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Like a cheetah

Pumpkin has tended to be a very good sleeper.  I like to joke that she understood early on that she had a choice between waking up repeatedly during the night or having a momma.  People almost never laugh at the joke - I think it might be so dark as to be unsettling.  But, frankly, those were dark days.  I can't help but believe that, on some level, Pumpkin understood how dire things were then, and she slept so that I could, too - for which I will be forever grateful.  

In the last few months, something (a million things?) changed, and Pumpkin would wake in the night.  For weeks, all we had to do was go into her room, put a paci in her mouth, and slowly back away.  Eventually, Pumpkin found the paci less soothing than the nice, warm parents who took turns coming into her room.  After one long night that involved very little sleep from 2:30 to 4 am, we let her cry it out.  It was awful.  She would cry.  I would cry.  My husband would suggest I sleep downstairs so I could get away from the trauma.  Like any self-respecting (read: self-punishing) momma, I refused.  And I might have even acted offended at the suggestion.   Because when you are sleep-deprived and your baby is crying and you are crying, of course it's offensive to be offered the opportunity to sleep.  Preposterous even.  

Everyone knows how the cry-it-out story ends though.  That's why we do it.  Because a few nights later, and for every night since, Pumpkin has slept through the night.   If she wakes and fusses, it lasts for a few minutes, we all remain in our own bedrooms (Squish and Bug excepting, of course), and we all go back to sleep.  

Last night, around 11:30 pm, Pumpkin cried a terrified-scream cry.  Not the I-just-woke-up-and-can't-find-my-paci cry.  A cry that led me to believe she would be burning up when I got to her.  Or that her crib had spontaneously fallen to pieces around her.  I threw back the covers, ran down the hallway, and picked her up.  I comforted her and rocked her until she calmed down and fell asleep again.  

I put her down in her crib.  I left the room, and she started to cry again.  I let her go for about ten minutes until she quieted and went to sleep.  

Then the scared-scream cry started again.  I went in, nursed her, and I let her reach up and pull my hair and squish my nose and my cheeks.  She fell into a deep sleep, and I was able to put her in her crib.  She stirred and fussed for a minute and then slept for the night.  

This morning, my husband and I were reliving the difficult night and talking about how awful Pumpkin's first cry was.  He gave me a hug and said, "I've never seen you run so fast - you were like a cheetah."

Like a cheetah, Pumpkin.  That's how I will always come running when you need me.  

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