Ain’t it funny how time slips away?

Lilith has been sleeping through the night for about two weeks now. Not that crappy “five hour stretch of sleep” definition but really and truly going to bed and not waking until she’s up for the day. Or at least waking only to roll over or half blindly grab her blankie in the middle of the night. In other words – not needing the boob.

I did nothing to encourage this. Around this age with Sabine was when we started trying to cut down on night nursing sessions. She was killing me. We were up 8+ times per night and I was seeing visions of Wendigo and shit on my drive to work, scared I’d wreck my car. That last part is only sort of a joke. So we turned to The No Cry Sleep Solution and, bless Elizabeth Pantley’s heart, we were all sleeping much better in a few weeks (with no crying).

This time around I was rather apathetic to night weaning. I’m not sure why. Maybe it was that I was already accustomed to less sleep (let’s face it – even when your child is sleeping through the night, you’re still getting WAY less sleep than you did pre-kids). Maybe it was that Lil went back to sleep relatively quickly in the night whereas Sabine would throw all out parties at 1am. Maybe it was that we’d jumped into bedsharing enthusiastically from the beginning this time instead of approaching it reactively when I could no longer stand dragging myself out of bed at night to nurse an unhappy baby. Whatever it was, I wasn’t really interested in changing our routine.

Then Lilith didn’t wake up one night. And I thought, “Huh. I hope she’s not sick.” Then she didn’t wake up the next night. And I thought “Wow. So that’s what sleep feels like.” And it was good. For a few days I relished it. I could sleep with my shirt fully on! No one was touching me all night! No baby latching onto my armpit or my side boob accidentally!

Then I sat awake in my bed at 3am one morning thinking, “WTH kid? I am awake and you are not and I’d really like to snuggle you, yet you keep pushing me away, and this is utter BULLSHIT.”

I used to hear people say, “I actually don’t mind night nursing sessions. It’s such a great bonding time!” And I’d want to punch them in the face. Now I sort of get it. If this sticks … IF this sticks … that’s it. We’re done. I will never spend a few quiet alone minutes in the middle of the night nursing my half-asleep baby. Eyes rolling back in a milk coma. Warm and heavy.  I will never again know the ease of putting a baby back to bed by simply unlatching my tank and rubbing the hair out of her face. I face night weaning this time, not victorious, but saddened.

Don’t get me wrong – I love me some sleep. And I’m grateful that my daughter figured this whole sleep thing out by herself, on her own schedule. But I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me feel a little less needed. A little less like the mom the baby. And a little put out that time moves so quickly.

So long as it’s not Celebrity Rehab 2031.

Chances are, at some point, my name is going to come up in a therapy session initiated by one, or both, of my kids. Maybe that sounds grim, but that’s how I see it. Let me back up.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been in therapy. My guesss is that the majority of you are flashing me your armpit right now. Therapy is the new normal, right? Odds are that, eventually, all of us are going to make a decision that isn’t right. That doesn’t mean our kids are going to be trudging along to therapy 20 years down the road moaning, “Whyyyyyy, why, WHY!? WHY didn’t she let me take my blankie to preschool?!?!” It just means that we’re human. Like our kids. And like our kids, we’re going to try things that don’t work out perfectly. And then, like us, they may find themselves sitting in front of a sounding board who says, “How is your relationship with your mother?” and Blankie Gate is brought to the forefront for them to process.

But it’s too easy to get hung up in “If I do X, Y will happen” or “If I do A in 10 years she might not understand and think B”. All we can do is make decisions in the here and now that we feel are best for our kids, ourselves, and our families as a whole.

My relationship theory has always been this: when one person is unhappy in the relationship, you try something different. This doesn’t mean you bail. This means you make a calculated adjustment, and then maybe some more adjustments, until everyone in the relationship is again happy. There’s a saying that goes, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” and that’s very true. But it’s equally true for everyone else in the relationship. So where does that leave us?

Decisions. If your child sleeps in a crib and you’re all happy – win. If your child sleeps in a bed with you and you’re all happy – win. If you never breastfed your child and you’re all happy – win. If you’re still nursing your 3 year old and you’re all happy – win. If you stay at home with your child and you’re all happy – win. If you work outside of the home and you’re all happy – win. If your child has a mommy and daddy, or two mommies, or two daddies, or just one mommy or just one daddy or if your child is raised by wolves (Ok, maybe not that one), if you’re all happy – win. You get the point.

Looking back, I assure you that you’ll never regret the decisions made out of love and in the best interest of your child & your family as a whole. Whatever those decisions may be. I have made decisions for my family that are not wildly popular or mainstream. But we’re happy. And they were the right choices for US. I have made other decisions that didn’t quite work out the way as planned but, you know what? We’re still happy. It’s OK. I’m going to fuck it up sometimes. YOU’RE going to fuck it up sometimes. Remember when I blogged a while back about letting go of the idea of being a perfect mom? This is part of it. I am not perfect. My kids are not perfect. My husband is not perfect. But we’re all doing this family thing the best way we know how. We’re all full of love. We’re learning together. And that’s really all you can ask.