There has been a surge of need for nighttime comfort in the last month from Zuzu. I thought she was headed towards more nighttime independence and was feeling a little bittersweet about it and then next thing you know I realize she is headed straight back towards more comfort. Lovey and I share bedtime duties with the girls and on one of my nights I covered her with a little blanket and went, “Tuck, Tuck, Tuck!” as I pushed the blanket under her. She loved it and reveled in the coziness and this has become a new routine. Shortly after that she started alerting us to the “monsters” that had moved in to our house in the evenings. I know it’s not uncommon for little kids to think there are monsters, but I’m a little surprised at the late onset of this new fear. Since we had been looking for it for a good year now though I was already prepared with my response (which probably didn’t help instill confidence that monsters are make-believe) of the antidote of “Monster Spray”! You have some too right, air freshener that you spray that keeps all monsters at bay? Unfortunately the first one I grabbed was seasonal. So it appears we may be smelling the holiday season’s baking long after the cookies have gone stale.
I know that it all depends on my energy level and perspective how I see her need for comfort at night and how I respond to her. It’s something that I’m going to focus on in this next year- expanding my patience consciously. With the little one brewing in me I admit to feeling more than a little impatient in the evenings for the girls to go to sleep so I can collapse as well. And it doesn’t go unnoticed. Zuzu told me the other night after I apologized for snapping at her, “It’s ok Momma, I know pregnant ladies are cranky because of the babies in their belly.” In this though, I find that I am routinely forgetting seemingly small parts of the bedtime minutes that are so important to the little ones. Fortunately, they never fail to get up again to remind me.
“Momma, I need socks.”
“Momma, I need a blanket that smells like you and Sugarplum to cuddle.”
“Momma, you forgot to flossie my teeth.”
“Momma, you forgot to spray monster spray.”
“Momma, you forgot to brush my teeth! Dr. Horton says I have to get the sugars off of them!”
“Momma, I’m too hot in these jammies” (as heard on the nights I don’t manage to forget a single detail)
It’s so hard when I’m tired to get everything in the expressly ordered order. Maybe, really, my impatience is with myself and not this little girl. I’m not sure. Each night of late, though it seems like our routine of late has varied. We have very early mornings in our house and while the Quail is a very good sleeper most nights, there is the issue of how late she sleeps the next day that still allows us to get in a few therapy activities, ample time for her to meander on the potty and through her breakfast and still get Zuzu enough facetime without anyone feeling rushed. Zuzu has a nose for noticing when her grown-ups have left the bed though and frequently wakes herself to follow us around in the wee morning hours. The Quail on the other hand often sleeps an hour or more into the morning from when the rest of us are up.
Zuzu has returned to coming into our bed nightly now. Often when she does if I’m facing away from her she’ll start tugging on my shoulder to see if she can lure me into a sleepy cuddle. I’m sure when I’m actually asleep it works. Unfortunately if I’ve heard her come in and woken up to it, and had recently turned over due to pregnancy induced hip pains, she gets a less than pleasant reply to her somewhat silent, mostly insistent, carotid artery pressing request. Then in the morning I’m reminded of my rudeness in the innocent sweetness that only a child can offer up to a less than well-trained parent, “Momma, did you end up rolling over and cuddling me after I fell asleep and I just don’t remember?” is the suggestion she so trustingly gives me. At that point, I’m alert enough to be aware of the gift she’s offering up and will respond with hugs and kisses and assurances. I can at least do that much!
Then last night after she had been tucked in by her dad, I was puttering in our room and heard her door squeak open. I have to be careful in my responses to her here- it’s a balance to not encourage the nightly visits but also not make her feel bad in her late night weepy stage. She promptly informed me that she didn’t have socks on, I hadn’t brushed her hair, her teeth or flossied her. Sigh…you can’t really argue with a request for good hygiene as a parent. So we made quick work of all but the flossing and repeated the tuck, tucks.