I raised four kids. All of them slept in their own beds. In their own rooms. One child spent a night in bed with my husband and me the night I brought him home from Nicaragua. He had scabies and diarrhea. My husband did a “him or me” thing and that was the end of that.
But Alita? She has lived a different life. And it started here.
She falls asleep with her people. She did then. And she does now.
My son and his wife never made any decision about this…..this is just what they do. They’re not captive to any “what you should do” thinking (this is both good and bad in the larger scheme of things).
Now she will bring her nearly five year old self to my lap, settle in with a blanket, and go to sleep. Later, I’ll put her to bed. There’s never any crying. This is so different for me, a refugee of Dr. Spock’s admonition to put the child to bed and let her cry.
I don’t know what this means. I just know that I’ve gone along with it. That it feels better to have a child fall asleep in my arms than just about anything on earth. That this practice – as unintentional and maybe careless as it has been – seems to have created a child who is relaxed and happy, who expects love but never demands it, who trusts her people and can rest easy.
So different than what I thought should be done. So different from Dr. Spock or all the other baby-raising manuals.
So ‘no end in mind.’ So ‘what makes sense right now.’ And it adds up – somebody holding this girl every night for five years.
What a way to start a life.