Dear Little N,
Your very tired Mommy is writing to you tonight. We think a few of those terrible teeth are making your mouth hurt a lot, and we also think you are on the cusp of a leap in communication and talking. The pain combined with all the connections trying to happen in your brain make for some stormy, sleepless nights.
Your Daddy and I were talking the other night about how you are almost 15 months old and you have never slept straight through the night. Not once. You’ve had some long stints – 5-6 hour stretches of sleep that have been glorious, but you still have always woken at least once to snuggle and nurse.
It’s hard, sweet girl. Your Mommy and Daddy both looooooove sleep! There have been many many nights where I have cried out to God to knock you out in a dreamless coma because I just didn’t think I could go through another night of round-the clock nursing, involving either torquing my body on one side to nurse you, or draping your radiating-with-heat little body across mine to nurse on the other side. All. Night. Long. So many grumbled huffs and puffs and muttered “LORD-PLEASE-LET-THIS-CHILD-SLEEP!”s.
But I also hope and believe that we are laying a foundation for you to love sleep and to trust in the safety of sleep. Because Mommy and Daddy did not always love sleep. I’m sure Grandma and Grandpa and Ama and Papa could regale you with stories of our midnight wakings, our nightmares, our fears, our “I’m thirsty”‘s and our “can I sleep with you?”‘s.
Your Daddy and I both know that sleep is safe and warm and dark and deep and cozy, often so much so that we struggle to get out of bed in the mornings. =) We want you to know those same things. We also know that babies go through a LOT of changes, especially in their first 2-3 years. A lot of these changes disrupt sleep and can cause pain, confusion, and the feeling of being lost amidst waves of new knowledge and burgeoning independence. And we know that when those things happen, you feel the most safe and reassured with you’re with mommy and/or daddy.
We are willing to wait it out so you don’t have to cry it out.
We both know that soon teething will be over and you will have a full mouth of teeth, that you won’t need the comfort and nutrition of nursing forever, that you will all too soon love sleep just as we do, so much so that we will be hard-pressed to get you out of bed. =)
So, for as long as you need it, whether it’s because your teeth are hurting you, you’ve had a bad dream, your brain won’t turn off, or you just feel far away from us and need the reassurance that we will always come for you, that our snuggles and closeness and Mommy’s willingness to nurse you are still there – Little N, we are and will be here for you.
As you get older and bigger, it becomes more and more apparent to me that out of the thousands of nights you will sleep under our roof before you move out on your own, only a bare handful of those in comparison will be spent cuddled with us, my arm curled around you, smelling your sweet baby hair and listening to you breathe. I promise you, I will do my utmost to cherish each one, even the tough, ‘Lord-we’re-exhausted-let-her-SLEEP!” nights.
Rest well tonight, sweet girl. If you need us in the night, we’re here.