As an infant she nursed every fourteen seconds; dozing at the breast. Just enough watery mama milk to get a bit of a snooze in. Mama was raw with exhaustion.
She didn't nap well until one, and by two outgrew her naps entirely.
She had a colicky sister by then.
She was hard to settle at night, her mind and body wouldn't quiet. In my own state of weariness, I crawled into bed beside her to comfort her into quiet and rest. We read stories and sang songs, and I insisted she stop moving. After she fell asleep, I would tiptoe out and head to my own nest for some much-needed rest. Eventually, she would find me.
A double bed can hold a surprising amount of bodies but it doesn't ensure a refreshing sleep.
But somewhere between grade one and grade ten, she figured it out.
She lost interest in the family bed.
I've heard say that the toddler years are a foreshadowing for the teen years and it's true that my daughter needs me again. She tells me things at bedtime. Can't fall asleep. Needs a backrub. Doesn't settle. Won't stop moving.
We're beyond the story books and singing now, and she hasn't crawled into bed beside me for years. But she tells me I have magical powers, and she can fall asleep with me in her bed. And I do. I'm insanely grateful that she trusts me. Needs me.
And I'm really, really, really tired.
*If I had the chance to do the toddler years all over again- I'd do it the same way. I'd sacrifice my rest. Almost my sanity. When my kid needs me and I can come through, there's nothing I'd rather do. Except, of course, I'd rather be sleeping.... but I'm not, am I. I really believe that she heard what she needed to hear. That I'm here for her. That her needs matter. Every day, and every night.