Monday, February 6, 2012
With the notable exception of the two nights I gave into peer pressure (regretfully) and let my daughter cry it out until my husband asked me "What do you WANT to do?" in response to my "What should we do?" as she cried and cried. I said "I want to go rock her to sleep!". "So do that!". Wiser words were never spoken. Yes, I went and rocked her to sleep that night and many many nights thereafter.
And what nights do I regret?
The ones where I spent an hour or more rocking her to sleep? No.
The two where I made her cry.
If I could change one thing in my 3.5 years of parenting, it would be those two nights.
Because it went against everything we believed as parents.
Because instead of teaching her to "know you won't come for every little thing" as some people advised, no, no, we want her to know we will come running if she needs us.
When she was a newborn, we wanted her to know that if she cried, we were on our way.
When she was six months old and cried, we wanted her to know we were running to see what she needed.
When she was one and called out 'Mama' in the middle of the night, we wanted her to know that we would wake up and get into her room for a hug and a snuggle and, yes, almost always a nurse.
When she was two and called out 'Mommy!' in the night, we wanted her to know we were coming...and again, almost always a nurse:)
She is 3.5 and just woke up on her floor where she decided to camp out on her 'spaceship bed' tonight. She cried out 'Mommy!' and I went in for a hug and moved her to her bed and stayed until she was asleep (this only took about 90 seconds:).
Because I want her to know I am here.
And why is that so important?
Because when she starts kindergarten and someone is unkind to her, we want her to know that we are here to talk to about it and give her hugs and tell her that she is our favorite girl and that she is a wonderful person.
Because when she is ten and isn't invited to a friend's birthday party, we want her to know that we are here to share in the hurt and disappointment.
Because when she is twelve and achieves a long worked for goal, we want her to know that we are here to celebrate, and celebrate we will!
Because when she is fourteen and tries alcohol or smoking or drugs, we want her to know we are here to talk to about all of those things and guide her into better decisions.
Because when she is seventeen and tells us she wants to go on the pill, we want her to know that we are here to walk through that with her.
Because when she is away at college and wakes us in the night with a phone call, we want her to know that we are here and awake in a flash just like now when we are right down the hall.
Because when she has her first baby, we want her to know that we are here for care and support and to say 'Trust yourself. Trust your baby. You've got this, and we are here to do what we can.'
So that's why we were okay with sleepless nights and feet in our faces and ribs and long nursing sessions in the middle of the night (yes, I kind of miss those - the feet in my face are here to stay for now;).
Because it all lays a foundation.
One that says "We are here. And we are running to meet you where you need us."