I gave birth to my final baby at age 35. My other two children were six and eight when she was born so she was stuck with a working mother by day and a mother to two busy school-aged children afternoons, evenings, and weekends. She spent much of her baby years in her car seat or stroller attending sporting events, school concerts and plays, and all of the various extra-curricular activities and lessons of her older sisters. She was passed from lap to lap, moved from car seat to high chair to swing, all in an attempt to keep her happy and calm while we got through our days.
Because of our busy days, I developed a preference for the nights. With the other two babies, I would enter the nighttime hours with dread. How many times would she wake up? How many hours of uninterrupted sleep will I get? How tired will I be at work tomorrow? I would drag my exhausted body from bed every time she cried mumbling prayers (mixed with curse words) that she would go back to sleep quickly and without fuss. With this third baby, however, this was not the case.
The night hours were our time. After putting the older girls to bed I would snuggle in front of the TV with my little baby feeding her and soothing her to sleep. I would finish my day caressing her soft hair, kissing her sweet face, and listening to her soft breathing on my neck. Once she wiggled awake again we would go to her room and have some time together as I cleaned her up and put her in pajamas. I would murmur silly nothings to her, nuzzle her neck, tickle her belly to make her smile. I would cover her soft skin with soothing lotion and make sure she was clean and dry and comfortable. (I used diapering products from The Honest Company with this baby falling in love with their aroma and quality. Check out some of their great products here!) We would settle into the rocking chair in her room and I would breathe in her clean delicious smell as she began to eat again and eventually fall asleep.
Most nights, she woke at least once sometimes twice more before dawn. I would happily wander into her darkened room, gather her up in my arms again and settle in for some bonus baby time. Despite the darkness, I could see her bright eyes staring into mine and I always felt as if she was reading my mind. Even at this young age I believed she somehow knew that she was my last baby and therefore held a very special place in my heart. She knew that I didn’t mind the interrupted sleep. She sensed that this was our time.
Fast forward five years and my littlest child still uses the night hours to get in her “mommy” time. She insists on settling in for the night in my bed next to me and I move her to her own once she’s asleep. She still wakes once a night, at least four times a week, and sneaks back into my bed. She never attempts to get in on my husband’s side–it’s always mine. She’s perfected a way of getting in without waking me although I do wake eventually to find her curled in, breathing gently on my neck. She knows I’ll never kick her out. She knows that this is our time.