls asleep. But I digress. The point is, waking up at 3am is not uncommon for me. Not at ALL.
So, I got up, went to her bedroom. She said, "Mommy..." and pointed to her pajama bottoms. They were a little wet - she had had a tiny accident, I think maybe her second one in the middle of the night since she potty trained herself about 4 1/2 months ago. It's not like this has happened much, and luckily, the bed and covers were all dry. I took the pajamas and her little panties off, and laid them on her clothes hamper to dry, and got her fresh, dry ones. I said, "It's okay, Hootie. Sometimes it happens. C'mon, sweet pea, let's go potty." Took her in the darkness to the bathroom, she sat down and went potty while I sat on the edge of the bathtub next to her and smoothed her hair. And then in the darkness, with just moonlight coming in through the window, she looked at me and said, "Mommy, thank you for always taking care of everything for me. I love you."
This child is barely 3. I was blown away. Below is her self portrait.

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