When we decided that it was really, officially time for Charlie to sleep in her own room all I could think about was what I was losing. I was losing the closeness of having her in my arms all night. I was losing the ability to just turn my head and see her asleep in her pack in play. I was losing the ability to nurse her through the night without getting out of bed. I was losing a lot and I was so mournful.
At the end of the day I don’t have any regrets. Charlie sleeps better in her room, and selfishly I have some space back. I can now go back to my room at 9:00 while Chief stays up watching whatever. I can watch Downton without complaint. I can put my laundry away without waking my kid up. I can color, or read, or work on the computer. It’s like getting a bit of freedom back.
I also got something new from this change. I appreciate Charlie so much more. She is the most amazing creature. I have been amazed at how easily she has adjusted. I miss her every night when I get into bed-but I also have something amazing to look forward to-her waking up.
I thought I would hate getting up a few times a night, walking into another room, and having to force myself to stay awake until she’s done eating-but I don’t. I haven’t been “awake” for a middle of the night feeding since she was a newborn, back when cosleeping still freaked me out so much that I probably didn’t sleep much at all. But now I get her out of bed and I always say “Cafe Momma is open for business, now seating for our midnight, 2 am, etc, service.” She nurses for a few minutes and falls asleep (this is against the rules of our sleep plan, but I don’t care. It doesn’t seem to be hurting anything). Then I always lift her up and put her head on my chest and just rock with her for a few minutes.
Every night, I rock with her, and I tell her how much she has changed our lives. I try to express how much I love her. I smell her hair and kiss her head a few times. I rub her back, and I rock, rock, rock. It doesn’t matter how tired I am-I never skip this part. We always rock. Maybe just for a minute, maybe for ten. Then I lay her back in bed, she rolls to her side and drifts back into sleep, and I pad my way back into our room where I fall back asleep pretty instantly too, looking forward to our next visit.
She won’t remember this. She will never remember how her nursery filled up with love two times a night, and she won’t remember what the sound of my heart felt like in her ear as she drifted back off, or the scent of the detergent on my nightgown. I wish she would, but she won’t. I will forever though. I will think about it on her wedding day, and when she has her first baby, and as I’m drawing my last breath I pray I have the clarity of mind to remember these moments above all, because they have been the most precious of my life.
I haven’t slept through the night in something like a year and a half now (because no one ever thinks about how you basically stop sleeping when you’re pregnant, thanks bladder), and some days are long. Some days are really long. But Charlie is eight months old now, so while the days are long, I am realizing how very short the years are. Soon, very soon I know this baby girl won’t need me in the night. Our rocking days are numbered, but they are mine for now, and mine alone, and I won’t wish them away.
Because the days are long, but the years? They are so, so short.