I did it. Henry is in his own room now and has been since my last post. Much as I hate to admit it, we are all sleeping better. Henry is going to bed earlier, waking less, and sleeping longer. Obviously, that means more sleep for Elliott and me. Even Lilly has abandoned her nightly pilgrimage to our bed, presumably because she is no longer feeling excluded from our family sleepover. So it’s good. It’s healthy. But I do miss having Henry by my side, of course.
Besides the extra sleep, which is very nice, there is another perk to having Henry in the nursery however. It’s what I think of as our date nights.
Our days tend to be a bit crazy. Lilly keeps me going pretty much all day, and that means Henry is in tow pretty much all day. And, while I hate doing it, I often find myself looking for a time and place to put Henry down. It kills me to even think about this. Like most first children, Lilly was held constantly. And although it meant I missed many meals and had to do nearly everything one-handed, I loved it. I would spend hours just watching her sleep, staring at her, playing with her, doting on her. Poor Henry gets a couple hours in the morning, in which I’m also trying to push through several loads of laundry and do grocery shopping and any other random errands.
In his younger weeks, before he moved into his own room, Henry would stay up late with Elliott and me after Lilly went to sleep. That gave us some time to dote on just Henry, begging him to grace us with a fleeting smile and his cute little laugh. Now that bedtime is much earlier even those precious hours alone with Henry are no more. And crazy as it sounds coming from someone who hardly gets a minute to herself, when I’m sitting around in the evening, I miss him. I find myself gazing at the video monitor and wishing I had the time, like I did with Lilly, to just hold him and stare at him for hours on end. But I don’t.
What I do have is date nights. I have time in those hours of the night when everybody but college kids, graveyard shifters and nursing moms are asleep. That’s when Henry and I have our alone time. Granted, I’m exhausted and often when Henry calls upon me with his hungry cries, I don’t want to go. I want to sleep. I really want to sleep. Much longer.
But after we get through the initial screaming diaper change ritual, Henry makes it easy. Clad in a clean diaper, he is nothing but smiles. And once we’re settled in his armchair, sitting in the quiet, dark nursery, and Henry is feeding, I start to remember what it was like in those early days with Lilly. I get to just hold Henry. I get to feel his warm body against mine and his cute little hands grabbing my shirt or my fingers. And even if it is only by the light of his nightlight, I get to stare at his cute little face, his tiny ears and his little twitching feet until he tires of eating and falls asleep in my lap.
There’s something about those nightly nursing sessions that breathes new life into me. I remember feeling the same way when Lilly was still breastfeeding. Life seems simpler at those times. All the petty annoyances and stresses of daily life are lost in the cloud of a sleepy brain and all I can think in that moment is, “I’m a mom and this beautiful creature is my baby. How did I get so lucky?”
Then exhaustion overtakes me once again and I put Henry back in his bassinet and I go back to my bed. When the sun comes up, it’s back to our crazy life. And while there are many precious moments in which I’m grateful for my kids during the daylight hours too, around the fourth or fifth time I am forced to put Henry down in some baby-entertaining contraption, I do wish life could always be as simple as date nights.
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