Thursday, July 23, 2009

DCMM: Tough Decision: Sleep or My Child?

It was 2:30 in the morning when I was faced with one of life's difficult parenting choices. My oldest had gone to bed feeling sick—no doubt due to the three hot dogs he'd consumed at a basketball game we'd gone to. Now he was crying out in distress.

I was tired. Very, very tired. Because, you know, it was two thirty in the morning. He let out a whiny cry once, then twice. Then he fell silent. And I was left with my decision: go back to sleep or go check on him.

The argument for sleep was strong. Mostly because I was really tired. Also, that child is a little bit of a drama king. He's been known to whine loudly for no good reason. And he didn't sound too upset. I had just decided that I would go back to sleep unless I heard him call out again when all the reasons for checking on him started to run through my head.

What if he felt really bad and was too weak to call out again or come to my bedroom? What if he'd thrown up and was choking to death on his vomit? What if he was sick and sad and needed some parental love?

Unfortunately, my husband could sleep through a nuclear strike, so waking him up wasn't an option.

With a big sigh, I rolled out of bed and walked to my son's room. When last I'd seen him, he was sleeping on the floor curled in a blanket. (Don't judge me.) He wasn't there, but his blanket was.

I checked the couch to see that he had moved there. He was curled up without his blanket.

I returned to his room, got his blanket, and put it over his chilled body. I gave him a kiss on his forehead, and he rolled over, already almost asleep again. I returned to my bed and tossed and turned for an hour, unable to fall asleep again—status quo for me when I'm woken up in the middle of the night.

I mean, I guess I'm glad I went to check on him. An hour of my life in the middle of the night is not a huge price to pay when it means a moment of comfort for my young son and his tummy ache. And no amount of sleep is worth having something avoidable happen to my son (you know, the vomit choking).

But, oy, do I miss that hour of sleep.

Original DC Metro Moms Blog post.

Jean writes more about the parenting choices she makes at Stimeyland.

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