“You’re making a rod for your own back”.
That’s what they say when they ask about my childrens’ bed time routines and learn- shock horror- that my youngest daughter (just shy of 12 months old) is cuddled until she falls asleep. I know, I know, she should be put down ‘drowsy but awake’ and allowed to fall asleep by herself or else, how will she ever learn to fall asleep by herself? What will I do when she’s at university and has to call her mommy because she just can’t fall asleep at night without a cuddle from me?
Well, guess what? I love cuddling my daughter to sleep.
The days in our house are manic. I have a stroppy threenager who is permanently on the brink of an emotional breakdown while the ‘baby’ is now not so much a baby but a newly-walking bundle of energy who spends most of the day plodding around the house wrecking the joint. There’s lots of noise, lots of mess, plenty of tantrums (me and the children) and, except for when that glorious bastard Peter Rabbit bursts on to the screen at 4.45pm, there is rarely a moment of peace.
So this moment of calm where my daughter and I cuddle in a darkened room until she falls asleep is a much welcome and much-needed moment of peaceful bliss. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of moments of joy throughout the days too but this is the only time in the whole day when it’s actually quiet. I get to cuddle her like I did when she was a newborn and just soak in her beauty, her smell and her tinyness. It’s the only time when she isn’t trying to wriggle down from my lap to try once again to destroy her sister’s freshly-built tower or throwing herself to the floor when I politely tell her that no, she can’t stick her fingers in the plug socket.
My older daughter was cuddled to sleep too (you’ve just fainted, right?). I would sit there in the chair next to her cot thinking ‘I should be putting her down. The books say I should be putting her down now’ and stressing out about the fact that a bedtime cuddle seemed to be what she needed.
This time, I just enjoy it. Because this time round I realise just how quickly she is growing up. That in the blink of an eye, she’ll be in a big girl’s bed and too big to snuggle down in my arms like she does now and I’ll look at her like I do my older daughter and think, where’s my baby going? Sometimes it’s my husband’s turn to cuddle her to sleep, sometimes her newly-acquired walking skills have exhausted her so much she falls asleep on her milk and is put straight down to sleep. But sometimes, I just sink into the chair next to her cot and – even though there’s every chance she would fall asleep on her own- just cuddle. Because sometimes mommy needs it even more than she does.
P.s- I can confirm that despite being cuddled to sleep until she was nearly 18 months old, my older daughter is now perfectly capable of falling asleep in her own bed, on her own, without a cuddle from mommy.
P.p.s- she still has cuddles sometimes too.
P.p.p.s- not because she needs it, just because we like cuddling.
P.p.p.p.s- cuddles rule.
#parenting #mumlife #cuddlesrule