Monday, October 18, 2010

Snuggling to Sleep

Every once in a while, Ryan goes through a bout of insomnia, or at least restless, light sleep. He goes to bed at his usual time, but at around midnight he gets restless and whines or cries a bit. Most of the time he settles himself down fairly quickly, but every once in a while I have to go in and snuggle him for a few minutes to get him back to sleep. And last night was one of those nights.

When I went in, he was flopping around like he just couldn’t get comfortable, so I picked him up and sat in the rocking chair with him. He snuggled right up against my neck and clung to me tightly, as if to say, “Thank goodness you’re here. Now I can sleep.” He still wriggled a bit, trying his head on this side and then that, tucking his legs up under him and then stretching them out, but after a few minutes he settled in to a comfortable spot. He was still awake, but I could feel his body relaxing as he calmed down. I stroked his hair and his back, and sang to him very quietly until I could hear his breathing fall into a slow, rhythmic pattern and I felt him grow heavy on my shoulder as he fell back to sleep. I carefully put him back in his crib and tiptoed back into bed.

For the past few days, I’ve been a bit of a restless sleeper myself, since Herb was out of town visiting his daughter at college. I never sleep as well when he’s not there. So when I got back into bed, I was happy to snuggle up to him and as he sleepily stroked my back and I listened to his quiet breathing, it occurred to me that Ryan and I both prefer having a bit of company when we’re trying to sleep. I guess there’s something deeply, primally comforting about having someone you trust completely by your side when you sleep. The human body instinctively feels safety in numbers, especially when it’s vulnerable and sleeping. There’s someone else to sense danger, and to help protect you if attacked. There’s warmth to be shared when two bodies are close together. It’s natural to be more relaxed and secure when there’s someone sleeping beside you.

So as much as I want Ryan to be able to get to sleep (and get back to sleep) on his own, I can hardly complain if he needs me to snuggle him to sleep every now and then. After all, he apparently gets it from his mother.

Bookmark and Share