It’s just before midnight, and I hear my two and a half year old Jacob stirring. I go into his room and re-settle him, sitting there for a minute as his breathing evens out. And then I tiptoe out of his room, ever so quietly. Crisis averted … or so I think.
No more than two minutes later I hear Jacob stirring again. This time he calls out a plaintive, “Mama, where you are?” I give in to the inevitable. I throw on my pajamas and join him in his room. Occasions like this are why I bought my son a double bed. I find him sitting up, bleary-eyed and confused. I ask him if he missed me, and he nods. Once I’m safely ensconced beside him, and he feels confident that I’m not about to leave him again, he falls back to sleep easily. I fall asleep easily, too.
I night-weaned Jacob some time ago, and I weaned him completely a few weeks. The last day that he breastfed was April 13. I felt good about the transition. I think we’re both ready to move on to other things. Jacob still asked to nurse for the first few days, but he was easily re-directed. Now he asks for a cuddle or a drink of water instead.
Unfortunately, closing down “Mom’s Dairy Bar” didn’t magically stop Jacob from waking up at night. But on this night, as I’m cuddled up with my toddler who is growing before my very eyes, I’m not at all put out. I don’t know how many more of these nights I have. Jacob’s big sister, Hannah, can’t sleep with me anymore. She says she wants to, but after a few minutes she complains that I’m taking up her space. I know that Jacob will reach that point, too.
Plus, I’ll be honest with you. Life with a two and a half year old isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. There are lots of tears and messes in my daily life. The other day Jacob squeezed himself under my neighbour’s fence when I let him out of the stroller on the daily walk home from kindergarten. Thank heavens it was right beside a gate I was able to use to retrieve him. This time at night, when my toddler is peaceful and quiet beside me, feeds my mother-soul. It’s a time when things are simple and I can solve everything just by being there.
Tonight, my baby still needs me. So I cuddle up to him and hold his soft little hand and try to memorize exactly what it feels like to be here, right now.
If you’re inclined, tell me about a moment with your children that you wanted to bottle up and keep forever.