I see an awful lot of 5.30ams these days. Previously, I would have looked on this as a time only acceptable from the other side; no sane person would ever willingly be up and awake at that hour, out of warm cosy bed and dealing with the freezing cold morning. These days however I come equipped with an alarm clock that can’t be silenced, as much as I shush him and attempt to grapple five more minutes of sleep, he is in control of the sleep and having gone to bed at 9pm the night before, he’s happily all done with that. Really, I should start going to bed that early myself…
In an attempt to remove baby from the bed – since co-sleeping was no-sleeping with my violent little starfish who claimed my pillow and 90% of my side of the bed for himself – I’ve enacted a rule, no baby in the bed before 7am, 6.30 at a push. This has led to him sleeping for longer in his cot, as he seems to have gathered that waking up is not going to lead to cuddles in Mama and Dada’s bed, but also has seen me on the sofa at 4 or 5am, holding a baby who won’t settle in his own cot because he wants a cuddle. At 6pm, 7pm the next day a small part of me resents it for the stealing of my sleep. I’m currently working a shift which means that those early wakeup times make my day super long, and I long for just one night of decent sleep and a fresh day after. This isn’t something allowed for by my tiny alarm clock.
But. The days are long but the years are short.
There is only so long that he will be my baby. There is only so long that he will want to cuddle in the middle of the night, if he wakes up in pain or from a bad dream. There is only so long that his tiny hands will be small enough to grip mine as he looks into my eyes and snuggles his head into my chest under the duvet. He’s already getting big, being daring, he’s a man on the move and nobody can get in his way. His independent streak is for sure, he’s inherited stubbornness from both sides. Anything he can do, he wants to do it himself, he’s his own man and wants to get his own way.
Some day soon his little hand won’t fit around my finger in quite the same way. I’ll go in to cuddle and he’ll brush me off, say I’m uncool. He won’t play peek a boo from behind the duvet cover, or make funny noises with his finger and his lips and attempt to replicate the same noise using my lips. He’s already pulling away and wanting to get off the sofa, get down on the ground and move about himself. Now at least he’s looking for my approval for every action, searching for my applause, wanting to show me how good and brave and smart he can be.
So for now, I will relish the quiet time, this time at 5.30am where I would long to be in bed but will settle for cuddles on the couch under a duvet with my little man, who is growing less little with every quickening moment. These quiet times will only last so long. A poem we did in school in Irish years ago is resonating with me now; I never really got it until I became a parent myself.
“Bhí subh milis ar bháscrann an doras
ach mhúch mé an corraí
ionaim a d’éirigh
mar smaoinigh mé ar an lá
a bheadh an bháscrann glan
agus an lámh beag – ar iarraidh…”
There was jam
On the doorhandle
But I pushed away the feelings
That rose up in me,
Because I thought of the day
That the doorhandle would be clean
And the little hand
Would be gone.
The poet, Seamus O Neill, summed it up perfectly and it is only now as a parent that I too am noticing that though there be lifes little disturbances, you need to just let it go and let it happen, as that small child with the small disturbances and 5.30am cuddles will not be this small for very long at all.
This post is part of a linky on Mindfulness and Simple Pleasures from the lovely BabySteps – check out the others by clicking the link and take part!