I never bothered with those milestone cards (I’m inherently lazy), but if I had, I would be triumphantly rifling through the pack now to select the most anticipated of all, the card of cards: I slept through the night for the first time. And would I be balancing it gently on my sleeping infant, as above? Or giving it to my 10 month old to wave about in her chubby little fist while I took a pic, a bit embarrassed it’s so late but proud nonetheless? No. If I was going to be honest about it, I’d be bribing my three and a half year old to hold it and do a fake smile while I Instagrammed her. Because it’s not my baby who stayed in her room all night until 7:30 in the morning, but my big girl. I’m being dramatic, of course – she’s ‘slept through the night’ many times but it always comes in waves and what I’m beginning to realise is, it’s a phase. Not the disturbed nights, the nights when she’s in our bed by 11pm, but the sleeping through the night – that’s the phase part, the part that won’t last and will pass like it never even happened at all.
With a baby who sleeps all night, every night, and a small child who doesn’t, there comes a time when you just have to make like Elsa and let it go. I think I resigned myself to this the night we didn’t go to her when she called, and she told me later she thought we were lost in space (thanks Charlie and Lola). It broke my heart a little bit. When Dory is ready and she doesn’t need that extra assurance from us at 3am, she’ll let us know. And she did, that one night two days ago – she hasn’t done it since, but it gives me hope. Completely immune to bribery of any kind (she’ll do things when she wants to and not before, as I realised with potty training when she refused to dignify my offer of stickers with a response), the poor child was at any rate groaning under the weight of presents from the fairy when she made it through the night. Pound shop’s finest: there was so much plastic tat I fear she realised she probably had it all now and there wasn’t much point in repeating her success.
And as much as the hourly requests for cuddles, the kicks in the back and the sharing the pillow really annoy and exhaust me, there is the occasional time when I’ll lay awake and look at her in the silence of the night and I already miss it.