Everyone loves checking in on their sleeping children, don’t they? It’s when you can properly enjoy being a parent. I know very well that I should try and enjoy my children when they’re actually awake, not just while they’re sleeping. But I also know that, although people regularly tell me to ‘enjoy every moment’; during the day that isn’t always possible. There’s always a spilt drink to mop up, or a child about to launch himself head-first down the stairs, or a grazed knee to attend to.
The daytime is usually about keeping your head above water, it’s not about standing back and reflecting.
But when they’re asleep – that’s when you can take stock with no distractions. You can look at your children all peaceful and snuggled up and take a bit of time to think about how magnificent they are – this is so much easier to do when they’re not whacking each other over the head with trains. You can stroke their beautiful skin and realise how lucky you are to be bringing up these little people. You can look at them and remember the funny things they said or did that day, because you’re not also trying to rush everyone out of the front door in time for school and convince a 3 year old to put some trousers on.
And after a bad day or a fraught bedtime, I find a sleeping child check reassuring. Because there may have been tears earlier, but look at them now – perfectly content and snoring their little heads off. When I feel like I’m doing a rubbish job, seeing my sleeping boys reassures me that we are all absolutely fine. It gives me the chance to take stock, think about what I might have done differently, and promise myself that tomorrow will be better (I do this quite a lot – thank goodness for tomorrow).
But mainly, I love checking on my children and seeing that they’re tucked up, they’re warm, and that they’ve got everything they need – for my 5 year old, that is a life-sized hare, and Vicky the bat (obviously). I’m not sure they would be my ideal night-time buddies but each to their own.
And every night, I think what lucky boys they are; then I think how sad it is that being warm and having a bed to sleep in should make them lucky. But they are lucky, because there are horrible things happening in the world aren’t there? Horrible things which I don’t want them ever to be aware of, because their heads are full of lovely, innocent things at the moment like arctic animals and trains and pick up trucks. Their entire world exists around our little home and their routines, and the thought of them finding out about all the bigger things happening out there terrifies me.
But right now they’re tucked up, fast asleep and dreaming about buses. And that is exactly where I want them to be.