Thursday, June 20, 2013

loving arms, patient voices

I wrote a lengthy post describing our night. But then I realised that you may have had your own long night, and you don't need every detail of how much time we spent awake, separately and together, nursing the baby and comforting the four-year old while trying to remain patient with her and with each other.

Let me just tell you what I learned (again) during the night:
  • Guided imagery, though well-intentioned, is as likely to be met with "Why are you telling me all of this stuff, mom?" as with the desired effect of lulling your child to sleep.
  • If your child is complaining of a sore tummy at 1 a.m., she's probably telling the truth, and will most likely barf by 3 a.m. Until then, she is not likely to settle back to sleep.
  • A hand on my husband's back to remind him of our goal of patience and solidarity, when met with an answering squeeze, is often the only communication that needs to pass between us at times that try our patience.
  • Supporting your child's emotional needs is a million times harder than supporting their physical needs.
  • Supporting your child's emotional needs is worth it, so worth it, even at the price of some lost sleep.
Margot kept us up for a million reasons: she had her MMR vaccine yesterday, her ear was sore at bedtime, and her tummy was upset. She spoke to her Nanny on the phone last night for the first time in almost two weeks (Nanny's been off on a road trip), and said, "I thought you died...but you didn't!" She never mentioned this suspicion to me, but who knows how much quiet stress the thought of losing her beloved Nanny caused her?

 For her, comfort means her mother's arms around her, her father's patient voice. We comforted her. Yes, we're feeling a bit haggard this morning. Margot on the other hand woke up feeling peaceful and secure, knowing that when she cries for us in need, we'll be there.

3 comments:

  1. when my kid are poorly, I just hug them. Love them and let them hang out at my side. Reassurance and being close by are sometimes what is needed. maybe you'll get a nap today? ha.

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  2. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I remember those hard, seemingly endless nights. They rarely happen now but once in a while I get a call in the middle of the night. These days I just slide over and they climb right in beside me. Love to Margot and to you and R as you get through this day.

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  3. Ha, yes, we did share your sleepless night last night (although it was the baby who wans't feeling well, and still doesn't seem to be doing well today). Although I have felt my patience running thin, especially after so many years of sleep deprivation, I think what you said is true - being there for my children with my arms open is very important (to me, anyway!) I want them to feel secure and conforted in the night, especially when sickness, fears and other worries seem so much worse in the dark

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