Silver linings are everywhere. Sometimes it takes a little longer to find them, buried under grief or hurt; other times, they appear like a rainbow after a storm, immediately erasing the darkness. As my daughter has continually kicked me in the crotch with her grotesquely early wake-up calls (today? 5:45am), I have decided to look at the sunnier side of life and find that God foresaken silver lining even if it kills me.
You may recall Miss Thang has learned to remove the safety latch from her bedroom door, which allows her to roam free like a wild buffalo on the great plains. This is all well and good. For her. For me? Not so much. She had been trying to boycott nap time too, and with her new found skill of safety latch removal, she had been succeeding. Working from home is swell, but I rely on down time to be productive and, you know, not get fired. While mornings are inevitable chaos, naps are my saving grace. I was ready to throw in the towel, but I have found a way to once again reign dominant over my Mini Me: rocking.
My daughter has never been much of a “rocker.” She has always preferred reading her book, singing her song, and then being left to her own devices (and 36 baby dolls) to fall asleep in the comfort of her own bed. But forced rocking, which sounds like abuse but I assure you it is not (unless you count when she punches me in the nose) ensures that she actually naps, as opposed to stealthily creeping about on the second floor of our house, trying on the shoes in my closet.
Although it’s not the most convenient method as it can take up to 30 minutes to put the wild child to bed, it is in those thirty minutes that I have found my silver lining.
Minutes 1-10: She fidgets in my arms and talks incessantly about current events like the decline of the economy (“I need more money for my purse, Mummy!”), or makes song requests (“Dat bubble bee song! SQUISH!”). We take our deep breaths to prepare our bodies for rest; I close my eyes. She continues to squirm, chat, and sing.
Minutes 11-15: Understanding that eye contact could destroy everything we have accomplished so far, it is imperative to ignore her when she starts addressing me (“Mummy, seepin’? Awake? MORNING TIME!”). Finally, she quiets and her little legs stop kicking. I know we’re on our way.
Minutes 16-20: She pulls a piece of her blankey up to her cheek and nuzzles against it. Her little mouth involuntarily begins suckling like it used to at my breast. The sound makes me smile. I allow one of my eyes to steal a peak at her.
That skin. Those chubby little hands. That perfect little mouth.
I did that. How? Isn’t it a miracle to have created something so awesome? God is good. So was my husband.
Tee hee! Stifling immature laughter, I see it’s almost time.
Minutes 21-25: I call in the closer: faster rocking. Seems contradictory to move her more quickly when the goal was to settle her down in the first place, but I know this kid. When she is on the brink of sleep, rapid movement and a pinch of jostling mimic the car rides that have always been successful in lulling her.
I open my other eye and drink her in.
Her Snuffleupagus eye lashes fall like a curtain over her chocolate brown eyes, her body limp in my arms. Emotions get the best of me, and I silently vow to break the knee caps of the first person who should hurt her.
The best four-year-old on the planet is patiently waiting for me downstairs, entertaining himself with a game of Trouble. I hear the popping of the dice and clink of the game pieces as they move across the board; it’s time to rejoin him for our Best of Five series. I’ll sing Queen’s We Are the Champions if I beat him; he’ll shake my hand and say “Good game!” if he beats me. I should really strive to be more like my son.
Minutes 26-30: The tell-tale sign of deep slumber literally hits me in the face; my daughter’s arm flails upward and connects with my nose. Again, I stifle laughter, and breathe a bit easier because I know not even a freight train could wake her now. The smooth olive complexion and ability to sleep through a tornado are two traits she has inherited from Daddy.
And to think: if she weren’t practicing her independence, I wouldn’t have the chance to be with her like this. There won’t be many more years that she’ll allow me to snuggle and rock her. Sigh.
Placing her in bed, I gift myself one final glance. Pure perfection…
…until she wakes up. Then her feisty little self will continue demanding things and making conversation with anyone who will listen at a rate of 50 words per minute. Those are two traits she has inherited from Mommy.