Friday, February 16, 2007

Valentine's Day Present

Last week was a hard parenting week. Q went on a napping strike, coinciding with a week of his fetal sibling deciding she needed a new rec room between my small and large intestines. Between his constant meltdowns (gosh, lacking a nap doesn't improve a toddler's resilience?) and my desire to wear a mumu, it was a little brutal.

Friday night we brought home a toddler bed. A big boy bed, so to speak. Much to our surprise and delight, Q loves it. He bounces on it, piles blankets on it, cuddles his animals on it. He helped me pick out new crib sheets for it. That is, he played peacefully in the store while I furrowed my brow at the difficulty in deciding between a patterned sheet and solid colored sheets and grumped over the discount store not having a high end options to satisfy my linen fetish.

He even, and I know you weren't expecting this, slept in the bed. And fell out. At least three times on different occasions. Having learned his lesson, he now prefers to sleep in his crib, although he's willing to try out the big bed for naps. Which he started taking again on Tuesday, to my endless gratitude.

Wednesday we had an ice storm and I came home early. I optimistically tucked him into his big bed for nap at 2:30, following an unnecessary meltdown (his gentle signal that a nap is welcome), and was happy to hear him wake at 4:30. Two hours is a decent nap for a child who was claiming he didn't need them just two days before. I went in to get him, assuming he was hungry.

He wasn't hungry. He was drastically unhappy to be awake, and had perhaps fallen out of bed yet again. I tried our post-nap strategies for cheering him up when he wakes up hard: comforting his stuffed animals as if they're crying; making his stuffed animals bark or meow (depending on whim, not necessarily appropriately for the animal); offering to go downstairs and get some food or milk. Nada. Didn't buy any of it.

I picked him up and sat in the rocking chair. I offered to read a book. No. I tried singing. "NO! NO! NO! Don't do that!"
No singing.

Rebuked, I tried just rocking him for a few minutes.

You never know when the last time your child will fall asleep in your arms will be. And the less often it happens, the sweeter the moments get. Previous to Wednesday, the last time Q had fallen asleep in my arms was 2005, during his last ear infection.

So I sat and rocked and fell asleep with his skin of his soft forehead pressed to my cheek.