Last night Emma came into our bedroom every few hours. The first time was just after midnight, then again at 2:30AM or thereabout, again sometime after 3:00AM and once more, only I was so tired, I can no longer remember what time it was. The last time she came in, standing beside the bed and looking at me, we told her she had to go back into her room and that we would come get her when it was time to wake up. When she left, whispering, “Mommy, Mommy come into the other room,” I stayed awake waiting for her return. Only she didn’t return. She went back to her room and managed to fall back asleep, something I was unable to do.
So I’m tired.
And when I’m tired things can look a bit bleak.
I know this about myself.
This post is therefore about countering that exhaustion induced bleakness with a more balanced view of Emma and how far she’s come in the last year.
At this time last year, Emma was still wearing a diaper at night. She was often awake in the middle of the night, unable to go back to sleep without one of us, usually me, lying next to her for the remainder of the night. Or she would come into our bed, forcing Richard to sleep in her twin bed in her bedroom. The feeling of utter exhaustion I am currently experiencing was commonplace a year ago.
In addition to the nocturnal awakenings, Emma had a habit of sucking on a strand of her hair, returning home with an encrusted lock, which I had to soak in lukewarm water before brushing out. Emma was unable to shower by herself, brush her teeth, floss or brush her hair and needed reminders to go to the bathroom. Emma showed no interest in most toys and her language was not as complex as it is now. Her utterances were in the three to five word category and often were difficult to understand. Her difficulty distinguishing between pronouns such as “you”, “me”, “I”, “him” and “her” was all too apparent. More often than not she referred to herself in the third person and often referred to others by calling them – “Emma”.
In the last few months, Emma has become enthralled with one of her baby dolls. Each night for the past week, she comes home, bathes and washes her baby doll’s hair with shampoo, then wraps her in a towel and puts her to bed. Her pretend play continues to be somewhat literal, in other words she doesn’t pretend to talk for her doll, she isn’t able to “name” her dolls beyond calling them things like: doll, girl, baby, etc. But Emma is showing an increased interest in playing with them, taking on the role of “mother” and spends longer periods doing “motherly” things with them.
This is the first year Emma has shown even a remote interest in Christmas and likewise with her birthday. She has been talking about her birthday and the party we are giving her for over a month now. Sadly, few children are able to come to her party, as it falls on a three-day weekend and almost everyone is busy or away. But despite this, we are making sure she and her birthday are celebrated.
Sometimes it takes exhaustion and numerous wake up calls to remind me of just how far Emma has come.