When Evie was a baby, she’d stop breathing sometimes while she slept. She’d never start up again on her own; I had to move her to make her take that next breath. During the day, when she slept, she slept right next to me in a bassinet that I could roll easily around the house. And at night, she slept in my arms, so that any change in her breathing would wake me. She was nine or ten months old before she outgrew it, though it was a couple of months before I realized it. And I suspect that if I hadn’t been sleeping with her, she’d have died from that unexplained phenomenon called SIDS.
Eventually, we set up her crib in our room, so she was still close, but could learn to sleep in her own place. You can guess how that went! Neither one of us particularly cared for that vast gulf between her bed and mine, and up until Saturday night, she still most often fell asleep in my bed before I moved her into her own. I don’t regret the closeness we’ve shared at all!
But there were signs that it was time for us to move along, to let each other go just a little bit, and so, on Saturday, we tidied up her sisters’ room and moved her crib upstairs. She was so excited! All day long, she was bouncing off the walls. But then evening came, and I bathed her and dressed her in my room, and she looked over at the empty corner and said slowly, “Somebody took my crib…”
“We moved it upstairs into your sisters’ room, remember? You get to sleep upstairs tonight!” I said cheerfully, and she smiled tentatively. She chattered till nearly 10 o’clock that night, and got her legs stuck in the crib bars once, before she finally fell asleep.
On Sunday, the girls knew not to talk to her after lights out, and she fell asleep earlier, but when I went up to check on her, she’d gone to sleep sitting up and was slumped over, folded completely in half! Thank goodness I went up there to check on her so early! In the morning, I told the older girls to have a look before they went to bed to make sure she was okay.
On Monday, I rocked her and sang to her as I carried her up, and as we approached her crib, she looked up at me mournfully, and said, “I want to stay home,” which is her way of saying that she doesn’t want to go to bed.
“I know, baby girl,” I said gently, tucking her tenderly into her crib. “I’ll be back to check on you in a little while. You go to sleep.” She rolled onto her side and tucked her hands under her cheeks. “I love you,” I whispered.
“I love you, too, Mama,” she whispered back. She woke up crying once in the night, and one of her sisters soothed her and tucked her back in.
We were so happy to be reunited this morning, it was 45 minutes before we let go of each other.
You don’t think it’s too soon for a sleep over, do you?