Some weeks ago I would have never imagined I would write a post under such a title. It took me a great amount of meditation to come over the frustration that giving up putting my little one to bed had thrown me in. Shortly after we weaned, we found out that the only and -at the time- probably best way of helping M to sleep was pacing up and down. Since I was generally tired and carrying weight was not the most recommendable thing for me to do, the daddy took over. For nearly two months he had been putting M to sleep and I really felt frustrated, not only because I missed those snug moments with my girl, but mainly because she had started to reject my presence during bedtime. Every time she said "mama no, mama no", my heart would break into pieces and I ended up feeling rather sad. I know these things do happen but I had never thought it could happen to me and I was determined to find a solution. The daddy was not happy with the situation either and pacing up and down the corridor, even the garden twice or three times a night was not his favorite activity, of course.
Around a month ago I made my mind up and went away for three days, that is three nights and three naps. I knew that could be a totally crazy thing to do but inside I felt a great conviction I would be able to manage it and who knew, we may be able to establish an easier bedtime routine. I nearly forget to mention that during those two months Marina dropped many naps and that, as you can imagine, didn't help at all. She was waking between one and four times a night.
The first night we were away from home, without daddy, it took me nearly two hours to get M to sleep. I know, it is a lot but I was so very happy she had not complained, not rejected me, that two hours felt like ten minutes. Although it was a bit tiring, I was able to put her to sleep three nights and three naps. Besides, she more or less slept all through the night with eventual awakenings to drink or go to the toilet. On the third day, the daddy came to pick us up and we went back home.
With some exceptions, I have been sharing bedtime with M ever since and we are all happier. We both seem to enjoy our newly adopted routine, which includes shadow play, singing lullabies, and caresses. Many nights the last thing M says before falling asleep is her "mamma" in a sweet tone. She seldom awakes during the night and wakes up very refreshed from a good night sleep.
Up to here it may sound like a love story with a happy ending but the best is yet to come.
During the first months of pregnancy I was not only feeling rather sick but also guilty. At the beginning I felt Marina was too young to have to share my/our attention and as time went by my mama-guilt feeling grew towards the other direction, I feared the tiny baby growing in my womb would feel displaced since once the sickness and tiredness was gone I didn't think much about him. All that time I was craving for a feeling of balance. It was not easy to come to terms with the fact that we would have a baby without having planned it at all. However, a good friend of mine kept repeating that a sibling was the most precious present we could give M and in the end she convinced me. I was no longer feeling guilt, which was fine but now I didn't find it easy to connect with my baby. I was so committed to preparing activities for M, being with her, teaching, bringing her places... The surprising thing of it all is that the one who has brought me back to center and helped me connect with this wonderful baby growing inside me is my beloved 20 month old daughter.
Everyday, when we lay in bed singing lullabies and whispering, she asks me to see the baby (read belly) and she caresses it while gently murmuring "baby, baby". Her sweetness and open-heartedness have convinced me it will be fine to have two to take care of. I am so very grateful for her teachings!