i have an announcement to make
While she usually wakes for two feedings, and has been for so long, the two preceeding nights she only woke once, and that by itself was rather arresting. I almost didn’t want to get excited or tell anyone lest I jinx the situation and it never repeat itself again. So when she followed this up by not waking at all, I was really floored. You must understand, this is unprecedented. She will be a year old next Wednesday, and has never, ever, not even once, slept through the night.
Interestingly (or not interestingly at all, depending on who’s reading this), I was just having a conversation with my friends Molly and Paige on Sunday about this topic. Both have the experience of waking through the night with their babies many months after their first birthday has come and gone, and my heart had settled into the knowledge that, since I can’t seem to muster the gumption necessary to train her out of the wakings, I will probably have to just embrace them as a part of my life for a while longer, well into Esme’s second year.
On Sunday night when I put her down in her crib and stroked her head I said in my softest, sweetest voice, “Good night, go to sleep, and I’ll see you when you wake up for your first feeding.” She almost seemed to glance up at me like she knew what I was saying, and curled up peacefully to drift off. In retrospect, it seems as if she finally had what she’d been looking for: the assurance that I am here for her absolutely. The trial period is over; no need to cry out at midnight for reassurance. Of course, I’m sure this is partly in my head, but truly, I can’t believe that the ending of this night waking era is strictly due to bodily mechanisms, a maturing metabolism, or gastrointestial ability to go longer without calories. I feel sure that it has something to do with the emotional connection between her and me.
It’s the end of an era. I know that there may still be some night waking to come, but I still believe that a grand precedent has been set, and the fact that I didn’t have to force it is incredibly rewarding for me.
The other side of the story is that my body will need to relearn the art of sleeping all night without interruption. Even though she did not wake up, I did–at the usual times. I lay there in the dark wondering when the cry would come. When it didn’t, I was unexpectedly sad. I will miss gathering her into my lap at night to nurse her.
Maybe I’m of a sentimental variety of mothers. Maybe I’m spoiled. If I had a job like other people, or were a single mom, or maybe if I had a house full of other kids, or whatever, I’m sure that I wouldn’t have had the luxury of sustaining such a schedule for a year. But I did, and now, so unexpectedly and out of the blue, it appears that Esme is night weaning herself…otherwise known as growing up.