Every night when myself and Mr E go to bed, we check on our sleeping beauties like most parents do I am sure. I always go into LL’s room first, pausing for a second and listening to her breathing, the peaceful rhythm of deep sleep. I stroke her head and run my fingers through the soft wisps of her hair. Then it’s into Mads room, where we turn off the mushroom lights that help send her off to the land of nod. She is usually cuddling some sort of creature, her unruly curls splayed out around her on the pillow. I lean down to kiss her as she is easier to reach than LL, before leaving the door ajar and whispering ‘Night Night’.
There’s something really magical about sleeping babies, not least because it’s a chance for you to unwind and have a break after a busy day. Watching them in a deep slumber- so peaceful and still, their little chests rising and falling, it’s a part of parenthood that I wish I could bottle up sometimes. I often yearn to wake them up and scoop them in my arms for a cuddle, but of course I don’t. Just for a small moment each evening I get that huge rush of love, of feeling acutely aware of what a gift they are and of how lucky I am to be their Mummy.
But the reality is, it’s just a couple of seconds of what has become part of our night time routine. Last Thursday I had to take Mr E to an appointment and so therefore I had to wake up the girls from their afternoon nap. I realise how lucky I am that they nap at the same time and that Mads still naps at all at three, but also I am pretty strict with making sure that unless we are doing something really exciting they both go upstairs to nap every day.
They were both fast asleep and neither were in any hurry to be roused. As I was gently trying to wake Mads up, I paused for a second and just observed her. That overwhelming sense of love came back and I just had to sit down on the chair next to her bed and watch her for a couple of minutes. She has been changing and growing so quickly recently and we see glimmers of the little person she is becoming, a person who has the world to explore and learn about. But lying there asleep cuddling one of her toys, she looked so little still. Those beautiful curls, that little button nose and those deliciously long eyelashes. I felt this smitten feeling wash over me- that even though we can have testing times, I am so lucky that she is mine.
I should definitely take a few minutes every now and again to watch them both, just for that little bit longer.
On another note, bar ‘Rabbit’ who sits on the chair in Mads room, I don’t remember that many of the cuddly toys from my childhood. I remember having lots but the memories have grown hazier over time. Therefore I thought I would take a couple of photos of the ‘privileged’ few who get to share her bed.
One day a long time in the future when a few of them will be in the loft, some may have new found friends to cuddle them after a mass clear out to the charity shop, or the most special may even have pride of place in her own home, I hope that we will look back at these photos and smile and remember the tales of her most favourite friends and of the many little snippets of memories we have of this amazing period of our lives.