Someday I will look back on this stage of Dear Son's life with both relief and melancholia. It's a stage I remember developing a love-hate relationship with when Daughter was there a couple years ago. Except with Daughter, I was her sun, moon, and stars and her daddy was pretty much just far away Pluto. He was often incidental and, not unlike the controversial Pluto, maybe not even a planet at all in Daughter's little solar system. The tables are turned this time. As I've previously posted, Son has an infatuation with Husband. Me? Not so much (not that I don't have an infatuation with Husband, but that Son doesn't have the same infatuation with me). Nonetheless, it seems Husband and I are both feeling that love-hate rub.
One of the fringe benefits Husband enjoys along with being The Chosen One, is that Husband is the only one who seems to be able to calm Son down if he wakes up screaming in the middle of the night. Unfortunately there's been a few of those nights this week. During one of these episodes, Husband later described to me that Son insisted on leaving his bedroom and wanted to go downstairs to play (at 2 am, mind you) but eventually settled for playing on the floor of his bedroom in the glare of his night light. Husband described lying down on the floor to doze while he indulged the wee one. In spite of Husband's irritation with this situation, he naturally melted when Son approached him and bent down to plant a kiss on his forehead in the midst of it.
And there's the rub--that whole twisted up mixed up ball of conflicted emotion that sits like a rock in your gut. It's that feeling of, "For the love of all that is good and holy, I can't wait until this stage is over so I can sleep through the night every night again!" which strangely occurs simultaneous to the feeling of, "Oh Dear God, please don't let these precious moments with my child EVER end!"
Early this morning Son did his thing again. At 2 am the screaming started. This time he refused to go back to his crib, and when he was placed there he screamed and screamed and screamed. Son has this personality quirk that when he has his mind set on something, he doesn't quit until that something meets his expectations. I dunno where he gets that. A considerable amount of time passed while I lay in my own bed trying to will away the circumstances that were transpiring, and that's when the voices in my head began to argue again:
Voice 1: "You can't just let him keep screaming like that!"
Voice 2: "You know if you go in there he will just get worked up even more until he gets his way."
Voice 1: "But listen to him! He's gonna give himself a heart attack if he keeps going like that! Heck, he's gonna give ME a heart attack if he keeps going like that!"
Voice 2: "He'll give up in a minute"
(at least three more minutes pass)
Voice 1: "He's not giving up!"
Voice 1 finally won round one and in I went to try to comfort Son. Of course, when I picked him up he started flailing even more and pointing at the door. Nothing could get him to stop. That's when Voice 2 piped up proudly with "I told you so!"
Fully aware that this situation was not going to resolve quickly or painlessly, I considered taking Son back to bed with me. This started up the squabble again between the voices in my head:
Voice 2: "Yeah, right! Like that ever works!"
Voice 1: "But I'm sooooo tired!"
Voice 2: "Not gonna work!"
Voice 1 one won round two (at least temporarily). When Son finally quit screaming he settled down in the bed against Husband, and I thought he was going to go to sleep. He looked all precious and everything, what with his little 17 month old thumb stuck in his mouth, all curled up and innocent looking and seeming to be asleep. The emotional conflict was broiling as I planted a kiss on one of his chubby little cheeks. That's when he decided he needed to lay sideways across our pillows. Of course, I got the feet end while The Chosen One got the head end. Son is very tall, mind you. He was 23 inches long at birth and maintains 95% in height. And don't forget that 17 month old babies are very wiggly. In spite of our king size bed, I got kicked in the head a few too many times. When Son realized we were done playing that game, he decided to sit up and talk for awhile. I'm thinking that it's FREAKIN' THREE O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING and we've been at this for a good hour now, for cryin' out loud! Somehow another hour went by after that. Every time I was about to fall back into blissful slumber I either got kicked in the head or was jolted awake by baby babble talk. After ten more minutes of trying to convince Son that he was not going to nose dive off the side of the bed I finally huffed to Husband that he was going to HAVE to get Son to go back to sleep in his crib. After all, said responsibility goes along with the territory of being The Chosen One. By now it was FIVE O'CLOCK in the morning, and I was getting really really tired of Voice 2 telling me "I told ya so!" but not coming up with any better solutions.
When I was awakened two hours later by Dear Daughter bee bopping to my bedside to announce that she was ready to start the day, I was feeling the pain--along with the hate part of the love-hate relationship of this stage of Son's life. That lasted approximately an hour and twelve minutes until I met Son at the side of his crib and he looked at me with those just-woke-up puffy eyes, grinned like the Cheshire Cat, and reached for me to pick him up. As he snuggled onto my shoulder I had that funny all-is-well-with-the-world feeling in the pit of my stomach, and I found myself melting into the "Dear God, don't let these precious moments EVER end!" emotions. That's when Son patted my shoulder with his pudgy little hands and stated, "Da Da!" and I realized that he was quickly done with me and was looking for The Chosen One.
If I wasn't so tired from plain ol' lack of sleep, I'd be exhausted by the emotional roller coaster of it all.