I was going to write something else today. Now I'm going to write this instead. Sometimes I have an "ah-hah!" moment in this parenting thing. Sometimes I step back from what I think is the right thing and I listen to what Everly is trying to tell me. She's always teaching me new things about how to be her mom. There's this funny trend that babies have of completely surprising you and it feels like as soon as you establish any sort of routine they decide to switch it up on you. This has especially been the case with Ever and her sleep lately. I finally got the nap thing figured out (2 a day, whenever the heck she feels like it!) and the bedtime down (sometime between 7 and 9) because we're really particular around here... Or not. But we had a rough outline of a schedule. I would nurse my little lady about an hour before bed. Then we would go cuddle up in bed when she was ready to sleep and nurse again while I rocked her and she fell asleep. It was sweet and simple and one of my favorite times of day. I always looked forward to bedtime if for no other reason than I got to rock her without her fighting to get up and play, or eat dog food. Then about a week ago bedtime suddenly became the most traumatizing time of both our days. Not just night, but naps too. It was awful and I started to dread it all. She was crabby when she was awake and she was angry when I'd try to put her to sleep. She is such an independent little lady that it was becoming impossible for me to try and do things the way we have been. So for the last several days I've been looking for a new way to do things. I tried everything I felt comfortable with (I do not believe in CIO- I'm glad it works for some moms but it isn't for me) and nothing was working. She cried, I cried, she cried more, I cried more. We both were exhausted and grumpy. I had to have a pretty deep therapy session with my amazing sister just to get through it all. Sometimes I'm so grateful that we're doing this mom thing together, but that's a post for a different day. The point is, I tried it all and nothing was working.
Today I started to really soul search for an answer and think deeply about my sweet baby. I thought about when she was in the womb and so stubborn that she wouldn't flip out of breech position until it was absolutely necessary. I thought about how she's always decided when and where she would sleep. I thought about how she chose when she was ready for solid food and started feeding herself straight from my plate because she wanted to. I thought about how she started walking at 8 stinking months because she'd decided she was a grown up girl and was going to do what she wanted. And after a long nurse/cuddle I decided to just follow her lead tonight. She wanted to play a little bit so we sat on the bed and played. She wanted to trade off sucking her paci with me (gross but whatever) so we did. She wanted to lay next to me, but not on me, so we lay there in a very calm and content way. She wanted to play with my hair and hold my hand while she drifted off to sleep. So we did. It was beautiful and magical and exactly what I needed after so much fighting this last week. I don't know if we've figured out her issue with sleep. She's too independent for my mama heart, but I'm going to try hard to let her lead the way. I'm going to listen harder when she's trying to tell me something. And I'm going to let her teach me every single day how to be the best mom to her. Together I think we can do this.