How does a two year old bring a grown woman to tears with just a few words? Sometimes the tears come in frustration, sometimes in the struggle to do what I think is best in the long run even though it is the hardest thing to do at the moment. Sometimes the tears I fight are the ones that come when I know he needs to get to bed, I know he is tired and needs to just go to sleep, but he is crying in apparent desperation, screaming "I need mine mommy" at the top of his lungs. When I need to keep walking him back to his room, putting him back to his bed and walk back out again over and over and over and over and over. I think it makes me teary eyed because I can hear the desperation in his voice - the sound of fear and loneliness and it sounds so real. He needs me. I think most kids experience feelings like this. I remember those feelings. Looking back now, it seems so trivial. I was safe and loved and cared for. But, in my tiny and inexperienced mind, there were situations that felt very real and very scary to me. Sometimes lonely. I think it's difficult for some adults to remember those very real fears and feelings of childhood, once logic kicks in and they realize how "silly" those feelings were. Maybe those are the adults who didn't have those experiences or feelings, but I think that there are just some people who remember more clearly than others. I remember clearly. So, when I hear a cry that sounds real, I can feel the worry, the fear, and sometimes the loneliness as if it's in my own heart. This makes it impossible to hold my ground when trying to enforce a rule or stick to a decision. This makes it impossible for me to stay out of my baby's room when he calls "I need mine mommy".
We're still working on bedtime. Or rather, we're working on it again. It seems we just got really lucky for Gavin's first two years with him going to sleep relatively easily on his own around 8:00 every night. I won't say we hadn't had our share of rough nights. In the last two years, we've had to get Gavin back out of bed and rock him for a bit, we've had to put him in the crib and let him cry it out while we did everything we could to drown out the sound of his cries, we've had to take time to snuggle a little longer when extra snuggles were needed, we've had nights where he just wasn't ready for bed yet or seemed to wake up every hour on the hour during the night. But all in all, sleep has not been one of our battles. Until now... Recently, bedtime has been a battle. He's been fighting bedtime like it's the end of the world. It's now 10:30pm and he's been asleep for about 15 minutes... and tonight was a good night. There was one long screaming session before book reading where Cliff tried comforting Gavin and Gavin just screamed that he needed his Mommy. Cliff patiently reminded Gavin that he loved him and wanted to be near him and read to him and eventually Gavin settled in for his bedtime stories. When I went in to kiss him goodnight, he asked me to "sit". When this bedtime issue first started, "sitting" by Gavin's bed was my solution to him wanting me to lay with him. When he always asked me "way whiff me mommy" or sometimes it was "way at me mommy" (he gets his prepositions mixed up), I didn't want to get in to the habit of laying in his bed, so I told him I would sit by him for a while. So, I'd kneel on the floor next to his bed... but he just never allowed himself to fall asleep while I sat there. Then he began getting out of bed. He would physically fight and squirm and cry to get out of his bed when we tried keeping him in it. Staying in his room with him didn't seem to be helping him go to sleep any sooner. So, we decided we were going to just leave him in his room and every time he came out, we would just keep putting him back in his bed no matter how many times it took. As soon as we leave the room and close his door, we hear the pitter patter of his feet running across his bedroom floor and then the click of the door latch opening. We're usually just outside the door or a few feet away and we take his hand and walk him back to his bed, tucking him in again. I am not exaggerating when I say that some nights it takes 15 times and I can't say that I don't get frustrated and mad and scold him by the 10th or 11th time! I do sometimes. But, when I have a clear mind and can remind myself to be calm, we can make it work. Tonight we made it work. He was out of bed 11 times, but I just held his hand and walked him back to his bed a few times. I stopped tucking him in because I started wondering if that extra tuck-in is just what he's hoping for! After walking him back to his bed a number of times, I then resorted to staying in his doorway and just telling him to get back in his bed and he did - I didn't have to walk him back to bed - he went on his own. I had to stand outside his bedroom door for a good 45 minutes so that I was there each time he opened it, to tell him to get back in bed. He eventually stayed in there and stayed quiet for about 15 minutes. Then out of nowhere, came back out and into my room. He said held one sock in his hand and said, "Mine foot, mommy. Hewp whiff mine sock, Mom." His sock had come off (or he pulled it off) and he was wearing jammies without feet, so we had left his socks on. So, I put his sock back on and sent him back to bed. He got back up twice more and after sending him back to his bed, he went off to sleep and that was it.
When I tucked him back into bed the last time, he whispered "I wan'chu Mom" (I want you Mom). I told him "I know. I love you" and he said "I wuv oo too much", which means "I love you so much". Be still my heart.
How is it that this tiny boy can make a grown woman cry? He simply whispers, "I wuv oo too much, Mommy. I wan'chu."
The other day on our way home from daycare, he said to me, "I want to swuggo oo too much mom. I want to swuggo oo in oeu bed" This translates to, "I want to snuggle you so much mom. I want to snuggle you in your bed." He pronounces "your" like "her" without the "h" or the "r". It's almost like the upside down e sound, but with a little more oo in it. I spell it oeu.
Tonight Gavin was walking around the house with his shirt up, asking me to "ticko" his "bewwy button", so when he walked by me, I ticked his belly button. Then he walked over to our cat, Moses and lifted his shirt for Moses and stuck out his belly toward the confused cat. "Ticko mine bewwy button, Mose." (pause as Gavin waits for Moses to tickle his belly button) Then... "Mose has no fingos. How 'bout bominabo?" Then he walked over to the end table where our 10" abominable snowman christmas figurine is standing and he picks up the abominable snowman and takes the abominable's blue plastic hand and tickles his own belly button with it and then giggles.
You melt my heart little guy! I wuv oo too much.