We have never been a bed sharing family. There was no co-sleeping in years gone by, no snuggly sleepovers, no bundling ourselves together in a hotel room, not of any kind, at any time. I don’t have anything against it per se it has just never worked for our family and it seems that the girls (and us) like the independence and space of our own beds. Even in those hazy newborn days of constant feeding and the ability to sleep standing up it was never an option that worked, and believe you me I tried everything! When they are poorly we would try, yet they would be too restless to sleep and so we always opted for lying on the floor next to their beds to be with them arather than have them in with us, it worked for the children after all so we just labelled bed sharing not for us and moved on.
Parenting however has its way of surprising you, of keeping you on your toes and of making you change from one moment to the next as the crazy journey of parenting evolves. At the moment I am ever conscious that the baby days are behind us, that on the horizon of my girls turning 7 and 3 within the next two months we are almost out of those toddler days too. I am no longer governed by routine, by starting bad habits and it is all about throwing caution to the wind and treasuring these moments. Less about the future and more about the now, about comfort and immediate need.
This week Roma has been poorly, it started right at the beginning of the week with a mere cough that can be expected at this time of the year with germs, heating and nursery thrown into the mix but my usually robust little Roma has become increasingly sad, especially at night. If you have been around here any time at all you may already know that she has never been the best sleeper, she is the one that is easily disturbed in the night and although she is much better now than she used to be, there are still nights and weeks that one of us is in fact up in the night with her for one reason or another. Unlike her big sister, thankfully. The past week though, sleep in this house has been very rare.
Eddy was away with work overnight in the midst of it and in my desperation I decided a change of scene was a good idea, a place for me to sit that wasn’t her floor more than anything else. I lifted a crying hot and very sad Roma into my bed at some hour of darkness that I can’t even recall and sat rocking her. I rocked and patted, wiped her little button nose and administered medicine with her soft eyelids still closed. I tried to stop her cries by stroking her forehead and wiped my own falling tears from her pink cheek. Her breathing eased, her twitching lessened as sleep took over her, for now. I lay her down beside me, no longer on my knee but close enough to feel her chest rise up and down, to feel her breathe, and I stared at her.
I wondered if I would sleep or if I would stare at her all night long just to keep her safe. Or if I should really return her to her bed. I inched away and her closed eyes scrunched and wrinkled, her bottom lip quivered in pain and her hand reached out to mine. The mere touch of my hand stopped the wince and in that moment I knew she could stay right there. So we slept, I slept with her hand in mine, he head resting against my chest and I suddenly didn’t feel crowded, or suffocated or that I needed space. In that moment I need her, I needed her arguably more than she needed me and that was ok. In this crazy world of parenting this moment made me realise that I was everything, that to her I could settle her woes and it dawned on me that I never want to stop being that person. So I sat, and we slept, and I was disturbed on and off all night until I awoke at 7.15 panicking about the school run with a scruffy haired toddler by my side. I was tired and broken, but somehow wrapped up in that big smile that sat beside me I felt content and fulfilled in my role that night.
Eddy returned and of course it isn’t as easy with everyone there and I am not at all saying that sharing my bed has a big place in our future but for now, for this week it has been all that we needed. Last night again as she awoke crying, inconsolably so. I didn’t hesitate in the evening light to bring Roma and her grey rabbit back into my bed. She cried and cried and nothing could soothe her, nothing that is other than lying next to me, her legs intertwined with mine and her face just an inch from my nose. I felt her warm breathe on my face, could smell the tell tale sign of infection and her hand lay protectively on my cheek. It was 8pm, I had things to do, dinner to eat, but I stayed there with her because the fact her pain melted away was enough.
This time, once she was fully asleep and peacefully calm I took her back, well there really isn’t enough room for the three of us, although I warned Eddy there could be an air bed waiting for him later! So across the landing I carried a 2 year old who no longer fits cradled in my arms without her long legs dangling over the side, I settled her back in her little bed and she turned over, snuggled down with her rabbit for comfort and let out a sigh, to sleep, for the night. She was ok by herself, and that is ok too, but I want her to know that if comfort is what she needs, in her bed or mine I have it for her in spades because this simple moment brought a little bit of magic into an otherwise tough week, and I would do again in a heartbeat.
Here’s to having this happy little girl back again with boundless energy and not enough time to even glance back at Mummy when she plays. That’s my girl.
Linking with Donna What the Redhead said for the Ordinary Moments