Three is a pretty perfect number. It is the only number that is the sum of the numbers beneath it. It’s a spectacular number according to mathematicians. But ask a parent – you’d be hard-pressed to find a parent that says that they just love three.
But I do. When you’re three you’re not a baby and you’re not a kid. You can say hilarious things and roll your eyes and laugh at a joke, a real joke, but you can also crawl into your mother’s lap and fall asleep. You believe in the power of mama’s arms around you and you are still my baby. But you pee in a toilet and for the most part you do not leak bodily fluids on my shirt.
I think three is wonderful.
Most of the time.
On Tuesday my baby is three. This baby – the one that was born about five minutes ago.
My Lucy Quinn is a big personality and her birthday reflects that. We have been celebrating for days. She had cake and candles with family. She had her first haircut. She slept in her big girl bed for the first time.
Em got kicked out of my bed into a “big girl” bed and I learned a lesson. I slept in a twin bed with a tornado of elbows and tiny cold feet for years and I won’t make the same mistake again. Lucy’s big girl bed is big – a queen. She thinks she is hot stuff to have a big girl bed and told everyone that would listen that “my mom and I are moving into my own room!” I smiled and said “No, baby, just Lucy is moving into your room” but she was right.
We snuggled. She fell asleep. I slipped out of bed and came downstairs. I spent five or six hours tossing and turning in my bed and checking and double-checking the baby monitor before I went upstairs and got in bed with her. I made a brief pit stop in the chair in her room where I sat and watched her sleep and bawled about how big she is getting. And then I admitted defeat and I climbed in next to her.
Tonight I am going to try… I am going to try and leave her be. But she is still so small, guys. I can’t figure out if she needs me or I need her but I know that I don’t believe in arbitrarily changing things because it “is time.” And yet somehow I decided that I was too tired, we were too tired to stay in my bed together anymore. Nursing all night and waking one another. So, I started telling her “When you are three you can sleep in your bed, right?” And she got all kinds of neat stuff for her bedroom over Christmas. And she helped me put glow in the dark stars on her ceiling yesterday. And then all of a sudden she was in her bed and we were reading a book and we were turning off the light and she was asleep and I was the one that was crying.
She’s not three yet. I have two more days. I just want my baby back.
And that is when she hollered “Mom!” just as I had shown her. “Lu, all you have to do is say “Mom!” into the monitor and I can hear you. See? You’re not alone,” I explained. She was listening. She had tears in her eyes but she wasn’t crying, exactly, when I entered her room last night. I had just finished the sentence above about wanting my baby back when she cried out. “Mom!” I wish it had been a “Mama” or a “Mommmmmmy!” but I am not picky.
This moving into her own bed will be a process for us both. Em slept with me until she was nearly four. And by then I had a boyfriend that quickly became a fiancée and we slept like you do when you’re newly in love, all wrapped up in one another. And then while I was pregnant I went back to sleeping with Fisher because for reasons I don’t quite understand I can’t get enough of that boy when I am pregnant. And then I had Lucy. I have slept tangled up in someone for as long as I can remember now. While I am prone to fantasize about what it might feel like to stretch my legs out and fall asleep without anyone touching me (particularly late at night when I am desperate for sleep and pinned between a snoring dog and a sleeping kid) I am afraid. I am afraid I will be lonely. I am nervous. I am nervous like one might be before a first date. MQD and I haven’t slept alone in a bed since we were married. I came home from our honeymoon pregnant.
I am trying to tune out all of the advice. I should night wean her. I should have had her in her own bed all along. I should just let her cry for a little bit. I am trying to remember the advice that I give so many new moms – It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks but you and the baby and your partner. You guys are the only people that get a vote. Our current sleeping arrangements aren’t working. So, we are trying something new. And just like with a little kid I need to process that just because we are crying a little (or a lot, in my case) doesn’t mean that it isn’t the right thing to do. Change is hard. It’s only been two days.
Bear with me while I blather on about this for the next few weeks. When she is brushing her teeth and setting an alarm clock for school I won’t remember this time if I don’t write it all down. The days are long and the years are short and all that jazz…. it happens so fast. And the promise of a full night’s sleep looms large. We will make it.
Sappy birthday letter to my Lucy Q is coming…. if you’ve not been around long you can catch up starting here….