Last night when I was finally drifting off to sleep (around 3:15am) I heard my 16 month old making baby talk, tossing and turning. He wasn’t fully awake, and the last 3 weeks have proven that he is fully capable of going back to sleep on his own. I didn’t *need* to go into his room, pick him up, and rock him-but I really wanted to. I also really wanted to sleep.
I just had this strong feeling that I should go into his room and comfort him. To my surprise, he didn’t want to nurse when I picked him up. He just snuggled against my chest, and let me rock him while holding him close. I was so tired, but I just let that moment last as long as he was willing. It’s not very often that he just lets me hold him these days, he’s getting more independent everyday. As I was holding him, I wondered when he got so big. At one point I could hold his entire body in both arms against my chest, and at this point with his head on my chest, his little baby butt on my lap, and his long legs stretched across my thighs passing my knees it became so very obvious that these moments are fleeing, and he is growing so quickly. As I was enjoying the closeness of the moment, I couldn’t help but to shed a tear when the question came to mind “When will be the last time he wants to be held and rocked?”
I could feel and hear him grinding his teeth, which let me know why he wasn’t peacefully sleeping in the first place. So I grabbed his jar of teething rub & took care of that. I was so tired, I hadn’t slept at all at this point (I’m a total night owl & 2am is usually bedtime for me). Anyway, I wanted to go to sleep, but I didn’t want to be the one to end our cuddles. So, I brought him back into our bedroom-where just 3 weeks before now, he used to sleep every night. I thought I could just lay on my side, & that he would nurse to sleep like he has done every single night of his life up until 3 weeks ago. I was wrong. He nursed for what seemed like forever, and he made it obvious that he wasn’t comfortable with me cuddled up to him like we used to sleep every night. I remember when (not long ago) he would nurse while i laid on my side, his little feet barely reaching past my gut, and he would snuggle up so close to me all night. Now, he wants his space, he was kicking and my being so close to him was having the opposite effect that it has had all this time-I was keeping him awake. So, after about 30 minutes of him nursing and no end in sight, I said “Kyzer, you go night night?” and he said “nai nai” (night night in baby talk) and… my heart kind of broke into a hundred pieces. It was obvious that he was ready to go back to HIS bed to sleep, that he’s a big boy now that sleeps on his own. I took him back to his crib, told him goodnight and that I loved him, and went back to bed. Inevitably, I laid there thinking “When will be the last time he sleeps in our bed? Will he ever want to cuddle and find comfort in between his dad and I again?” And again, I kind of had a moment of sadness because truly, the days are long, but the years are short.
How many times have I taken those precious moments for granted? I can remember many nights that he just wanted me close, he would wake up when I would get out of bed because he just wanted the boob, & the comfort and warmth of my body holding his close. Some nights, I would be frustrated. I remember more than once telling kyle (after I finally managed to get my own boob free from my baby who liked to nurse as long as I would let him) “I AM SO TOUCHED OUT”. I remember just wanting a moment to myself. I remember just wanting my baby to sleep on his own, without my boob in his mouth all night. I remember just wanting to be able to sleep on my back or on my belly or however felt comfortable, after more than a year of sleeping on my side every single night.
Now, he sleeps on his own, he doesn’t want to nurse all night, & he doesn’t want me to hold him all night long either apparently. Now, just three weeks into this *sleeping on his own stage* I realize how much I miss him needing me, wanting to cuddle, wanting me close. Now, when I rock him before laying him in his crib to go to sleep on his own (and he doesn’t cry to sleep) I try my best to soak up every moment. Even when I have a mile long to-do list, even when I need to pee. Because I know these days won’t last forever, and I love the sweet moments that I just get to hold my baby and love on him. Because I know that even when I am impatient and tired, there are always going to be days when I am impatient and tired—but my baby won’t always be small. Once these years are over, they’re over. He’s growing into a toddler, & if god is willing then he will grow into a child, and eventually (quicker than I want to admit) he will grow into an adult. Then, all I will have left of these days will be memories and photos, and I know I will look back & probably wish I had just slowed down more and enjoyed these years that are so busy, not so easy, and so tiring.
Mamas-to-be, enjoy the time while pregnant, enjoy all the kicks, soak up every moment of your child growing in your womb. Although you may feel differently, I promise it won’t last forever.
Mamas of newborns, hold your baby as much as you possibly can. Appreciate the moments of peace and being alone with just you and your baby, even if its 4am and you are SO tired. When they’re cluster-feeding and your nipples are raw and cracked, power-through and don’t give up. Know those moments are fleeing, and you will miss those days when they are gone.
Fellow mamas of soon-to-be toddlers, hold on to the time you have left of your little one still being so little. Appreciate when they are wanting your attention, give them attention & all the love they will allow you to give. Even when it is annoying at times, and my goodness-you’re just trying to do the dishes, or pee alone-can’t you get a moment of peace? Because one day, we will have a quiet peaceful home when our babies are grown, and I know personally, I will miss the chaos that comes along with these younger years.
When will be the last time Kyzer nurses, he holds my hand, he plays peek-a-boo with the curtains, he lets me rock him to sleep? I don’t know, but I do know that I will be reminding myself daily to enjoy every moment, because we never know when the last time will be.