Last night, in the middle part, Thing 1 started crying. In all her five-year-old-ness, she was longing for some "Girl Time" and a "Girl Show." At 3:00 in the morning. I told her that mama wasn't up for Girl Time. Mama wanted sleep. So she settled for me snuggling in next to her while she fell back to sleep.
As I lay there with my tall, thin little girl curled up next to me, I started remembering the first night home with her when she was a newborn.
It sends chills down my spine to this day.
Do you remember your first night home, with your first baby? Especially if you were alone?
We had come home on that bright June day and I had laid The Baby down in her crib. Brand new crib. Brand new crib set. Coming Home Outfit that was way too big. She looked so incredibly tiny in that huge crib, but I walked away and considered myself a success. I had put The Baby down for her first nap. Ten minutes later, a tiny squawk, and I jumped off the couch and waddled to go and get her.
And so went the day.
Evening descended and The Spouse went to bed. I was left holding this little person, and I had no idea what to do with her. We'd bought all kinds of contraptions... but which one was for the first night home???
I laid her in her crib. She screamed. Holding her out at arms length, I put her in the car seat. I'd seen parents do that before. She screamed. Feeling a little frantic I put her in the portable swing we'd bought and turned it on to it's highest setting: ZOOM. Her head flopped to the side and her body lunged forward. I snatched her out of the still moving swing.
WHAT WAS I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THIS THING????
I walked to the kitchen and considered calling the maternity ward at the hospital. They'd managed to get her to sleep for two nights. Maybe they could tell me what to do. Heck, maybe I could just take her back there for another couple nights. Or months.
Fear clutched at my heart as the clock slowly ticked past midnight and tiredness set in. Why wouldn't she sleep? I'd changed her 10 times. I'd fed her every other minute. She didn't look the least bit drowsy.
I turned on our huge, old garage sale television and put "Pride and Prejudice" in the player. Jane Austen always lulled my off to sleep. Surely a 5 hour BBC version could do the same for a newborn.
Around 4 in the morning, she finally drifted off to sleep. On the hard floor. With my hand under her little head.
Picture me laying next to her. Cold. Uncomfortable. Not daring to move in case it woke her up. Terrified to leave her there. Maybe she would turn over (HA! FIRST TIME MOM ALERT! HA!) and smother. Maybe someone would break down the front door and kidnap her. So I slept fitfully for an hour, until she woke up.
The next night, I called my mother and begged her to come over. I couldn't handle another night. And my Mother has never appeared more beautiful in my eyes than she did that night, like a shining Angel of Salvation come to rescue me from my own ineptitude. In all her seasoned wisdom, she found the solution that saved us: put her in the laundry basket and tilt it up because she has reflux.
And there was peace.
I thought of that last night, as I extracted myself to go back to my own bed. And I hesitated, just the last bit. Time is going so fast. There are so few nights like this left. I was tempted to stay and be cold and uncomfortable, just to stay there with her and smell her curly hair. I was tempted.
But sleep and comfort won. And there was peace.