I never used to check on Caroline at night when she was an infant. First off, I was afraid to wake her. And secondly, she nursed for six or seven months so I knew I would be seeing her at some point in the night and often more than once. I probably didn’t need to worry about waking her because she was always a sound sleeper. I remember one night while living in Florida there was an incredible thunderstorm. I mean it was a powerhouse storm. Shook the pictures right off the wall. Honestly. She never made a peep. I actually DID check on her that night because I couldn’t believe she wasn’t awake and screaming.
Liam didn’t get many check-ins either. This is because he never slept. There would be nights that he would be up for hours at time and just plain miserable about it. The result was that Jeff and I were just plain miserable.
He was smart about his nighttime torture. It looked a little something like this:
Step 1: Sleep from 7 pm until 10 pm (in his very nice crib in his own room) and then wait until Mom & Dad turned off their bedside lamps.
Step 2: Give them a few minutes to get comfy and then–CRY, SCREAM, HOLLER.
Step 3: Keep this up for hours, until everyone is just plain exhausted.
Step 4: Finally fall back asleep at 1 or 2 in the morning.
Step 5: Wake up and want to play (or eat) by 5 am.
By the way, Caroline slept right through all his screaming. Every.Single.Night. Thank goodness for small miracles! (Told you she was a sound sleeper. Just like her dad, I guess.) Liam eventually learned to be a better sleeper–but not after a lot of work and trying moments.
Somewhere along our path to good parenting, Jeff decided that the children needed to be looked in on before we went to bed. I left that ball in his court and let him run with it. I wanted nothing to do with it and was willing to forfeit my Mother of the Year Award. But then, he started to call me in to their rooms. I just had to come see them, he’d say. I just had to see the cute little faces, eyes shut, bodies in weird yet somehow comfortable positions, just spilling over with sweetness and innocence. It only took a few times before I too was hooked on doing a nightly check-in.
Now the routine is to peek in on Caroline, adjust her fan and pull her thumb out of her mouth. Sometimes she gets a kiss and other times we have to skip it because she’s snuggled too far under the blankets. Liam’s reading lamp is turned off, his night light is turned on, and his stack of Richard Scarry books gets moved to the floor. He almost always gets a kiss.
Sometimes I wonder how long looking in on them while they sleep will last. I’d say forever, like in the Robert Munsch book I’ll Love You Forever but I’m pretty sure they’ll be the type of teenagers that will stay awake LONG after mom has hit the hay. So until then, I’ll keep looking in, tucking in, and kissing them goodnight while they float around dream land.