Every instinct I have tells me that I should pick up my son and comfort him when he cries. Every instinct I have tells me that if he wants me, I should go to him. I want J to know that I am there for him, and that I will always be there when he needs me. I want him to feel safe and secure and loved.
I love my son. I love holding him, rocking him, singing to him, kissing him. I love snuggling him to sleep at night and reassuring him. He has said that he needs this, and I have been happy to meet his needs.
But now, he has started to awaken through the night, to refuse to be put down to sleep at all, and to demand constant cuddles. H and I can't get any sleep, and we can't help but feel that our son should not sleep in the bed with us, even though he really wants to and we don't particularly mind cuddling him all night long.
Tonight, I read J some books before bed. Then I cuddled him and his teddy bears until he was nice and calm. And then I picked him up and moved him to his crib, despite his protests. I laid him down, kissed his head, said goodnight, and left the room. And J screamed.
I went downstairs and cried.
J is still in his crib, quiet but awake. He has been quiet but awake for quite some time now. My child does not know how to fall asleep on his own, because I have failed to teach him. And I feel emotionally drained and like a bad parent, because I have failed him in this.
Tonight, I will not pick up J when he awakens. I will hold my ground. I will not be manipulated by my child.
And it will hurt. And I will cry. But at the end of the night, God willing, I will emerge victorious. I will be the parent in this scenario.
But all I will want to do is hold my son and comfort him ... it's going to be a long night ...