My youngest son is a troubled night-time sleeper. He wakes with night terrors, nightmares, can’t stand it if his nose is even the littlest bit stuffy, yells out in his sleep. I don’t think there have been two nights strung together in the almost 3.5 years he has been on this Earth where he has slept through the night.
Yes, this is challenging. I sometimes huff and say things under my breath as I jolt out of bed at midnight, 1, 3, and 4 am and walk the 10 steps to his room. Most nights it is only one or two wake ups. Other nights it is three or four. The hardest part is the night terrors and nightmares. They are both so heartbreaking to comfort him through. Usually if I can just touch him and bring him close to me so I can talk quietly into his ear his whole body relaxes again. But, when he is having a night terror that is practically impossible for at least a minute or two. When I come into his room he is visibly terrified and has no idea where he is or who is in his room. If I can’t find a way to snap him out of it he turns hysterical and practically hyper-ventilates. It is an exhausting reality.
The other night after the house was quiet and we were all asleep. C woke up visibly shaken but aware it was me in his room (so a nightmare not a night terror). I sat on his bed and he climbed on my lap. This was a rare moment. He is getting so grown up, he doesn’t fit very well on my lap any more and really doesn’t like me sitting on his bed either. He wrapped his legs around to my back, one arm around my neck and laid his head on my chest sucking his thumb.
I gently rocked him and almost instantly felt his perfectly warm, soft, sweet body going limp in my arms. I could hear my husband deeply breathing in our room (he woke up with me when C woke up but was able to fall back asleep), it was quiet down the hall in L’s room and C’s sleep breaths were gently deepening too. I was the only one awake.
Normally I am intently focused on leaving C’s room as quickly as possible. My focus is, get him settled down, let him fall asleep on his own, keep my involvement to a minimum. But, in this moment I stayed sitting on his bed, allowing him the safety of falling asleep with me holding him. He was so warm, so trusting, it instantly took me back to all those night-time feedings, nursing in the dark quiet of the night, focused on all his soft and familiar sounds.
I stayed in his room until I started nodding off and my leg was numb. I drank in those minutes holding C and knowing that in this moment being awake, loving him, was what we both needed. I totally know this could very well be the last time he falls asleep in my arms like this and I am so thankful I was able to hold on to this moment as long as I wanted to.