The dumpling once again had an odd night last night.
I’ve mentioned before (though I’m not about to comb the archives for the reference) that the dumpling moves in his sleep differently. Some nights, he’ll fall asleep and remain still until about 9:30pm. Then he’ll wiggle around a bit, settling into a new position. Some nights, he’ll fall asleep and start moving within thirty minutes. These nights, he seems to toss and turn and toss and turn all night long. Other nights, I’ll see him sit up in his crib and blindly search for his stuffed animals, face-planting back into his mattress once he’s found both puppy and kitty. I always wonder if there’s a correlation to his movements and the quality of his sleep. On the nights he moves so much, is he getting poor sleep? Are those the kind of nights I have when I wake up still feeling tired the next day? Do I move that much? Does less movement equal better quality sleep?
All questions for another time, alas, and we’ll go back to last night. Last night, he moved quite a bit after he fell asleep. It also took him a while to fall asleep, though he seemed perfectly content in his crib, singing to puppy and kitty and rolling around. Around 9pm, I noticed him moving again, though that wasn’t surprising. What did surprise me though was that he started moving and just kept moving. Rolling and tumbling. Sitting up and laying down. Grabbing puppy and kitty and tossing them. One minute he’d be in the top, right corner of his crib, facing me, and the next minute he’d be in literally the opposite corner of the crib. I also noticed his eyes open quite a bit. It’s normal for him to open his eyes and look around for a few seconds, but last night was much more than that. The dumpling was still rolling around when Luffy headed to bed about 9:20.
By 9:40, he started calling for me with soft “mamas.” He wasn’t crying or agitated (any more than he already was with all that moving), but he just called me. I decided to go check on him. He’s been having two pain-related issues lately (all four canines are coming in at once and some GI issues that I won’t go into detail on), so I thought that he might be uncomfortable. After a few minutes with him, it was clear that he thought it must be morning*. I have no idea what was truly the cause of the disturbance, but after a dose of Motrin and an entire cup of water, I was still up with him until midnight. He finally settled back down only after I left him, when it was clear that my presence was only keeping him awake as he wanted me to continue rubbing his belly while he chatted with puppy and kitty.
And of course – OF COURSE – you’d think that after getting back to sleep at midnight he would sleep in some this morning. Right? That makes sense. Except that’s not how toddlers work and he was up before 6am this morning, happy as a freaking clam, while I dragged my butt out of bed feeling like a small truck had run over me. All in all, not a night any parent looks forward to when they contemplate becoming parents.
And yet. For the first hour or so, I was perfectly content to be up with him. I sat with him, in the chair that I nursed him in all those nights, marveling at how much bigger he’s gotten. He sat in my lap, this small child of mine, his head resting against my chest as I rubbed his back. His legs dangled off my lap, kicking at his crib until I moved farther away. He drank water from his cup, rather than milk from my breast. He communicated, in no uncertain terms, that he wanted to go outside his room, to see the kitty and the house, cloaked in darkness**. He wasn’t content anymore to lay on my chest while I reclined on the guest bed. He just wanted to sit with me, in our chair. In the quiet moments, as I held him in my lap, I tried to snuggle him close and hoped to always remember the feeling of his now toddler-sized body next to mine. The same way I hope to always remember how I held him close to nurse or how I laid next to him in the darkness, all those nights ago.
*Have you ever done that? Woken up from a nap or in the middle of night and thought it was morning? Because it is super disorienting and if that’s what was going on, I totally empathize with the dumpling. One time, back when I was in college, still living with my parents, I had taken some Benadryl in the early evening. My dad put on a movie – Tears of the Sun. I dozed off during the movie (which we both thought was terrible) and woke up as it was ending. I suppose it was the Benadryl, but I was SO disoriented when I woke up. I thought it was morning and was super confused as to why my dad and I were watching a movie in the morning, like didn’t he have somewhere to be? Didn’t I have somewhere to be? I remember making weird statements to my dad, asking him about getting ready for the day and whatnot. I remember heading to the kitchen to pour cereal for breakfast and finally figuring out what was going on because the light outside was clearly dusk, not dawn. I felt much better after this revelation, but it’s clear how unsettling the whole thing was given this happened a decade ago and I can still recall it with such clarity.
**Hindsight being 20/20, I think that this was part of the problem. I took him outside his room, thinking that if he saw it was still dark outside, he’d realize that it was still nighttime. Instead, I think I piqued his curiosity. I realized that he never sees the house completely dark like that, all lights off and total darkness outside. He probably thought it was really cool. I’ll have to remember this for the next random night waking.