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11:08 pm

Oh, my darling girl, my pookest of Pooks, imp of my heart, my sweetest bunny, my favorite Gwyneth. You were exhausted today, all day, because you didn’t sleep last night. You were snuggly and fussy (I told you “you lack emotional resilience today”), and you napped extra naps. But then bedtime. You fell asleep easily, and woke just as quickly when Malcolm made that noise he makes where his nails scratch the wall while he dreams. And you were wide. awake.

And so here we are, you and I, lying in bed at 11:08. We’ve been doing this since 8ish, and you’ve just now dropped into sleep after a Mama Gives Up baby party in the living room at 10, a final attempt to burn through your late night energy, with hopes of avoiding another snuggle-induced flailing angry throat punch from your tiny yet terribly effective fist.

And what sleep it is. When you finally let go, your little hands go limp, and your mouth falls open and your breathing just settles into the loveliest soft rhythm and I could just watch you for hours. (And I have!) But oh how you fight it. You suck your fingers and you stare at the ceiling fan and you talk to the cats and you stroke Blue Dog’s ears and you fight to roll over and stand up and YA YA YA YA YA until the sleepy takes over and you bury your sleep-sweaty little head in my shoulder and your eyes get soft … and you jerk them open and slap me in the collarbone and shove up to your hands and knees and start all over again.
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I promise you, little one, the world will all be here tomorrow, to be licked and drooled upon and smacked with shapes from your sorter toy. Your toys will still be strewn across the living room floor, waiting to be talked into like toy phones (because everything is a toy phone, even the stuffed raccoon). The dog will be here tomorrow, patiently enduring the fur-pulling and joyous shrieks of “MAAAAAM!” when you see him. Your daddy and I will be here when you wake, in the morning and in the night, right here when you fling out a hand and reach for our warmth.

So sleep, little one. Let it take you. Drop into the velvety softness of your dreams and just let go. I promise you it’s worth it. And I promise you I will be here, watching you breathe.

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