I awake around 1 a.m. and shuffle to the bathroom. My toes hug the new carpet – it is so soft and comforting under my feet, which, now, are beat up on a daily basis.
It’s dark and blissfully quiet.
The dog snoozes happily under the bed. My husband doesn’t make a sound as he dreams.
I return to our new sheets and breathe in the smell of fresh laundry. Just as my eyes close, I hear a doorknob turning.
It’s a little Monster, who again is having trouble sleeping through the night in his big boy bed in his new room.
This time, he curls into me with hot tears and tells me, “I ‘cared. I ‘cared o’ de bayoum.” (I’m scared of the vacuum.)
I gather him into my arms and soothe his fears, assuring him the vacuum is turned off and tucked away in the closet where it belongs, way downstairs, far from the safety of his bed.
“I lay down Mommy. Mommy, lay doooowwn.”
I can’t resist.
Maybe in the old house I could have rocked him to sleep and returned to our bed. Maybe a few months less pregnant I would have been fine lying with him until he fell asleep and then sneaking away.
But lately, I lie beside him and take his little hand in mine and sleep some of the best sleep I have gotten in a long time.
Monster knows change is coming. He doesn’t understand how much this baby will rock his world, but he knows things won’t be the same
Lately, he says to me, “I no big boy. I da baaabyy. Hold baby, Mommy.”
And in the middle of the night, I do hold my baby.
As the blue-black hints of light eke through the blinds in his room and I can barely make out his little face, I remind myself that he is a toddler, sure, but he’s still my baby.
I run my fingers through his soft curls, and he shifts a little and murmurs, “What you doin’, Momma?” He is fast asleep before I can open my mouth to tell him I am trying to savor every last minute I have with just the two of us.
In a few months, I don’t know that I’ll get to spend the night under the same blanket as my favorite little man. I tear up thinking about him crying in his bed for me, and I can’t peel myself away from a nursing infant to soothe my lonely Monster.
David is much more practical.
“We just need to let him cry it out. He does it one night and then he’s fine.”
When you’re 8 months pregnant, I guess practicality goes out the window (as demonstrated by my recent purchase of $350 in meat off a van).
I cuddle longer, kiss his cheeks more often and care less about bedtimes. And I darn well spend the night with him when he asks me to.
Even in the darkness that clouds his face, I can see everything in his tiny features:
- I see the new baby I held against my chest as David looked on with tears in his eyes, both of us amazed that just moments earlier, this little person was just a belly bump.
- I see my stumbling 1-year-old, so eager to run after the dog that his new-to-walking legs can’t keep up with his energy.
- I see my defiant 2-year-old, hell-bent on letting his Momma know who the boss is.
- I see the beautiful person he is going to grow up to be – strong, passionate and a charmer through and through.
Maybe I’m a crazy pregnant woman whose emotions are getting the better of her. Or maybe I am the practical one, knowing I need to capture every moment I can with my baby … while he’s still my baby.