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Missing Out on the “Lasts”

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When it comes to our children, we pay so much attention to their “Firsts”. First step. First word. First visit to the dentist. First day of school. First loose tooth. But how often do we think about our child’s “lasts”. Last time we watched them crawl.  Last time we changed a diaper. Last nap. Last time in the stroller, high chair or car seat.  Last lost tooth.  All those lasts that come and go and we miss them because we don’t even know we are going through a “last” or we are too busy focusing on what comes next.

Sometimes when you are going through a tough season you can only see the end game: “if we can just get them potty trained”, “if we can just get them sleeping through the night”, “If we can just get them to ride a bike without training wheels”. And while we are so focused on the end result, are we are missing out on the moments we are living in…right now?

Recently, my four-year old son has decided that he needs one us to lay in bed with him until he falls asleep… every night. So, we do it. Either my husband or I. We lay down in his bed for anywhere from 5-15 minutes and watch him as he slowly and peacefully drifts off to sleep.

Rewind 2 years ago. This would not be happening! I would be missing out on this sweet bonding time with my son. Why? Because I viewed bed time as a time to go to sleep. It was MY time once they were in bed. I had so precious little of it that I coveted even 5 extra minutes.

So what changed?  My perspective.

After 6 exhausting months of living with a newborn, who never slept more than 20 minutes at a time, I was a walking zombie.  Until, that is, I learned about “sleep training”. Once I figured that out, there was no one who could convince me having my kid in bed was a good idea. And at that time, I believe it was the best thing for my family. It saved my sanity.

But things change. I changed. As the kids get older, I find I’m more relaxed about most things. Even open to hearing other’s perspectives on touchy parenting subjects. One of the most enlightening conversations I had was about letting your child sleep in your bed.  One friend was complaining that her 18 month old son was still sleeping in her bed. My other friend replied “Oh, I really don’t mind when my kids come into my bed in the night. Sure, I don’t get a very good night sleep because they are kicking and tossing and turning sideways.  But I think it’s so sweet they still need me. I mean, they aren’t going to be sleeping in my bed when they are 14”. Wow. I never really thought of it that way.

My mom always says she enjoyed each stage of our childhood. Because everyone is wonderful and new and different and then it was over before she knew it.

Ask a parent of a teenager when the last time their child crawled into their bed or snuggled with them on the couch. My kids are only 7 and 4 and yet I’ve already gone through so many lasts without even knowing it. Some because up until recently, there was always a tiny possibility in my mind that we might have a third child. So I didn’t really need to pay attention to the lasts. But now that door is shut, I’m paying attention. I want to enjoy each stage that they go through because one day it will be the “last” and I won’t even know I missed it.

Until I write again…

x Shay

 

 

 

3 AM

Well hello 3am, how not nice it is to be awake with you. Haha. Just kidding. Well. Not really.

There used to be a time in my life when 3am was the end of a day. Don’t mistake me for one of the heroic people who work shift work. No I’m taking about being 20 something and rolling in from from a night out with the girls at 3am. Downing what tastes like the BEST fast food burger you have ever eaten (because for some reason after a night out with your BFFs and one or too many cocktails a greasy fast food burger tastes sooooo good). 3am is just the time where your head hits that pillow and your exhausted feet finally get a reprieve from those too tall boots and all that dancing.

Fast forward to my 30 something years and 3am meant waking up, for likely the 2nd or 3rd time in the night, to the not so soothing sounds of a demanding child. Groggily making my way down the dark hall in hopes that I would be able to remain half asleep while I quickly diapered and could get back to bed with, at best, a full hour before I had to do it all over again.

Now, as I approach my 40s GULP (can you believe I’m going to be 40 in less than 48 hours??? Me neither. Still in denial), being awake at 3am means some THING has woken me up. A bad dream. Having to pee. A sudden fear that I’ve left a window open. My husband’s phone repeatedly making annoying bird like sounds because he forgot to turn it to vibrate. Or all of the above in tonight’s case. So here I am. Awake. At 3 freaking am. Having first been awoken and then annoyed that my husband left his phone on. But the being relived since I was having a bad dream. But then realizing that I have to pee and wondering “should I try to go back to sleep? That may mean that I just wake up in an hour when I REALLY have to pee. If I lay here all I can do is think about how much I have to pee. But if I get up now then I will be awake and won’t be able to go back to sleep because once I’m up my mind starts going crazy.” And THEN it hits me. “Did I remember to close the window last night? If I didn’t close the window then I couldn’t have set the alarm. Someone could break in. ANd my heat is on meaning the furnace is working like overtime because I’ve got an open window letting out all the warm air and I’m wasting money.” Good grief. At this point I might as well get up. Go pee and shut the window.

So off I go. I pee. Check the window. And now I’m wide awake. AND In less than 3 hours my bed will be invaded by two short people bounding with energy and demands (“Get up Mommy! Make us breakfast. Let’s play Lego. Can you make me a Rainbow Loom bracelet? What are we doing today?”). All the while my brain is doing it’s very best to shut out the sounds of my new ‘alarm clocks’ because inside my body is screaming “it’s too early. Go to sleep. Don’t you know I was up at 3am? Leave me alone. Aren’t you old enough to fend for yourself?”

Hmmm. That gives me an idea. Maybe I’ll sneak into the spare bed. I could hide out there. I can write a blog. Read a book – that should hopefully settle my mind and get me sleepy. AND with any luck the kids will be satisfied only waking up my husband at the crack or dawn and I can squeeze in a few more hours or shut-eye before anyone realizes I’m M.I.A. Now that sounds like a plan!!

Of course, I do know it’s very likely that my internal alarm clock will go off regardless and I’ll be wide awake once I hear the stomping, laughter and sounds of my daughter singing “Let it Go” at the top of her lungs for the zillionth time.

Sigh. 3 AM. Let’s not do this again soon.

Until I write again…

x Shay

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