You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you’ll find, you get what you need.
(Disclaimer: this is not a post about the Rolling Stones, but now I kinda wish it was.)
The last few nights we’ve been having issues with our oldest, Sienna. Sienna has always been (and really still is) a great sleeper; 10-12 hours at night and at least an hour and a half during the day. We’ve had weird issues with her (nightmares, sleep walking) but we’re pretty sure these stem from emotional and spiritual upheavals rather than a problem with her actual sleep. But the last four nights in a row she’s woken us up at least twice in the middle of the night.
It wouldn’t be that bad if she was waking us up for a legitimate reason like being afraid or being sick. But she just wakes me (and the baby) up and says, “I don’t want to sleep anymore. Can I go watch a movie or color in the living room?”
It’s really strange and frustrating, but she’s generally been pretty good about going back to sleep. Last night, however, she woke up at 4 am. The Ogre put her back to bed. Then she woke up at 5 am. I put her back to bed. Then she came back into the room at 5:22 right after I had gotten the cranky baby back to sleep, and promptly woke me (and him) up again. The first two times she woke up she said she just didn’t want to sleep. This time, I didn’t even wait for an excuse. I yelled (in a whisper) that this was inexcusable and she was NOT ALLOWED to get out of bed again, EVER! Then I rolled out of bed and grabbed her elbow (not gently) and marched her back to her bedroom, where I let her climb in bed herself and refused to even light her candle for her. I was mad. And mean.
After that, I laid awake in bed for about an hour. The baby went back to sleep fairly easily, but I didn’t. I kept imagining my girl on the other side of that door, feeling all alone in the big, black night without even the comfort of her mother’s love on her side. I thought back to my own childhood and remembered nights when my parents were tired of me waking up (I was not a good sleeper) and finally sent me back to bed alone. I remember laying in the dark, crying, not really afraid but just so alone. And I knew that what I should do is get up and go to her room and sit beside her and tell her that I was sorry, and that I loved her, and that it was okay that she woke me up. But I didn’t, because I didn’t want to wake the baby up, and I didn’t want to wake up Charlotte, who shares a room with Sienna. Even though I knew, with that mystical Mommy sixth sense, that Sienna’s needs at that moment were greater than the needs of my other children, still I let her lie there alone in what must have seemed a very unfriendly black room.
I finally fell into an uneasy sleep around 6:30, after having shut off the alarm twice, only to be awoken about ten minutes later by Sienna throwing up on me.
Sometimes the universe is so perfectly just.