‘Would you kick him out of bed for eating crackers?’

Days 55 to 79 – lay-downs and living in the moment

I did something a couple of days ago that I never had time to do when I was a full-time working mum.

I went for a mid-day nap WITH my toddler son.

We’ve had a bit of a week of it, to be honest, with a cold leading to an asthma flare-up, cough-disturbed nights and the resulting blurry days. Frankly, we were both shattered. So, with Daddy out at work, we hit the sack at lunchtime for a snooze that lasted three-and-a-half hours…and got me thinking…

‘On paper’, let’s face it, a toddler’s not really the kind of bedmate you’d normally choose

I’m chuckling to myself as I recall the girlie pre-baby conversations I used to have with friends, peppered with the likes of George Clooney and Richard Gere (neither of whom, as it happens, I would chuck out of bed for eating crackers – but don’t tell the hubby!).

In true toddler form, the first half-hour of our nap wasn’t in any way as indulgent or blissful as it might at first sound.

It consisted of air-goal kicks in all directions, thumb sucking with the kind of pressure which I imagine would keep a light aircraft off the ground – and frequent, decibel-defying farts (all from George, I hasten to add, not me).

If my other half behaved like that in bed, he’d be banished to the guest room or the settee FOR LIFE.

Yet inflicted by my son, these annoyances somehow managed to add up to one of my loveliest life moments ever (you might need to bear with me a bit on this one, as the last vestiges of ‘mummy brain’ have left my vision with a residual rose-tinted tinge. Apologies to any readers who therefore find this post a bit ‘airy fairy’, but I need to get it out of my system and am hoping some of you might relate).

Living in those ‘lay down’ moments

When George did eventually settle, we sailed away together, cuddled up, into our own, little Land of Nod. Restless, insatiable time seemed to stop just for a brief while and we enjoyed a bit of all-too-fleeting mum-and-lad tender togetherness.

In fact, it’s these interludes I think I’ll remember most about the time I’ve taken out of full-time work to be with my boy.

Ironic, really, that they were the things I probably rushed the most when I was frantically trying to balance a pressurised full-time job with being a mum. Bedtimes became a conveyor belt of milk-while-watching-In-the-Night-Garden, jammies, inhaler, kiss, story, bed. I got restless and frustrated if this process took us a minute past our target time. Even more frustrated if our first attempt at settling down for the night didn’t work and George came back for another and another cuddle before committing head to pillow.

Precious interludes

Yet how priceless they are now. Every night I get ‘Mummy lay down’ after reading George his story. Squeezed into the tiny space, we drift together on his cotbed boat, in the dark, for a few minutes.

During these minutes, the world doesn’t exist, and neither do the trivial worries and juggling that characterise everyday life. It’s almost as though I’m carrying him again and all we can hear is the whoosh, whoosh, whoosh of our shared blood supply and the tum, tum, tum of our hearts.

It strikes me that being a parent is sometimes like grabbing onto the passing life rafts we recognise as the things that really matter, drifting with them for a while, before the current of day-to-day reality tugs us back again. How important is it, though, to make time to simply love, and be loved by, our children along the way?

Cartoon of George and I drifting in our own little boat

In our ‘lay-down’ moments, George and I sail away into our very own Land of Nod for a few brief minutes each night

 

George called me back up this evening, as it happens, half-an-hour after putting him to bed. First the door gently opening, the click of the light and then the ‘Muuu-meeee…need cud-dles’. I’m pleased to say that, in defiance of all the sleep training rule books, I heeded the call and we laid down, and we cuddled and we drifted for just a little while longer, until he was safely deposited in the harbour of dreams.

I’m sure we all have those little interludes which stand out and are special amidst the hubbub of daily life. What are yours? If you look back and remember something lovely about bringing up your child, what will it be?

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