A week ago I would've told you that Mike had gotten Ada's bedtime routine down to a fine science. A book. A story. Turning on her favorite songs. He stays for one. Then he tells her he'll be right outside the door (and she repeats, "Daddy will be right outside the door" about 600 times while he says, "Yep, that's right, sweety" until he has closed the door behind him.
But lately she's been a bit more needy. And I've been a bit more tired. Which isn't exactly a winning combination.
Last night I tried the tried-and-true, almost too sterile approach. Book. Story. Song . . . but she seemed so scared that I was going someplace far away. Like she could sense my anxiety about getting her to bed and on with my night.
I paused outside her door as she cried in her room, and accepted that some nights your kid just needs you more than other nights, and tonight, my baby needed me.
I knelt by her bed and told her I wanted to talk about our day. I tried to pick out all the bright spots—the dinosaurs marching song during storytime at the library, eating a frosty on the deck at Grandma Colleen's house, jumping in the pool to Daddy—and forget all the screaming fits and embarrassing public meltdowns that filled up a majority of my day. As I mostly talked and she mostly listened, her eyes lit up and she would insert her variations on the day as we went. At one point she said, "Remember last week when we went to the doctors and she listened to the baby's heart and it went, 'Wha-oo-wha-oo-wha-oo' and you were a such a good girl at the doctors. And—" she paused and her dark eyes wide and serious, "you're going to be a big sister when Baby Liv comes so soon." She expressed several other sentiments regarding the baby, including the fact that the baby will give her Abby Cadabby when she comes (?).
I kissed her a thousand times before I skirted out of her room. And I left feeling lighter and less anxious and accepted that some nights a mom just needs her baby more than other nights.