Half The Pillow

As I sit here, still awaiting the imminent birth of Baby (#4) “Button”, I have my last baby on my mind.  Maclane was #3, and he was supposed to be the last baby.  I think, because of that, I’ve seen him as a ‘baby’ much longer than the other two.  Of course, in reality, he’s very much a big boy now.  He is three years and three months old, and he talks up a storm.  Sometimes, only I can understand his continuous monologue, but he keeps on all the same.  During the day, Maclane is independent, assertive, and curious.  He has something to do all the time.  At night, however, he is Mama’s baby.

Perhaps because, about a year ago, he was diagnosed with a type of asthma, Maclane very much wants to sleep in Mommy’s bed.  I think it’s a habit we can’t break from all the nights he spent sleeping, sitting up, with me so I could make sure his breathing was normal.  I’ll never forget those nights, in the wee hours, watching his chest retract and counting his breaths, and waking him up every three hours to take breathing treatments.  Sometimes, at night, we still have to sit up and breath from the ‘smoke machine’ before he goes to bed.  It’s a part of our life, as anything easily becomes when it’s what your child needs.  And because of it, almost every night at about two-am, Maclane quietly comes into our room and gets into the bed.  Herein is the irony.

Even before Samantha, our first, was born, I swore I would never co-sleep with my child.  I would hold them and feed them and cuddle them, but sleeping time meant time to get in your own crib or bed.  During the day, they would sleep in our arms or on our chests, but night time was bed time.  For us, it worked.  For me, it gave me personal space that I needed.  Every mom is different, and I am one who needs my own space at the end of the day.  But I have also come to learn that very few things in parenting are black and white.  Sure, things like, ‘don’t shake the baby’ and ‘don’t put Dr. Pepper in the bottle’ are rules you don’t bend.  My clear-cut ban on co-sleeping has been muddled into a gray area, however.

You see, no matter how important I think it is for children to be able to fall asleep, and stay asleep, on their own, I cannot deny Maclane this one comfort.  Sometimes, in the middle of the night, he needs half of my pillow.  He will not sleep on Frankie’s side.  If he wakes up and finds himself there, he curls himself back over onto my pillow.  He needs Mommy’s pillow the way Matthew still needs his ‘Boo-Boo’ and Samantha still just needs to ‘hold you’ sometimes.  They are all growing, well-adapted kids who socialize, easily run from us to go to school and church, and have spend-the-nights and play dates away from home.  But sometimes, they need to be ‘the baby’.

So I give Maclane half my pillow.  I endure him kicking and head-butting me, and leaving me with 1.5 inches of the bed to sleep on.  Sometimes, he even sneezes on me in the dead of night and scares me to death.  Still, I can’t make him leave, because someday, he will be too big.  He will grow into a teenager and then an adult, and I won’t roll over and find his soft, warm, blonde little self snuggled against me.  They will all always have my whole heart, but Maclane will only have half my pillow for a short time.  So out of the black and white, I find balance in the grays.  Some rules I will not bend, some truths will not change, but I tuck Matthew into bed with his ‘Boo-Boo’ pillow, I let Samantha ‘spend tonight’ and stay up late with me, and I hold Maclane in the wee hours because, as I have quoted so many, many times, “We shall not pass this way again”.

Cat

2 thoughts on “Half The Pillow

  1. How I love reading your blog. I have to confess that this one brought tears to my eyes, for I too remember those days. That’s how mommies remember them…like it was only yesterday.

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