i didn't expect

I stood in his doorway from 3:00 a.m. until 3:45 a.m. With patience. Kindness. The best combination of soft and firm, mentally and physically (I’ve been working out y’all). Feeling inspired. Proud, even.

That last one I did expect, but not so early in this little experiment, and I didn’t feel it for the reasons I thought I would. Riley actually woke up at 2:05 this morning. Frustrated because he was alone, and probably a little afraid. And a lot of stubborn. He didn’t want to go back to sleep without one of us. Yes, he knows he can do it when it isn’t the middle of the night. When you’re in the thick of things though, you process things differently. This morning he refused to even try to go to sleep without me there, even though we’ve discussed it for days and more days and during the day he’s excited to try it. Probably because we gave him a gold doubloon that he can keep if he goes back to sleep without us, and earn a new toy if he still has it in the morning.

There was some back-and-forth reassuring talk between us through his monitor before he got upset enough to climb out of his bed and come into our room at 2:30. The typical bathroom trip and drink of water requests were made and allowed. I assured him he had his stuffies to comfort him and get back to sleep, and even his loofah (he uses it to tickle his arm). I tucked him in repeatedly. He assured me that he wasn’t getting back to sleep without me tickling his arm. He didn’t care about losing his gold doubloon. We were both very convincing to ourselves, but not each other. It was a fight of which one of us was more stubborn than the other that resulted in a compromise. I stood there in his doorway instead of sitting on his bed or the “green chair” rocker as we’ve done in the past. I’m slowly inching further away each night. Eventually I’ll stand outside his door where he can’t see me but he can hear me. Then go to my own room where if I need to I can let him hear my voice through his monitor. Maybe by then I’ll have purchased this book to give ourselves a giggle. But for now, I’m cool, calm, collected. And happy.

So yes. I’m standing in his doorway. Admiring how tan I looked in the dimmed light of his lamp and wondering why all light can’t be this forgiving. Thinking how this is an excellent opportunity to practice better posture now that I’m strengthening the rest of me. Knowing that there’s no way I’m geting back to sleep before 5am and being at peace with that. Even smiling about it. I’m not even bothered by the fact that I’m standing in the doorway of this not-so-tiny cuddly creature who’s used me as his lovey for his entire life. In fact, I’m happy that I can talk to him about what we’re doing and even in the early morning hours he understands and talks to me about it too.

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And then I thought: Who is this person standing in this kid’s doorway? This mom!?
We have so many ideas of who we are and what we’ll do in certain situations, but until you’re there? It’s usually a best-guess scenario. You have expectations, sure. But everyone knows expectations are only that. If one little thing happens differently than you thought it would, enter the butterfly effect. Chaos theory. Change one tiny thing and the outcome can be drastically different. I didn’t expect to be standing in the doorway of my toddler’s room for 45 minutes (a very long time to be standing still in wee morning hours) waiting for him to go to sleep and feel happy while doing so. But there I was doing it while also mentally compiling a list of things I never expected, or doubted would happen. And feeling pride in recognizing that because of those things, even the negative ones, I am who I am. I’ve learned more patience and flexibility and forgiveness because of these things. Here is my list of unexpecteds that kept running through my mind as I stood there waiting for this adorable boy’s eyes to stay closed long enough to sneak away:

  • becoming a mom
  • not documenting my pregnancy in the beginning because I was terrified of something happening to my baby and having too many reminders of him that might break me if he didn’t make it
  • giving birth without any drugs
  • feeling so simultaneously connected and lonely as a new mom
  • difficulties with friendships after becoming a mom
  • the “mama bear” mentality I’ve had since learning I was pregnant
  • the physical and mental toll pregnancy has taken on my body
  • the strength I’ve found despite those tolls - in myself and from loved ones
Apparently my mind works in overdrive when I’m in the shower or when I’m awake before most of the rest of the world.
I’ve started probably seventeen blog posts trying to talk about these things and more, but haven’t felt like I’ve gotten out what I wanted to say. Now that we’re “sleep training,” and I’m one of those people who’s wide awake the second I’m awakened in the middle of the night, it looks like I’ll have more opportunities to write about these things. That’s something I’ll look forward to during this process. And you know what? I didn’t expect that either. 
If you’d like to check in every so often and read about my stories and even share your own, I’d love that. And now, good Monday to you all.

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