Its so easy once the struggle has passed, when he is settled and sleepy and ready for the crib, to see and feel that calm acceptance. He was wired up, oversensitised, excitable, coming down from a busy day. Or he was too tired, stuck in his own frustration, unable to find comfort-physical, emotional- just couldn’t quiet his busy little brain down.
Its understandable. It makes sense. After all we’ve all been there. Tossing in the covers, fidgeting with fingers or phones, huffing and sighing but just not quite able to sleep though we desperately need to.
In the aftermath, when sleep finally claims him, peace finally descends and I can watch him with a soft smile on his face (and mine) and feel almost foolish and something like guilty for not giving him such acceptance at the time. For instead feeling full of frustration and desperation and an aching need for him to just get there already! Any semblance of calm I might have displayed being just that: a semblance, a fallacy, a well constructed mask to try and bring the end about quicker.
It never works of course. He sleeps when he is ready (right now that’s 8pm on the dot) and leaves me in a stew of peaceful acceptance and guilty relief. I wish I could give this acceptance to him sooner, the acknowledgment that he is in fact a tiny human, with human struggles and frustrations. I wish I could feel it fully in my heart as he fights and flails and widens his sleepy eyes for the umpteenth time.
Instead I choke down impatience and acknowledge that for now, in this moment, this is reality. To fake acceptance would be a disservice to myself (and him). Perhaps its enough that I remember it now, afterwards, to re-tint memories dulled by fatigue.
Perhaps what I truly owe him is emotional honesty, so that one day he feels free to do the same.
His Mama may not be a Saint but she is here, now, with him in the moment.