It started two nights ago. I was on my own because my husband was on a business trip. The girls had gone to sleep with nary a complaint and I was settling into a night of peace and quiet. I happily puttered around the house, tidying up, preparing for the next day, and catching up on emails. I soaked in the tub, finished a magazine and turned off the lights. All was well and right in the Valentini household that night…until 1:30 a.m.
I was awoken by increasingly louder shouts of “Mommy. Mommy. Mommy! Mommy, my choo-choo. I want my choo-choo back. Mommy, come in here!” I shot out of bed and instinctively navigated the dark hallway to my two-year-old’s bedroom. There I dug her pacifier (choo-choo) out from under her and turned to go back to my room. “Can I have a drink?” she asked me before I could close the door. Sigh. “Ok. I’ll be right back.” Since Sophia had never asked me for a drink in the middle of the night before, I figured she must really be thirsty. So, downstairs to the kitchen I went to retrieve the requested water and back up to her room. As I scooted back to my bed, I innocently thought we were done for the night.
Then came 3:30 a.m. and an EXACT repeat of my earlier wake-up call. Angry this time, I was slow to respond, and really, the only reason I did was fear that her shouts would wake up my one-year-old. Sophia had already found her pacifier by the time I came to her crib, but she again asked for a drink. This time my answer was “no,” I closed the door behind me, and much tantrum-like crying ensued. Still afraid that my younger one would wake up, I went back to Sophia’s room for a third time to put an end to the crying. This time I tried to get her to understand that “Mommy is sleeping too and can’t come get your choo-choo for you or give you a drink in the middle of the night.” She responded to this explanation with silence and I took it to mean she was digesting what I had said.
It was an hour later, at 4:30 a.m., that the baby started crying for her pacifier. “You have got to be kidding me” is what raged in my head. In the morning, I wrote the night off as being just an anomaly. But the next night, I was again called out of bed twice to plop pacifiers back into little, but loud mouths. I realized this morning that I have become the Midnight Pacifier Fairy called upon by tiny humans in distress to fetch and retrieve their plastic soother. (Yes, it SHOULD send shudders down your back.)
I disdain my new job title but I’m not sure how I can shun the responsibilities. I just know that I have to find a way. Any semblance of having a functioning brain, even claiming my mommy-damaged brain, during the day depends upon it. Yet, I tremble at the thought of dumping the pacifiers and having crying, non-sleeping kids. All roads lead back to the parental adage– pay now or pay later. (In fact, my blogging friend Mandy also recently pined about her “pay later” struggle with a different sleep aid. We all have our parenting crutches. It just hurts when we have to “walk” without them.)