When you are getting ready to have kids, everyone around you (both those who have and have not had children yet) love to shower you with things — diapers (yay!), blankets, cute outfits your baby will likely wear once or twice before outgrowing them, hand-me-downs (more yay), and, of course, advice.
I got all kinds of advice when I was pregnant with and newly mothering Dax:
- sleep when he sleeps (lol really why is this even advice, it’s so ridiculous)
- cloth diapers are best
- disposable diapers are best
- swaddling always calms babies down
- don’t give him a pacifier
- please give him a pacifier
…and so on and so forth.
Some of it worked for us (shout out, pacifiers). A lot of it didn’t. But we did find that one of the most helpful suggestions was to try and get Dax on an eat-play-sleep schedule. It took a little while but by the end of my maternity leave (when Dax was 8 weeks old) he was sleeping “through the night” (meaning only waking once or twice to nurse and then falling immediately back to sleep) and napping through the day and we were all happy and sane-ish and loving life.
Thing is, since we chose to breastfeed, the schedule we implemented has always involved me. And since he has yet to wean, I’m still a pretty integral part to nap times and bedtime. But since he turned two and started school Tuesdays and Thursdays, we’ve all kind of had to live with a pretty irregular day-to-day schedule. Sometimes I can be there to nurse him, sometimes I can’t. Don’t worry, though — on days I can’t he does great. (Basically, if Mama’s in the house, nursing needs to happen OR ELSE. But if she’s not, it’s cool.)
Mondays are days I usually can’t be there. Dan works from home and I leave the house before Dax wakes up and come home after he has gone to bed. So on my way home from work tonight I swung by my friend’s house and had her touch up my latest dye-job. (Red, guys!) But being that she was rushed and I was also rushed, she sent me home with the dye still in my hair and the cape still around my neck and instructed me to wash it the second I got home.
When I walked through the door I expected to see Dax’s door closed and hear the soothing sounds of the white noise machine telling me he was fast asleep in his crib. But nope. Instead I found him wide awake in his Spider-Man jammies all ready for bed and ALL READY FOR MAMA TO DO BEDTIME, YAY!
Mama with her goopy head of hair dye. Mama who couldn’t do ANYTHING AT ALL, much less snuggle a toddler, until she got in the shower and all the color was washed out of her hair.
I’m sure you can imagine how well that went over. But Dan just told me to go on into the shower and he would handle it. I washed my hair as I heard Dax cry for me in the other room.
When I got out of the shower pushing 10PM, Dan said to me, “So I got Dax to calm down. But only because I told him you would go in to his room once you got done…you know, if you could.”
This frustrated me because it was already so late, and he should be going to school tomorrow so he should be getting up early, and me going into his room would only make him excited to nurse and snuggle and keep him awake longer. My head was telling me, “Just let him get over it. He’ll fall asleep and be fine.”
But my gut said, “Nah. Just see if he’s still awake. What’s one night pushing bedtime back? Even if it IS till 9:30?”
So I went in anyway. And sure enough, there he was, quiet as a mouse but awake and waiting for me. He sat up when he saw me.
So I pulled him out of the crib and we snuggled and nursed and I rubbed his back and smelled his freshly-washed head. And after a little while I looked down at him and said, “Bubs, it’s time for night night. Can we do one more milk then night night?”
I braced myself for a tantrum but instead, he popped up off my chest and said, “One more milk! Night night!” And he nursed one more time, and then said, “Night night!” And laid down on my chest.
Then I placed him in his crib, gave him his TWO pacifiers (wasn’t kidding about that shout out), his plush Spider-Man and plush Elmo, and put his blankie over him. I bent down to kiss him and said, “Night night, Bubs. Love you.”
Then I walked to the door of his room and just as my finger tips were about to reach the handle I heard what made it all worth it: