We're struggling at night.
Even with a dozen lights on, even with a playlist of soft lullabies on repeat, even with the prize for eight consecutive days of my campaign entitled, "Hooray! Everyone Will Sleep In Their Own Beds Again!" -- we are struggling.
"Mommy? Mommeeeeeya? Mommmmeeeeya?"
"I have to tell you something."
"Tomorrow, I want to have donuts."
"Tomorrow, I want it to be Christmas."
"Tomorrow, I want to go to Disney World."
"Tomorrow, put a dollar in my lunchbox so I can buy a cookie."
And my favorite: the half-awake, dazed, blank stare that has forgotten what he wanted but wants me to stand there until he remembers.
In every dialogue, they just need to say, again,
"Mommy, I'm afraid."
"Mommy, can you hold my hand, for just a few minutes?"
"Mommy, can't I just sleep with you?"
I make several trips down the hall every night. It's roughly 37 steps from my bed to theirs. The sleeplessness is reminiscent of the newborn stage. Without the partner to commiserate with.
We're trying something new tonight.
After they have fallen asleep,
when I sneak in to tuck blankets and plant kisses on sleepy noggins,
I'll take a marker with me.
And I'll draw a checkmark on the back of each hand.
Checkmark means: Mommy checked on me.
It means, "Hey, buddy? If you're awake and I'm asleep, I'm still here. You are smart, safe, and brave. And even if you can't see me right now, I was here while you were sleeping. Look at your hand, and trace your checkmark until you fall back to sleep. We'll wash it off in the morning, when sunshine brings security again."
They've asked for a blue marker.
I'll let you know how it goes.