Thursday, December 23, 2010

My sister gave the kids an amazing dramatic play kit for Christmas. She's a doctor, and she put together the white coat, the kids gown, and all the bandaids, ankle braces, ace bandages, thermometers, gauze pads and strips, masks, hairnets, and booties you could dream of. We cleared out a corner of the room and filled a little bookcase with all the new loot, and put an old crib mattress on the floor next to it for the patient to lie on.
Then, they asked me if they could take the wooden bedrail off my bed to make the bed more like a kids' hospital bed.
The bedrail, of course, is there to keep Fiona safe when she's in bed with me.
But the truth is, Fiona doesn't like to sleep in my bed. So I let them take it, my heart giving in to the truth of it all: when my baby ditched me in September for her crib, she really did ditch me for good. Since that time she actually hasn't slept in our bed at all. She's come in, but she never sleeps.
I never had this with my other kids. Until they were probably 2 or 3, they would always crawl into bed with me at 4, or maybe 5, and nurse and snooze and snuggle until the sun came up. But Fiona, despite the fact (or is it because?) that she was the only one who exclusively slept with me without ever going into the sidecar for an hour or two during the night, wants nothing to do with sleeping together anymore. For eight months we slept in harmony together, for a month and a half we slept in half-asleep annoyed tossing and turning together, and now when it's time to get in to bed at night, she nurses on my lap for a few minutes, then sits up, and says, Bed. She lies on her tummy, snuggling in as I tuck the wooly knitted blankets over her. And then I leave her there, and she falls asleep, and never makes a peep.
She still wakes up in the night, of course, and there's a mattress on the floor of her room, so we snuggle into bed together to nurse during these times. I always wonder whether she'll just fall asleep with me, and we'll end up logging a few hours together, but we never do. She nurses on one side, then asks for the other, and then wakes up and turns away and starts to sit up. This is my cue, and if I put her back to bed, again she snuggles in and goes right back to sleep. If I try to get her to lie with me, she gets irritated and cries. (how insulting!!) So I always put her back now, and I respect that this is just who Fiona is.
I have to admit that as I anticipate the arrival of a new little one in five months I am almost glad that she's like this on her own, that I won't have to harbour the guilt of a new baby taking over her spot in my bed. I won't have to worry about what to do at 4 in the morning when she wakes up and wants to nurse in bed with me. If she does wake up and want to nurse, I know it will be a 3 minute affair in her room, and then she'll happily curl up again in her own bed. I suppose, then, that her independence is a blessing.
And I laugh, knowing that this is what most people strive for, and to me it seems almost sad! I miss her little warm body in bed with me at night, still, after three months apart. I feel awkward and funny leaving her alone in her room to fall asleep. But Fiona is Fiona, and this is what Fiona wants.
And I do get these little snatches, every night, of the snuggliest love ever as I pull her down onto the cozy, down filled bed on her floor. She curls into me, fat and round in her quilted sleep sack, and her warm cheeks are so delicious and lovely. I bend my head down around her and kiss the top of her little soft head while she nurses, and I always fall asleep for a while, just like this, and appreciate the moment so intensely.

I remember, so vividly, being alone.


Hope's Mama said...

That last line, so true. Amazing how vividly you can still recall it when it was longer ago for you. Being alone still feels very recent to me.
The nursing is so lovely. I knew I'd love it and it was almost the thing I was looking forward to the most and at 13 months, I feel so lucky we still have such a wonderful nursing relationship. He loves it, I love it. It is a win/win for everyone. Angus has just stopped feeding overnight and like you describe, I almost miss it as well and still wake and listen for him around the time he used to call for me. We still get the snuggles/nursing in our bed from about 5am onwards so I treasure those moments, as I know they wont last forever.
Lovely post.

Ya Chun said...

Ah, poor mama!

I wonder what she will think when the lil one takes her places? I also wonder if Bea will ever find out what her crib/toddler bed is.... I hope yet again I do not.

And they are so warm and cuddly. Soemtimes I just want to kiss her all up but alas she is asleep.

Lara said...

I cant believe that is baby Fiona standing up with her cute naked bootie! Lucia says things like, "my two booties hurt" when she falls down.
Ahh they get big quickly. Thanks for the lovely holiday post. Have the merriest Christmas.

Emma in Canada said...

It's been a while since I was last here, but I just want to say congratulations on the new baby! Oh, and I wish my 4 and 6 year olds were as independent as Fiona! (though if I miss a night with one or the other I always feel a tinge of sadness!)