Lately at night, with the lights out and the city sounds as our white noise; when only Jamie and myself are left awake and she’s done with the re-run of her day and her favorite songs. After all the questions she had for me have been answered she suddenly gets quiet. Usually her back is turned to me (it’s facing her favorite stuffed friends and the pillow) and I know she’s reaching the sleepy point, so I gently encourage her by patting her bum or rubbing her back. I know that usually it’s best if they find a way to fall asleep themselves, but seeing as how I know I’m stuck there anyway, I figure the “damage” is minimal. Plus — this is Jamie! My sweet petite and adorable Jamie. Of course I can’t help myself. 🙂
It’s then when she usually turns toward me and says, “Mommy to hug you”, several times. It’s a question I ask her when I can see she can’t fall asleep or she looks like she needs some form of comfort. I comply because I do want to snuggle up to her too. Jamie has always been very clear about what she wants, when she wants it. She is a little 2-yr old that says what she means, no beating around the bush. I think that’s something that I should reward when I possibly can.
Then she inches closer until her nose touches mine and I can feel her breathing. My eyes are often closed (because I’m really sleepy already too from waiting for her to fall asleep!), but occasionally I keep them open and I just look at her angelic face. It really is angelic (considering I see the opposite of it when she’s not in the mood to be angelic!) and I can’t help but smile. Sometimes, she’ll open her eyes and say, “Mom?” as if she’s checking to see if I’m still awake. She doesn’t stop asking until I respond. When I do, she quiets down and closes her eyes again and she eventually falls asleep. Sometimes the last of the days’ memories come crawling through her mind for one last hurrah, but her sentences are soft and they usually trail off.
It’s at that point when I think about everything that happened during that day. Actually I think about a lot of things and how so much of it has changed for Jamie in the two years she’s been on this planet. More and more I realize that I really am a different parent to Jamie. It’s partly circumstance, partly birth order, and of course mostly it’s her personality and her strengths, but it is different just the same. I feel guilty often that I don’t (can’t?) spend as much time with her as I’d like to, and I didn’t focus on her as much as I did with Sam. But on the other hand, she also amazes me with how much she already knows and comprehends. Maybe it’s a coping skill? She could have picked it up from her sister? I don’t know. I’m glad she is able to keep up though and that’s a relief.
The little firecracker that she is, Jamie makes me go through a roller coaster of emotions on a regular basis and at the end I’m just filled with a lot of wonder… and exhaustion! It’s like we go through this swinging pendulum of extreme feelings, and that’s all new to me! For such a little person, she has a big, very independent and strong personality, and yet at times she is timid and clingy and needs constant reassurance that I’m there. I know it’s all supposed to be normal for a 2-yr old, but she is teaching me a lot. With every child, there’s always something that you learn for the first time.
For all the ups and downs, the changes, and the unpredictable days I’ve had with Jamie in these first two years of her life, the end of our everyday is always a relief. I’ve come to love this last quiet moment the most. It feels like forever before we finally make it to this point (because it also takes forever!), but I’ve come to look forward to it. The pillow talk that happens before it is the special time we have, which I can see us doing even as she gets older and sleeps in her own room. It’s also how I feel we can stay connected and close despite how “at odds” we can be. I like to think of it as our little thing. So now that she’s officially two, my birthday wish is that I hope Jamie won’t ever get tired of asking me to hug her to sleep. I hope she’ll always inch her nose closer to mine as she closes her eyes, because it is one of the best, most heartwarming feelings in the world.
Happy Birthday to my sweet little Jamie-boo. I am so lucky to be your mommy. 🙂