Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Stolen moments

A few weeks ago, Ben fell asleep on me when I was rocking him at nap time. I was patting him absent-mindedly and my mind had wandered off when all of the sudden, I noticed that his breathing had become rhythmic and his habitual wiggling had ceased. I looked down and saw that his eyes were closed and his face was relaxed. His two fingers were no longer in his mouth and had fallen to the side. It was a welcome sight, and not one I get to see very often anymore. Had I known it might be the last time, I surely would have held him longer and enjoyed the feel of his weight in my arms, the smell of his hair, the sound of his deep breathing.

As is typically the way at this age, every nap and bedtime has become a struggle. I don't know if it's the language skills that have exploded suddenly or if it's his insistence at bringing his Buzz Lightyear beanbag doll to the crib (that Buzz is a real party animal) but every attempt at soothing before sleep has failed. Ben chatters up a storm, flops around from my shoulder to laying in my arms to squishing down in my lap, and tries his very best to distract me from patting him or trying to relax him in anyway. I often have to fight to keep from laughing at his silly faces and games. After 2-3 songs, I give up, put him in the crib where he proceeds to flop about and chatter until he falls asleep. Some nights he has stayed awake for as long as 90 minutes after I have put him down. I have tried everything I could think of to change this recent pattern. We have added extra rocking (which becomes play time), tried to leave Buzz behind (not happening), and even pushed his bedtime backwards in the hopes that he would be tuckered (not so much).

Today we had friends over for a play date and he was demonstrating his cranky side (due to his recent "who needs sleep?" campaign)  when it came to sharing toys and following the rules, but nothing too heinous happened. At least as far as I know, none of the moms left swearing never to return or anything. We had a quick lunch and then began our nap routine again (I am nothing if not determined). Imagine my surprise when I looked down and saw that he was asleep! In the rocking chair! On me! Oh joy, joy, joy! I cannot begin to describe the sheer pleasure of being able to hold my sleeping toddler and cuddle him close. So, this time, I did not jump up and place him in the crib. This time, I held him close for as long as I could. I smelled his hair and rubbed his back. I pressed him closer to me and enjoyed the warmth of the snuggle. I drew the moment out and made it last for as long as possible. Because who knows if I will get that chance again...

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