My husband always puts Dallas to bed. I’m pretty soft and when Heavy D’s face cracks and he lets out a big cry, I give in and pick him back up just as quickly as he shows signs of discomfort. He has my number!
I have tried to rock Dallas to sleep many times in the last few months but he won’t stand for it, often pointing at his crib. “Lay me down, Mom!” The thought of him finding more comfort in his crib than in my arms is upsetting even though I know that he is much bigger now and sleeping in his own room in his crib where he can comfortably stretch out is routine. I had a hard time moving him in there all the way across the hall and I lay in bed many nights hating the fact that his room had any windows at all. I was convinced someone might take him in the middle of the night. The only reason I did move him is because he outgrew his bassinet and Cody said if I moved his crib into our room it was going right back. Whenever I couldn’t sleep — whether because of my raging hormones or new mom anxieties — I would tip toe across the hall to pick him up and rock him, adoring his new little face, tracing my finger across his soft skin and touching the bottom of his sticky toes. Looking back now I was the one who needed the comfort the most and he was always a snuggle away.
Tonight while Cody changed the last diaper of the day, something inside of me felt sad that the day was done. I had been downstairs zoning off into the computer screen for the last 20 minutes and as soon as I heard footsteps above me I knew that Dallas was off to bed. I didn’t miss a minute with him ALL day. We woke up together, we ate finger foods and he obliged while I set him in a tall chair in front of the blinds so I could get that natural sunlight while snapping too many pictures of his handsome profile.
Like usual, his left thumb was planted firmly in his mouth, not exactly the frame I wanted of his toothy grin and dimple but pictures say a thousand words, and this is him. He threw a huge fit when he saw me as he was running around the open gym wildly with all the other toddlers not ready to leave his favorite place quite yet, the kids club at my gym. He was very mad at me when I insisted on washing his hands before our trek home and he let me know by crying for most of the drive. We were together nearly every second of the day but it still wasn’t enough. We had power struggles, and we fought over his spoon until he realized he was too hungry to wage war. I cut up apples, prunes and made him an omelette and he threw them all on the floor. He woke up on the wrong side of the bed after his nap with a ‘tude that even a puppet show couldn’t fix. By the end of the day our emotional piggy banks were spent. All I wanted was a tender moment to close out the day and set the tone for a peaceful night.
With all of this in mind I ran upstairs and kissed his forehead while he lay on the changing table, before his dad scooped him up and he cried when he was placed in bed. Like always, I picked him up, scurrying to the rocking chair, holding my breathe and waiting for him to squirm out of my arms. I was in disbelief. He didn’t fuss. He looked around for a moment and snuggled in. His little eye lashes flickering on my face while his hands were busy moving back and forth on my shirt. This was a special moment, and I knew that I was lucky to wrap him up in my arms once more. His body was still. I couldn’t feel his little toes knocking on my belly in his usual fashion, he wasn’t pointing at his books or the door. I smelled his hair, specifically that long patch in the back that didn’t get cut at the barber the Saturday before because he wouldn’t sit still. My grasp got tighter as I nuzzled my face closer to his ear and whispered “I love you.” Not too tight as I knew he would pull away if he felt trapped. A few times he even lifted his head off my chest, peeking at my face in the gleam of the hallway light as we lovingly stared at each other and he babbled noises that my ears had never heard before. I kissed him and in return even received an open mouth to my cheek. I sat there in silence rocking back and forth and my heart smiled at all of the times I was fortunate enough to hold him in this very chair.
One thing is for sure, I’ll never be more needed than I am now. I’m the mom who spaces her kids out so that she can hold on to them a little longer. The one who worries if she’s enough. The momma who is terrible at discipline and knows she will pay for it later. I’m the one who will learn how he ticks and I’ll guard his precious sensitive heart like hell. I’ll probably always look back and wonder what I could have done more. Most of all I’ll long for the nights we rocked away in his nursery all night, with milk-stained shirts and tired eyes. These are the best days of my life, and nothing has ever filled my heart with happiness the way that his little head resting on my shoulder does.