Last night was a very real night in the life of a mother who sleeps right next to her baby, makes no efforts whatsoever to help her to sleep independently.
It was ten-something, and I had been curled downstairs on the couch reading my book for quite some time. I tip-toed up the stairs and slid silently under the smooth sheets, curling myself next to my sleeping Maeve.
She was fast asleep. She did not stir as I arranged myself on my pillow and pulled the comforter around me. I could have drifted off right there.
But she was so tempting. She smelled so sweet, and her little, warm hand was splayed out next to her, just within reach. I had to hold it. I held it gently, then wrapped her hand in mine, feeling how tiny it was. I cupped her hand in my two hands, and rested my eyes and breath, as if to sleep.
She stirred, and cried out a little, which was just fine with me, because I really wanted to snuggle all of her. I turned her towards me to nurse. As she fell back into a deep sleep, I lay with my face resting on her silky hair. Her feet were tucked between my thighs, and her belly was cuddled right up to me. I felt almost drunk with the beauty of this. I have to admit, there is nothing that I love more than sleeping with my baby. The intimacy of having this tiny person in my bed, in my arms, tucked into me while she sleeps, never ceases to amaze me. And while it is happening, I know it is just this little while. That one day she will move out on me. That one day she will tell me she hates me.
But now, I am everything. Everything. Maeve has spent almost every moment of her life in very close proximity to me. She depends on me for food, for sleep, for comfort. There is no equal. There is no almost-equal. I am it. I am everything.
This is what I was thinking as I held her in the dark, falling asleep with her tight against my chest. I staggered mentally at the privilege of this, to be someone’s everything. I felt so intensely happy.
I began to fall asleep.
And then, she woke up and began to fuss. So I repositioned her, rewrapped her in her blanket, nursed her some more.
I began to fall asleep.
And then, she woke up and began to fuss. I sat up this time, bounced her on the side of the bed, laid her softly in her own spot.
Repeat the past four lines from approximately 11 PM until 5 AM in 10 minute intervals.
Sleeping with my baby wasn’t feeling so cozy anymore. Finally at 5 I handed her to Greg, who put her in the Ergo, went downstairs, and brewed himself some coffee. I fell asleep, actually, completely, and had one hour and 45 minutes of solid-as-a-rock sleep. I admit I did mutter a few curse words under my breath a few times during the night.
Today there were two new teeth breaking through. Maybe that’s why she was up all night, and maybe it’s not. But we’ll try again tonight. If I actually get some sleep, I can dream of long nights in my future spent quietly fast-asleep between silky sheets, alone, without interruption. But this, now, is my only chance to have her there with me, and I’m not giving it up any time soon.
(and I’ll try not to complain about being tired, either)