So….I think I might have an inklin how the average family spends their days and nights! Now I don’t want to brag, or look a gift horse in the mouth, but get this- at night…my girls…they go to sleep.
Right around 7pm, The Quail, she does this thing- where she suddenly has had enough of us, no more good cheer, no more smiles, no- it’s fuss, fuss, “Hey someone should have known to get me a bottle two minutes ago!” fuss. We oblige; sneaking an extra ounce of milkshake in for good measure, lay her down in her practically-new- never-been-slept-in-before-by-another-child- and-no-we -didn’t-just-buy-it-in-February-2009-crib; propped just a little bit upright, for good, aspiration-prevention measure, tell her we love her, kiss her forehead, cover her feet in a snuggly blanket, start the bluebirds singing on the ceiling and walk away. That’s it- we just walk away. No crying. No fussing. No protesting. It’s crazy- she drinks her milk and then she GOES TO SLEEP! Have you ever heard of anything so crazy? And then get this- she doesn’t wake up- until between 11-12 hours later! Apparently all this time- the problem was, we were reading What to Expect- rather than letting her read the manual herself! Now this blessing in our life is new. It started upon the completion of molar number 2 making it’s full appearance. That’s toothie number 6. 5 of which have introduced themselves to her in the last 2 months poor lamb. 2 more molars to go- so I know this blessed state is only temporary. When she’s in the middle of meeting a tooth- it’s 3-5 wakings a night- and unhappy, grief wall wailing, gnawing off her fingers inspite of being dosed up on Motrin wakings. It is good to know she can do it. Kathy told her last week in feeding therapy that it was time to say good-bye to the middle of the night bottles. And so she has…for now…
And on the other side of the room, sleeps Zuzu, in her own-big-girl-bed, surrounded by snuggly blankets, animal friends, a ball or two, a half dozen assorted pillows, a few Little People, Fabulous the Baby Doll, Big and Lil Mermaid, Mo-Mo and O-Mo-Mo, Zoey, Elmo and Abby-Kadabby, her night-night headband, her jammies of her own choosing- typically 3 sizes larger- but otherwise the same as sissies, BIG GIRL UNDERROOS, a pair of slippers, the 3 books of her choice for the night, a little flashlight and a parent. The roos- now that’s new. She’s been asking to wear them to bed and be done with her nighttime pull-ups for a few months now. She desperately wanted to be considered big-enough to wear underwear to bed like Momma and Daddy. And really, she’s been dry at night for a few months and she’s been getting herself up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night if she has to for the last month. We, having more dollars for pullups than hours for soiled laundrymaintenance have been hesitant to embrace her big-girl status. So a deal was struck- as summer arrived, nursing was coming to an end. The pump was cancelled to quote her, neh-neh (also to quote her) was down to 2 times a day. We informed her of The New Deal 2 weeks ago. We would have one more week of 2 times a day nursing, with the understanding that the second was no longer at bedtime and Momma & Daddy would begin alternating the nighttime putting down of small ones, in the girls very-own-room. That’s right folks- no more official co-sleepers status. Well sort of- she inevitably negotiates one of us into lieing down next to her, for “just 5 minutes”, then snuggles up after lights out- and is almost certainly guaranteed an overtired parent as a companion until the end of that REM cycle. Once the spell has dissipated and the said parent wakes up covered in Little People and Sesame Street cast-offs, the military maneuvers begin to serpentine our way out of the bed and room without waking either pip-squeak. The funniest night by far was the one when Lovey managed to maneuver out of bed without appearing to have woken them, went to the kitchen to undo the dishwasher, returned to the darkened parents room, crawled into bed only to find Zuzu already snoring again on his pillow.
Last Thursday was the official last nursing. Honestly I couldn’t decide whether to make a big deal out of it at the time for her and me or to just let it go by naturally so as not to ruffle her feathers. I compromised. I didn’t bring up the finality of it. The next day we made a HUGE production of her picking out which undies would christian the first night in bed. Pink won out of course. And put her to bed just like it was no big deal. The next morning I woke to a certain 3 year old sitting up over me, enacting her best Snoopy-vulture imitation, yet patiently waiting for me to wake up, since Daddy had told her to let Momma sleep, to let me know that she did it, she slept in her big-girl underwear just like I had! So I gave her our little memento of the occasion- a book about The Midnight Fairies that came with it’s own silver fairy necklace she could wear. She was soooooo proud! So happy- so ecstatic she ended up somehow breaking it off her own neck within the first 45 minutes of wearing it. Well- she is still only 3.
Big changes for us all this summer- I see lots of sleep on all of our horizons. And better rested parents can only mean one thing for everyone they meet- a much more pleasant encounter. Thank heavens for sleeping cherubs.
Oh, but just to be clear, do still ask if we would “like” another cup of coffee- it’ll be a while before we are that rested that we might actually say no thank you.
* It’s her middle name.
**It’s a reference. And it’s lovely there- and here.