The past few nights, my boy has cried when we put him to bed and he's also woke up at odd hours. Sometimes I just stand by his door and wait it out and sometimes I intervene. I am going to chalk it up to teething (finally we are getting some serious chompers!) since he's been slow to that party. Or that he realizes there are things going on after his door closes. Either one. Tonight he quickly was up before I had even left the room. I still shut off the light, said my good night, and closed the door. I proceeded to the couch where I could still hear him and watch the clock. I've let him whimper. I've let him cry. However, there's always a threshold. I guess I just know what that limit is due to special mommy powers. So eventually, I went back into his room and decided we were going to rock for awhile.
My thoughts started racing towards, "Oh no. Are we going to start a bad habit? Will we have to do this every night? Is this the start of a downward spiral? We've had such a good run. Maybe we need to push his bedtime back. How many hours of sleep do 18 month olds need?" You get the idea. Paranoid mom was making an arrival.
But I stopped. I took a breath. I noticed.
I noticed how my little boy fits so perfectly in the chair with me. I noticed how much larger he is and that it almost takes all my strength to move him when he sleeps. I noticed how he wasn't my little baby anymore who fit in one arm. I noticed how he instantly calmed once we started rocking. I noticed how he had his little thumb in the ready-to-suck position but never needed it. I noticed how handsome his blonde hair was and, if genetics is correct, it won't be blonde forever. I noticed how he would occasionally look up at me but never moved. I noticed how sweet he smelled and thankfully didn't smell like the ketchup that covered him after dinner. I noticed how I never get these moments. These moments are rare with a toddler. I noticed how the moment consumed me, how full of love my heart felt, and how peaceful it was in that rocker.
He and I go about our busy days together and I'm constantly working my never ending to do list. I encourage him to play. We sit and read. I fill his snack cup so he can feed himself (and Butters) and they are out of my way while I prep dinner. He is moving from room to room. I am moving from room to room. He's a busy toddler. He doesn't calm down to stop and cuddle. I try to be a productive mom and wife, always busy. I don't have time to stop and soak it in. I allowed tonight to be different.
While I was only in his room for 20 minutes or so, I could have stayed in that rocker all night. The rocker that I loathed while he was a newborn at all hours of the night suddenly became comfortable. I could have slept there but I didn't. It broke my heart a little to have to set him down knowing he wasn't fully asleep and would cry a bit again. But I couldn't have been more proud of myself that I stopped. I took a breath. I noticed.