I am one of those mothers that cannot fall asleep until I know my babies are safe and sound.
It started from day 1 with H. I, as many new mothers, would sit there and just watch him sleep. I loved how perfect and peaceful he looked. Even in those first few hours I knew enough to enjoy those peaceful times.
H has never been a good sleeper. I take that back. He is a great sleeper, he is just the worst at falling asleep. No matter what we did, he never learned to sooth himself to sleep. Even now, at two and a half years old, he often cried himself to sleep. So my habit of looking in on him became a nessecity for my sanity. After listening to your baby scream himself to sleep, you kinda need to see him in a happy, calm place. I need to see his sleeping smile and the way he curls up on top of his blanket instead of under it. I like to see if he has fallen asleep clutching a toy or book. Without fail he manages to play with a toy or "read" a book while crying and screaming for his bad (who has just spent the last 30 minutes reading to him and putting him to bed).
So, every night before I go to bed, I sneak into his room and just love on him. I silently pray for him and send him happy thoughts while he dreams. Because he has a hard time falling asleep, I am careful not to touch him. I don't want to wake the beast so late in the evening. I did that a few times when he was younger and I just had to kiss him or move a lock of hair. I eventually learned my lesson. I do feel that he can sense me and my outpouring of love in those quiet moments and these thoughts are what get us through the days when the terrible twos rears its ugly head.
Enter my precious baby A. She is a marvelous sleeper; as long as you don't count those 4 days where she only slept in 45 minute stretches when she was 3 months old. Spoiler Alert: she was crazy hungry and formula for a few days solved that problem. She rarely cries when you put her down to sleep. She buries her face in her blanket, plays with a book or snuggles with her giraffe (Jewel Jr.).
I always go in to check on her after I check on H. She is a pretty light sleep and invariably wakes up when I come in. I don't know if she doesn't care or is just that easy going but age will stretch and snuggle down to go to sleep. She never falls back asleep right away. She will lay there with her eyes closed and move her little hand on her blanket or her face while I watch her. After a few minutes she will roll onto her back and smile up at me. That is my cue to kiss her on her forehead and head off to bed. She in turn rolls back on her side and falls fast asleep. I like to think that she gets as much enjoyment and peace out of it as I do.
I have rarely thought about myself as a sentimental person but now I realize watching them sleep is my way of treasuring them and being sentimental about the day that has already past and that we will never get back.
Do you watch your kids sleep? Do you have any other ways that you try to preserve their childhood in your head? Also, if you have any suggestions on ways to ease a toddler to sleep, please pass them on. We need to break him of this habit.