Something amazing happened today. My two-year-old daughter fell asleep in my arms.
To many, this may not seem all that extraordinary. But my daughter has not fallen asleep with me since she was about 8 weeks old. In the early days she rarely slept at all, and when she became a better sleeper, she opted for the cot or pram over my arms. I used to envy (and still do) the mother’s whose babies so effortlessly fell asleep in their arms.
So this rare event has been the highlight of my day. It lasted only 25 minutes but it was the best 25 minutes of my day, my week and maybe even the past month. You see my daughter fights me on everything. Everything is a battle with her, from changing her nappy in the morning to brushing her teeth at night. She is oppositional by nature and she dictates the terms. She does what she wants despite my best efforts at discipline, pleads or bribes. I have tried every technique in the book and nothing appears to make any difference. She exhausts me with her defiance and strong will.
Today, we weren’t at home for her usual sleep time and she refused to go to sleep in the portacot. She usually sleeps for at least two hours in the day and she starts asking for her bed at about 11am. So I carried her from her cot to the couch and I cuddled her on my chest. Usually a cuddle like this lasts about 3 seconds before she pulls away and wants to start doing something else. But today she snuggled into the crook of my neck and I stroked her hair as I sung a few lullabies. Her eyes were wide open for a while but she seemed to be enjoying it. I kept going. Pretty soon I shut my eyes too and when I did I felt her entire body relax and her breaths become rhythmic and relaxed. And then ….the sweet sounds of little snores. She was out. It was bliss. In those few moments before she succumbed to sleep, she needed me, she stopped fighting me and she allowed me to soothe her.
For 25 minutes we lay chest to chest and I could not have been happier. It was like a meditation and I relished every minute of it. She was snuggled in so tightly that my neck was in rather an awkward position but I dared not move a muscle. The cries of my baby from another room interrupted our meditation. I lingered for a few more minutes with her before disentangling our bodies. She woke when I moved but gave me the most beautiful, generous and loving smile. Bliss.
I am not going to spoil this post with what happened three hours later!