As I mentioned in my recent post, Hawkeye now has a “big boy bed” in his room, by which I mean he has a narrow single bed in there.
A veritable luxury for a parent doing bedtime considering the previous sleeping arrangement was an even narrower and significantly shorter cot-bed. Because, you see, one of us still lies down with Hawkeye for bedtime until he falls asleep. Yes, there are numerous parenting books that will tell me this is a grievous sin, but the truth is I don’t care. It’s still the most efficient way to get him to sleep with minimal fuss and tears. And not only was I looking forward to having a bigger bed in which to perch next to him, but I was looking forward to the thicker mattresses.
Until we finished setting up his room and discovered that the best place for the rocking chair was right next to the head of his bed. This gave The Mister ideas. Specifically, he suggested that transition to the big bed might be a good time to try moving further away from Hawkeye at bedtime by sitting next to him in the rocking chair instead of lying down with him, and letting him get used to falling asleep in the bed on his own while still knowing that one of us is nearby. And you know what?
I hate it.
I mean, sure having to do bedtime feels like a chore sometimes. Mostly, I get resentful of the time it takes away from me to have to myself (or, gasp, time to spend with my husband!) But when push comes to shove, I actually really love snuggling up next to him under the warm covers. I like it when he flings his arm around my neck and practically plasters himself to my face like one of those alien larvae from the Predator movies. I might not love the fidgeting and rolling around he does before he settles down, but when he does settle, I love the quiet time between sleep and wakefulness with him, listening to him breathe, feeling his soft skin beneath my hand when I stroke his face.
I know this sort of melancholy nostalgia is a normal part of parenting. Hell, I was aware of it from the time Robin was one year old. I understand the concept. And I know that the whole point of being a grown up is sometimes doing things that you don’t want to do, like gently encourage your wee beastie to develop more independence by depriving yourself of these shared moments. But as I sit in that rocking chair, in the darkness, with my feet propped on his bed while looking at the splatter of stars glowing on the ceiling from his bedbug nightlight projector, I also remind myself that I don’t have to like it.
And it’s not a complete loss. He still crawls into our bed in the middle of the night without fail, so my snuggles are more postponed than cancelled.
Speaking of bedtime, I’m off…. yawn. See y’all tomorrow!