There were all sorts of good reasons Cavanaugh was having trouble sleeping but it didn’t make me feel any less ready for him to give up the day and rest. Stories, songs, my hand stroking circles on his back, holding hands–nothing.
I know plenty of parents who would say, get up and get out. He needs to fall asleep by himself. And sometimes he does. I know he’s capable of it. But this night was wanting more Mama Time, partly because his dad missed another visit.
Partly because I insisted that we go to the gym so I could take a Bodyflow class. I promised it would give me more energy to play with him if I could just exercise. That it makes me nicer. This whole single parenting thing is a hard transition for both of us.
So, he went to the gym daycare–where he’s been before and liked it, though it has been months. He went in smoothly, without insisting that I stay and play. Surprisingly, they didn’t come get me so I was able to finish the whole class. Then I walked in and Cavanaugh was waiting right inside the half-door, right where I’d left him.
The attendants said he’d stood there for the entire 50 minutes I was in class. He wasn’t upset. Anytime they tried to engage him in play–drawing, cars, etc.–he said, “I’m just resting.”
On the way home, I asked why he didn’t want to play and said, “I was just resting.” I asked if he would want to go again and he said yes. Considering I took a journal in my purse to parties, I understand being an observer. When we got home, he asked, “Did the gym make you feel better Mama?”
“Yes! Thank you so much for going to the day care so I got a chance to take care of my body and help myself relax.”
We got home, ate dinner, played Bugdom on my iPhone, a game he found on the floor model when we waited so long at AT&T to get my own cell account. I never thought I would let my small child play video games. And sure, it’s full of butterflies that burst into flowers when you spring up to them, but it’s a video game. Apparently a pretty exciting one, because Cavanaugh was riled up.
Maybe it was the video game keeping him up. But it could have been the hard start to the day–one that happens too frequently around here–when I didn’t want to be awake because it took so long last night to fall asleep. Maybe it was my insistence on moving and watering plants that were smothering each other to death in the garden, though Cavanaugh just wanted me to let him sit on my lap all morning. Maybe it was a playdate with a buddy that was fun sometimes and rough others. Maybe it was his dad’s missed visit, or that he refused a chance for a bedtime call to Daddy. Maybe it was the gym and “resting” in day care. Whatever it was, we’d had a day and I wasn’t leaving that kid alone to put himself to sleep.
But I wasn’t prepared to stay up there much longer and keep the great calm feeling that I get from yoga. So I asked if he wanted to pray with me.
“What is praying?”
“Talking to God. Do you want me to show you?” I said we could do it anywhere but a lot of people like to do it like this. Then I demonstrated how we can get down on our knees, put our hands together and say “Thank you” to God at the end of the day. I still need to figure out how to explain the concept of God, or a still small voice, or a benevolent omniscient being.
Tonight though, I just asked, “What do want to say ‘thank you’ for?”
“The gym,” he answered, and crawled back into the bed.
Do you pray with your kids, at bedtime or any other time? Did you pray as a child? What does any of that look like at your house?