My favourite time of day is actually at night. It comes when I am lying in bed and in the soft glow of the nightlight I can see Alice's dark little head in her bed beside me. Stéphane is sleeping and so is Liliane. Is there anything more delicious than sleeping kids?
I cherish that sensation. The feeling of utter satisfaction, of gratitude that we have a cozy home and a healthy family and a full fridge. Despite my issues with hearing the neighbours occasionally stomping around upstairs, it's almost always completely silent by midnight. Sleep in heavenly peace. And I do.
The first time I felt this way was when Liliane was just around a year old. It had been a warm fall so the heat wasn't on yet. One night Liliane kept waking up. We ruled out all the usual stuff but nothing helped. Finally I realized the poor kid was COLD. The nights were suddenly cooler and her room was chilly. I turned the heat on, but since it would take a while to warm up, we brought her her into our bed.
Now, let me remind you that Liliane slept exclusively in our bed for the first three months of her life because she would not sleep anywhere else. She slept in our bed, stuck to me. Which meant that Stéphane and I went through some pretty major sleep deprivation.
Once we got her out of that habit, we were always wary of bringing her back to our bed, partly because of flashbacks to those first months but also because once she started sleeping in her crib, she was happiest there.
But on this night we tucked her in between us and she immediately went back to sleep. No squirming, no wiggling around, no dread in the pit of my stomach. I lay there, listening to her breathing and to the clock ticking in the kitchen and I had an epiphany. THIS is what it's like! THIS is what it's like to be perfectly content, knowing that you did something right for your child. I hadn't felt anything like it in my parenting experience up to that moment and I go back to it often when I need to keep anxiety at bay.
It sounds trivial, but as any new parent will tell you, the question of sleep (how much is the baby getting, how much are we the parents getting, why won't she fall asleep, is she sleeping too much, no sleep because of teething/bad dreams/gas/you name it, oh please for the love of GOD please sleep) becomes all-consuming. And when you throw some post-partum depression into the mix, LOOK OUT!
So that moment has stayed with me these past three years. That overwhelming sense of well-being. Of knowing my baby girl was right beside me, safe and warm. That we figured something out and fixed it. And what a treat to be able to experience it again so soon with sweet Alice. My yummy babe that nods off after feeding around 11PM and wakes up about 12 hours later.
You know what this means though, right? We got off easy on the sleep so far, teething is going to be a nightmare.