Friday, May 24, 2013

space for what matters.

Egg-Beater caught up with a 5 hour nap later that afternoon.
Lucky him.

When Jasper was born, he had colic and only wanted to sleep in his car seat with the visor down. Three months later, he was amenable to a rocking basinet that propped him upright a bit and snuggled him on either side. There he slept until he was over the weight limit and capable of crawling out.

We started with the crib up high and then down low when he became curious and mobile. Last Christmas it converted to a toddler bed and he could get in and out on his own. Now he’s inherited my goddaughter's IKEA bed. He sleeps a floor above us at the new house and loves it.

You might call this the opposite of attachment parenting. Until last night, I’d never slept in bed with Jasper and I only sleep in the same room with him when we're traveling. Sure, he’s fallen asleep on my chest a bazillion times before being mysteriously transported to his own bed, but we never wake up together at home. While bed sharing works great for many people (and I admit – I’m impressed by their hospitality), it’s not our thing.

Matt and I both sleep like crime scene chalk outlines and are serious about our zzzs. As our house filled with Jasper’s things, we agreed that we wanted a time and a space that could be just ours. And so our whispers before bed are often about Jasper, but not with him. In the morning, he pitter patters in and says, “Up, please!” for a few moments of play before the day begins. But the in between is spent happily apart.

We are grateful for a little boy who entertains himself in the early hours – reading books to himself, cuddling with his blanket, and singing songs before we come to get him. It seems we both enjoy our personal space and are glad to see each other at dawn.

We plan to take Jasper on his first canoe and camping trip this summer and have both wondered about what life in a tent will be like. And then this happened the other day and I made an exception to the rule. Jasper and I are up north with my family this weekend while Matt works a big tournament. This little toddler seems older all the time – remembering what you said yesterday and last week, helping you pack, walking down the steps and sidewalk all by himself, and then waiting patiently by the car door -  “Adventure, Mommy! See lake!”

I know I’m nostalgic and sentimental because of all these changes, but it’s also because I just signed his first field trip form. He’ll be going to the zoo with other toddlers from daycare next month. Someone will drive him all the way to Eagan and figure out that monkeys terrify him while bears do not. They will feed him lunch and make sure he doesn’t climb in a van with strangers.

It’s just a signature and it’s just a field trip.

But suddenly, I am in the same demographic as the mothers of these fourth grade boys who woke up, rode a bus, and went looking for fossils.  Suddenly, I can begin to imagine their pain and despair – depths I couldn't know last week or last year.

Jasper was thrilled to crawl up into bed with me. He waved goodbye to the air mattress on the floor and together we made a nest to ensure his altitude. And then we cuddled and squirmed all night long. He would sit up every time he heard the trains go by, his pointer finger to his ear until it passed. Whenever I woke up, his collick or his smelly socks were tickling my face, and, by morning his head cold had become my head cold.

But none of that mattered when he looked at me through his eye boogers and his smile grew wide. “Mommy’s bed! Jasper too! Oh, Mommy.” He threw his arms around me and we cuddled a little longer.  Two aching bodies still figuring this thing out and making space for what matters.

1 comment:

val said...

Oh my gosh, this reminded me of being in the middle of my own parents' bed.

I loved that, no place felt safer than right there in the middle.

We had kids in the bed for so many years (kicking us in the kidneys, hogging the covers) I never even gave a thought to a time when we would not.

Well, we haven't had anyone coming to our bed for a couple years now.

No regrets. xo. love, Val