For several minutes I don’t know what’s happening. Does she want to nurse? What time is it anyway?
A little nose touches mine.
“Nose. Nose. Nose.” I hear in her sweet baby voice.
I open my eyes to rub noses and she says “A-boo. A-boo” once more. A giggle surfaces. She wants to play peek-a-boo. I can’t help myself. I close my eyes and open them fast.
We continue to play for a few moments. She asks “Daddy? RoRo?” (Her name for Ronin.) “They’re in Ronin’s room,” I respond. She quickly slips toward the end of the bed and stops to look at me. I say “You can go see them” and she toddles off and sweetly says “Bye. Bye.”
My eyes close as I listen to her tiny footsteps down the hall. A minute later another voice says “Daddy! Ellie’s here!” with such joy and enthusiasm it makes me smile.
Sleep begins to overtake me. It’s rare that a small person (or two) is not next to me. So I take advantage of the moment.
Minutes go by, maybe hours. Ronin climbs into bed. “Hi Mama. I need a cover.” He slips beneath the comforter just long enough for a snuggle as another tiny figure climbs back into bed. “Mil Mil” she says. I know she wants a moment to nurse, a little top off before she runs off again to play with her older brother.
The scene repeats a couple more times as I drift in and out of sleep. It’s the weekend.
John appears and gets into bed. “How did he sleep?” I ask. “Fine as long as I’m there.” It’s a question and answer too often repeated, interspersed with days of “Fine after he had the meltdown.”
We didn’t expect or anticipate we’d bed-share but it seemed the right thing to do. Ronin and his shy & anxious being has continued to require it well beyond what we imagined. But his true night terrors and fears hold us close.
Ellie is still nursing at 17 months and the nights are much easier with her right by my side. It’s good. It works.
And I’d hate to miss my morning game of peek-a-boo.
A giant smile appears on her face.
And the game continues.
Now if I could just find the energy to get out of bed.