Somewhere between getting back from a trip to Seattle Children’s Hospital and the hubs throwing his back out and a busy Easter weekend, we had one of THOSE nights. You know…the kind of night where the entire forces of darkness are out to get you, and your own kiddos seem to have turned against you even in their sleep. The kind of night where you wonder if it might just be better if you stayed up instead of trying to redeem even an hour of sleep between bedtime and dawn. The kind of night where for some reason you are the only one that seems to hear the stirrings of the little people sleeping in the room next to yours.
After a full day of play and what seemed to be a blissfully easy and peaceful bedtime routine, I closed the girls’ bedroom door and patted myself on the back for a job well done., It was, after all, only seven thirty, and I had a full night of sleeeeeeeep, glorious sleep ahead of my tired self. Of course, if I had been thinking clearly, I would have felt at least a twinge of foreboding…the girls had, after all, tucked themselves into bed without a fuss and asked to go to sleep. Even my usually tireless two-year-old had sent me out the door with a whispered good night as she fell fast asleep. But instead I marveled at my good fortune…a few hours too early.
By eight thirty the little one was up – hungry and feverish. She had spiked a low grade temp that afternoon, but since we were all fighting colds I had chalked it up to that and nothing more. I gave her some Tylenol. Actually, I forced the Tylenol into her mouth, since she was anything but cooperative and refused any food I tried to offer her as well. Talk about confusing (she is normally my big eater of the two). I rubbed her tummy with peppermint oil to sooth her stomach and then laid her back down. Around nine thirty I decided to go in there with her, since she was calling for me and wanted me to sleep on her floor (precious). After rolling around in her bed restlessly for another hour, the reason for her unsettled activity came to light…in the form of an epic barf-fest. I don’t think she has ever thrown up before…but this definitely made up for any missed time.
Fast forward another hour, and my sweet little one finally cleaned up and quieted down to sleep, right on the floor next to me. Hey, a tired mom will take whatever snuggles she can get, am I right? But, that too was short lived, because my big girl proceeded to wet the bed and the whole cleanup-on-aisle-five process began afresh, this time in hopes of not waking the one sleeping on the floor that Jaylin and I tiptoed over multiple times to get back and forth from her bed to the bathtub and back again.
By midnight thirty I settled Jaylin onto a mat (pretty sure I had NO desire or energy to deal with the soaked sheets until morning) on the floor next to her (thankfully) still-snoozing counterpart and fell into bed myself…and then could not for the life of me fall asleep until HOURS later. The kids of course woke promptly at six thirty. Since I am also 20 weeks pregnant, my caffeine intake is severely limited…so I will let you put together how the rest of that day went. Sans coffee. Yeah. Pretty awesome.
As I lay in bed awake that night, though, I could not help but think about all the other parents out there, having the same night I was having. It has happened to us all at some time or another, and usually when we most desperately need sleep ourselves. We find ourselves torn between feelings of empathy and love for our poor little dearies and feelings of selfishness at the sleep we are losing and the plans that have changed.
To all the moms (and dads, and grammas and poppies, and others that care for little ones) out there fighting the good fight, here’s to you.
Here’s to your calm in the face of a toddler storm.
Here’s to your perseverance despite potty training disasters.
Here’s to your patience with late-night whiners.
Here’s to your love winning out over selfishness.
Here’s to your commitment to train up your kids even amid exhaustion that never really goes away.
Here’s to the example you set day in and day out (because yes, they ARE always watching).
Here’s to the sacrifice you make every time you choose to serve your kids and delay something for yourself.
I salute you. If I had a banner, I would wave it. If I had a million dollars, I would share it with you, because I know what a tough and thankless job parenting often is…especially when encouragement seems elusive and successes seem to always be shadowed by failures.
You matter, and every late night and haggard morning is worth it. Here’s to you.