It was unexpected and I was unprepared. Despite the fact that a few months ago Josie, said she wanted to have a sleepover with her cousins, I hadn’t prepared my brain for the reality of this actually happening.
Although she is only weeks away from turning 3, she is technically still a 2 year old and still my baby in my mind. In almost three years, I haven’t slept a night without her snuggled up in my arms. Yes, we are major co-sleepers and always have been. Not only does she not sleep in her own room, (We gave up on that fantasy and moved her bed back into our room where it is butted up against our bed co-sleeper style) but she doesn’t even lay in that bed. Her and I sleep in the bed together and David sleeps on the couch. In my mind, the order of things would’ve been; 1. Get a bigger bed so we can all be together, 2. Move her bed back into her room. 3. She’ll start sleeping alone. 4. She’ll be ready to sleepover with family.
Last weekend, her 11 year old and 7 year old cousins stayed over. At the end of the visit when their mom came to pick them up, they announced that they are no longer just cousins, they’re SISTERS! Melted my heart. What more could I want for my only child than to have big sisters. Then they started begging their mom for Josie to come home with them and stay over. My selfish mind had been looking forward to having her all to myself again and started throwing out excuses of why she shouldn’t go. ”Maybe another time”, “Maybe next week”, Is this too much on a Sunday night?” But David was casual, as he watered the lawn, “Why not, It’s going to happen sooner or later?” Umm, I was thinking, later.
I asked Josie if she wanted to go, and without even looking up from her water painting answered, “Uh huh.” So, in my pretend casual demeanor, I said, “Umm, ok.” In a flash, her older cousin was already packing everything she needed in her Lalaloopsy bag. She thought of everything. Toothbrush, toothpaste, overnight diapers, extra undies, outfit for tomorrow, hairbrush, special pillow, bikini. Then there I was, standing on the sidewalk watching my baby drive away with her cousins.
Instantly, David and I both felt an uncomfortable freedom. An awkward feeling, like you don’t know what to do with your arms. He tried to busy himself with yardwork– watering random things. I walked around and around in the house. Not sure how to feel or what to do and settled on the task of calling my mom. She assured me that Josie would be fine and that I went on my first sleepover at 26 months. I liked hearing that, but still was uneasy since I also slept in my own room and own bed at that age. I was just so afraid Josie didn’t understand what she signed up for.
Free from someone demanding my constant attention, and being told what to do ; “I’m thirsty! Is that cold water?! I need ice! Not that cup! My show is over! Look at this! Look at that! Look at me! Look what I’m doing, LOOK, LOOK, LOOK! My brain worked on all the horrible scenarios. What if she wakes up crying in the middle of the night?! What if the new puppy knocks her down the stairs!
My only strategy to stay sane was the fact that I would be going to work that night and would have the distraction of hungry diners demanding my constant attention. “I need water!, I need more ice! Do you have a cold pint glass! Where’s my miso soup! Look at all this pepper in my macaroni and cheese! LOOK, LOOK, LOOK!
Also, I made good use of text messaging technology to keep me reassured. My sister in law texted me pics of her eating dinner, dressed as a pink princess snuggling with the new puppy, and updates of when they went to sleep, where and how they were sleeping, that they were still asleep at 10 pm, still asleep at 11 pm as well as her previous promise that if Josie wasn’t doing ok, she would just bring her home. A simple assurance that didn’t immediately occur to my crazy mom brain.
I came home to David, sleeping on the couch, feeling at a loss without her. He’s used to his routine of falling asleep snuggling with her in his arms. I wasn’t even sure he was going to come to bed, but he did eventually and slept horribly, fearing a late night text to come save her.
So here I am. It’s 10 am and my 7:30 am riser is still asleep, snuggled with two cousins. We survived ( David and I, Josie probably thrived!) and I wouldn’t be surprised if when I eventually go pick her up that she won’t want to go home.