Oh, my youngest child is a squirmer! And I am a snuggler. And, more often than I care to admit, I am a sleepyhead. I had this Lovely practice that I enjoyed with my two older kids, which I assumed would be equally delicious with Baby #3. On days when I'm especially tired (usually because I've been up through the night with some Little Being who has had need of me for some reason) I will put on a movie, snuggle up with my Little One and a soft blanket, and instantly fall asleep. The warmth of little breath in my face, the sound of Disney music in my ear, and I am gone. My child is happy wrapped in my arms and rapt in a good movie.
My third child has had her share of nights in which I sacrificed my sleep for her comfort. But she follows up the next day with less than cozy cuddles. Rather than nestling in for a snug little block of stillness, she tosses and squirms, grabbing my sleeping head in her hands and turning it to ensure that I witness the unfolding scene. "Wake Up!" she demands, wanting my shared attention as the Dinosaur Train goes rolling into the Time Tunnel. Then she burrows her head deeply into my ribs, hiding from some new creature whom she has seen appear suddenly at this moment a hundrend times before. Rearranging my hair, shouting in my sleeping ear-- I've been battered, banged, and bellowed at time after sleepy time.
I had reached a point of frustration with this pattern. I was too tired to get up and play, too disrupted to feel any rest, when I had an epiphany: This Little One is a Power Snuggler! Her snuggles are active and fully engaged. They may not help me catch up on my rest, but how I appreciate her enthusiasm to bring me into her experience!
That epiphany changed my perspective; I knelt on the ground and shared it with her. "You are such a Power Snuggler, aren't you!" Delighted, she ran first from me and then straight at me, knocking me backward to the (thankfully carpeted) ground, burrowing her face into my neck and shouting out the muffled words, "POOOOOOOOOOOOOWERRRRRRR SNUGGLLLLLLLLLLLLLE!" In that moment, it all changed. My recognition of her gift freed her to express her joy more fully, and for me to receive it and to share my own with her. Now, we both enjoy our snuggles so much more. I've learned that our snuggle times are NOT opportunities for me to catch up on lost sleep. And I have learned that my precious little daughter has been blessing me with gifts far greater than sleep; I just had to shift my perspective to see them.