I have a confession.
My daughter, at two, still needs someone to lay down with her to go to sleep.
I’m not quite sure how this happened. With Joseph, we read the books, we were tough, we had that boy going to sleep on his own from the time he was six months old. We didn’t co-sleep. I didn’t nurse him to sleep. He was a self sleeping baby who needed nothing more than hugs, kisses and a story to drift off to slumber.
Elizabeth is a different story.
I don’t know if it’s the knowledge that she’s my last or the fact that she has big blue eyes that melt my ice cold heart when she turns them on me with, “Hold me, Mommy. Please.” All I know is that every nap, someone lays down with her. And, on the weekends, that someone is me.
She snuggles next to me, her warm little body curled against mine. She loops her hands inside my shirt and around my bra straps, holding tight. She tucks her head under my chin and sighs sweet little sighs. The next thing I know, two hours have passed and I’m groggily waking up to the realization that Joseph’s been unsupervised and may have taken over the world.
At night, she sleeps with Joseph, wrapping her arms around him in a picture so adorable, I have to smile. Joseph rolls his eyes and shakes his head as she starts to play with his ears, but he doesn’t move. We’re putty in her chubby little hands.
I know she needs to learn to sleep on her own. I know that we can’t always spend the time she requires to help her sleep. I know I should be stronger, sterner. Then I think…she’ll be sleeping alone by the time she’s 13 and I’ll be wishing she was still a snuggly little toddler.
So, while my friends talk about sleep training, I just nod and keep my guilty little secret.
I may be a sleep training failure, but I’m a snuggling success.