Seeking a comfortable closeness
* * *
Loaf has never been a good sleeper.
She didn’t sleep through the night until she was over two years old. And really, for the most part, she still doesn’t, though the nightly wakings are less traumatic.
Though often, sometime between 1 and 4 a.m., I hear little feet paddling down the hall. I prop myself up and wait for her head of fuzzy curls to appear at my side of the bed. I lift her up over me and plop her down between me and Mark. We are all typically back to sleep within five minutes.
And all would be right with the world except our little bed feels even smaller when she’s in it. Complicating matters is the fact that Loaf is the twistiest, turniest, floppiest, kickiest sleeper in the land. She likes to doze parallel to the headboard with her feet pushed firmly into Mark’s back and her skull pressed uncomfortably against mine. Forming a big capital “H” on the bed, Mark and I struggle to sleep on a sliver of mattress only an inch or two wider than our bodies while Miss Thang lounges luxuriously across the pillows.
As Loaf grows, the problem with this sleeping arrangement has grown with her. Any night now, I’m going to fall out of bed onto the hard floor or worse, get clocked in the nose by her rock-hard head as she flops around like a fish out of water.
So last week we decided that something had to give. Loaf has got to learn to sleep – all night – in her own bed.
Last night at 4:12 a.m. I heard her trademark paddling and before she could even reach my bedside I was up. I scooped her back up and lay her on my shoulder.
“You’re just too big to keep sleeping in Mommy and Daddy’s bed,” I murmured to her. “It’s time to sleep in your own room, but I’ll sit with you for a minute.”
She was almost back to sleep by the time I returned to her room. I laid her down and curled up next to her. In seconds, her breathing slowed and I knew she was asleep. I lay next to her, studying her long lashes and the way her wispy curls framed her face. I propped myself up on my elbow and ran a finger gently along her cubby forearm, one of the few parts of her that still bears close resemblance to her baby pictures.
She is growing up so fast.
After a few minutes, I slowly rose from her bed and walked back to my own, but I couldn’t sleep. Mark, unable to go back to sleep, had gotten up. I could hear him clicking on the computer down the hall. The bed was cool and quiet,. but also very, very empty.
This morning when she woke up, I praised her for sleeping in her own room. She stared at me blankly, her lips drawn into a pout.
"I like sleeping next to you, Mommy. I want to be with you."
My heart clenched and my eyes filled with tears. I sat next to her and folded her into my arms. She rested her head against my chest and gently clasped my index finger with her hand.
* * *
I have longed for a king-sized bed for years. A bed where a small girl could stretch out next to me in peace and comfort for as long as she'd like.