Periodically, Riley has 4:00am nightmares. “There’s a bee in my pillow!” “There’s a mouse in my bed!” These alleged bad dreams remind me of when I was a little girl and I would periodically tell my teacher I didn’t feel good, go to the school nurse and have my mom bring me home just in time to watch “All My Children” with her at 1:00pm.
I’m not saying Riley doesn’t have actual nightmares, but his timing – between 4:00and 4:15am every time – is impressive. The energy it takes to get him back to sleep without waking up Dylan is too much to handle at such an ungodly hour, so I usually bring him to my bed where my soft and squishy little rooster cuddles up next to me and falls back asleep without a whimper.
After this morning’s 4:15am nightmare, Mike reminded me that I never would have let Dylan do that when he was Riley’s age. He’s right. It’s not that we didn’t comfort Dylanif he had a bad dream, but in the end he would cry it out because there was no way a child was ever going to sleep in my bed. Ever. It was a rule and I always followed the rules.
I was terrified when I first held Dylan in my arms five years ago. Everything scared me when I became a mother and it started way before I was even pregnant with Dylan. There was the miscarriage and molar pregnancy with CT-scans, chemotherapy and fertility fears. After all that, Dylan’s birth was frightening,too. There was preeclampsia, an emergency c-section at 37 weeks, and blood instead of milk coming from my breasts. Should I go on?
The result was that I mothered for a long time from a place of fear rather than instinct. Rules, limits, and boundaries gave me a sense of control in a situation that was out-of-control all the time. (Can you think of anything more chaotic than parenthood?) Mostly, I think I did okay, but there were times I wish I’d followed my heart more.
I’ll always be a rule-follower (i.e. Crazy Mama). It’s who I am, but I think I’ve mellowed out a lot if you consider where I started. Even though I sleep horribly when Riley is in bed with me, and I’m enabling a very,very bad habit, I
like love it. Maybe my mom tolerated my mysterious soap opera illness because she liked loved being with me, too. And do you know what? If Dylan wakes up tomorrow morning at 4:00am and tells me, “There’s a bird under my blanket,” I’ll scoop him up and bring him to my bed, too, because I’ve learned that some rules are meant to be broken.