It's 1:53am and if I had any sense, I'd be asleep right now. Shosha will be awake in 5 hours, and I have a ton of stuff to do tomorrow. I should be well away to the land of nod by now.
Instead, I'm sat here in bed, staring at a snoring small person beside me.
I've been staring at her for ages now.
I can't seem to stop.
How is it that this tiny human holds my attention so magnetically?! She's not bothered. Like I said, she's snoring away, blissfully unaware that her mad mother is eyeballing her like a loon.
I guess this is just another one of the things you aren't really told about when you're pregnant. "Sleep when your baby sleeps," people will say. "You learn the value of a good night's sleep when you have a baby," you'll be told. And yes, that is true, because it's something you'll find yourself willing to pay dearly for. But you'll also find yourself wasting many opportunities to sleep just watching your child as they do.
At first it's a wary, paranoid vigil. You find yourself not only watching to see if their chest is moving as it should, but you'll feel the need to rest your hand on them so you can feel it as well. Or you'll lean over to feel their breath on your cheek.
Then you'll find yourself peering at them as you check on them in the late evening. Not wanting to make a sound that may wake them, but not yet used to the concept of them being asleep so far away, even though they're only upstairs and you've got one of those fancy movement detecting/video/digital wifi baby monitors.
Next you'll reach the stage I'm at. The staring stage. That's all you do. You just stare. The initial newborn paranoia is fading, a routine has started to emerge and your confidence as a parent is growing. You stare at your gorgeous little one, all tranquil and serene, and you're just about ready to explode with love. I don't know how long I've spent staring at my sleeping son and daughter over my 2-and-a-bit years as a mother. I bet it's a good while though.
Finally, as your child grows, you stare less. They're in their own bed, in their own room, and they're starting to lead their own life. But, still, you check on them before you go to bed, covering them once more with the blanket they've kicked off the bed while they sleep. Maybe you kiss them softly on the forehead, though they'll never know you did. Even as they grow in independence, you're there, watching over them.
Right now, Arri looks so content and happy. And this makes me so proud. Even if my days are filled with the stress and doubts of my own parenting abilities, seeing my baby sleeping peacefully reassures me that yes, I'm doing a damn good job. My children are happy, safe and loved.
That's something I'll happily lose sleep over.