Saturday, October 13, 2007

Second Thoughts

Sometimes, as a parent, you do something that throws your child's whole world into disarray, because you know, as the older, wiser person, that it's necessary in the long run even if it's painful in the short. Even if it makes your baby cry and moan and wail and look at you like you're crazy, or mean, or both. Even if it makes you wring your hands and chew your fingernails and pace compulsively. Even if it makes your stomach hurt. Things like, oh, night-weaning, or potty training, or dropping your first child off at preschool for the first time. Or taking your youngest out of the only bed she's known so far and putting her instead in a new room, in a new crib, with her sister sleeping four feet away.

Right about now, of course, I can't help but think, Why in God's name are we doing this?! Are we COMPLETELY INSANE??? Because Genevieve was fine in her porta-crib, in the guest room. Everyone slept fine ("fine" being, of course, a relative term). So on the surface, we do appear insane.

Because last night, although she fell asleep at bedtime after after only some minor tears, she woke up the instant Julia crept in an hour later to be tucked in herself. And then she cried and moaned in a very disturbing manner every 15 minutes for a very long time. Until, after about two hours of this, I felt compelled to sneak in and check on her, to make sure she hadn't, say, thrown her Silky through the slats of the crib and no longer had even that to comfort her in her strange sleeping place.

And what did I see when I tiptoed in? What made me catch my breath and hurry out, only to burst into tears in the hallway? Genevieve was sound asleep, clutching her Silky and her teddy bear, BUT SHE WAS SITTING FULLY UPRIGHT. I know this because I stood not six inches from her, gazing down at her head, and she didn't even know I was there. Her eyes were cast downward toward her lap and her head was bobbing forward. But she was asleep. Sitting up.

People, there is something about babies and distress in the night that just does me in, makes me sick with worry and empathy. Those poor babes! Crying in the dark! Unable to locate their blankies, or wondering where they are, or who knows what. Teething, or sick, or just sad. It kills me. And seeing a little baby sitting straight up in the middle of her crib, but clearly asleep? After listening to her moan and cry out every quarter-hour since bedtime, and realizing it was probably because she couldn't bear to lay herself down, so confused or interested or curious or worried she was about her new environment, but that she was also so uncomfortable sitting up that she didn't know what else to do? Oh, people. So sad.

Eventually she did lie down and go to sleep. I heard her moan and cry a few more times in the night, and I barely slept at all. And this morning? Morning nap? Um, no. She cried in there for 45 minutes and when I went in to rescue her, she was sitting up again, weeping into her bear's face, telling him her troubles. She's so tired she doesn't know what to do with herself.

So why are we doing this? I'll tell you. We want our girls to share a room. We want them to be "sleeping buddies." We want our guest room back, for guests. We want to get Vivi out of the Cold Room before the winter comes. We want to do this before Genevieve grows out of the porta-crib. We know that it will never be easy, initiating the room-share, so there's no sense in waiting. We will all suffer whenever it's done. We need to just jump this hurdle and get over it. We believe that tiny children don't each need their own room. We believe sharing is good for siblings. We don't want to spend the money to decorate a second nursery. We know that eventually, the girls will love being together in the night. All of these reasons.

But why do these transitions have to be so hard?

1 comment:

Grandpa Jim said...

Whats the big deal? Gypsie kids and homeless kids sleep in a different place almost every night!This should be a no brainer!