Crunchy mom confession: I still help my children fall asleep at night. My children are 3 years and almost 6 years old, and I lie down with them at night, after bath time, after books and quizzes with Daddy. I snuggle between them, as they drift off to sleep. When they are asleep, I disentangle myself from arms and legs, and tip toe out, lingering just a bit to see them peacefully asleep together. Now, I don’t have to do this. I know they are capable of falling asleep on their own. And they have, when I’ve asked them to – if I’m touched out for the day, or I have something to do right after bed. But most nights, I still choose to lie down with them because…
- They still want me to, and I know they won’t always want me to. And I will sincerely miss it when they don’t.
- They ask me the best questions after the lights go out. Like, “How far does the sky go?” and “How fast can an elephant run?”
- Before sleep, they are always harmonious and joyful. There’s no whining, teasing, wanting. Something about the tranquility of sleep about to come, brings with it a welcome sense of peace, that I don’t often encounter during the day with two young children, and a lot of responsibilities.
- They recount the events of the day, and we ask each other what our favorite parts of the day were – and what our least favorite parts were (this is a wonderful window into how they interpret my actions – sometimes an action that I thought was rather forgettable, like, asking my 3yo to help me sweep up a mess, turns out to be his favorite part of the day – because I was one-on-one with him on the floor, guiding him. And that expensive trip to a museum – not as fun.).
- They tell me things that happened in school or at grandma’s house, which otherwise, with the lights on, and the events of the day swirling busily around them, they might not have mentioned – things that concerned them, things that they need help processing. I’m glad to be able to slow down for a little bit and help them through those thoughts, which might not otherwise have been communicated.
- It’s a quiet time, to relax and just be, without expectations or schedules or places to go or things to get done.
- They ask me to sing as I always have to them before sleep, and I love to sing, and now they love to sing too – and I marvel in hearing their little voices developing.
- I adore the feel of their fingers, curled around mine; relaxing into sleep like they did as infants once upon a time on my shoulder. I feel blessed that almost 6 years after having my first baby; I still get a glimpse into babyhood that isn’t so far gone for my little ones.
So for all of these reasons, I lie down with my children at night, and help them to sleep. Our days go so quickly, and they are growing so fast, I’ll enjoy this connection and this time with them now, while I can.