A Letter To My Toddler After She Goes To Sleep

Dearest Baby Girl,

As I creep back into your room after you’ve fallen asleep tonight, I just want to scoop you back up into my arms and rock for a little while longer. I stare at your pouty lips and remember how they used to move like you were drinking, not so long ago. Watching your full belly rise and fall as you peacefully dream, I remember feeling your every breath as you would sleep in my arms, not so long ago. I stroke your sweaty hair and rosy cheeks and remember your tiny features, not so long ago. The truth is, you’re not so little anymore, and you’re further and further from being a baby as the days continue to fly by.

You’ll always be my baby though–don’t ever forget that.

Now that you’re older, we’re learning so much about you as you learn about the world. You’re independent and have a strong will like your mama. You are curious and compassionate like your dada. You say everything we say and copy our every moves. You’re a sponge, as they say, and amaze us every day with new things you learn. With all of your personality bottled up in a cute toddler body, there are inevitable tantrums, and there are “no’s,” and there are times mommy is just exhausted.

After you fall asleep at night, I’m usually relieved. You fight hard to keep your eyes open as late as you can, because you don’t want to miss a thing. But once you’re dreaming alone in your crib, I can’t help but miss you and wonder if I gave you the best of me today.

I wonder if I taught you enough, played enough, loved you enough.

It’s not until now, when the house is quiet and you’re sleeping soundly that I’m able to reflect on my job for the day.

You see, you’re not so little anymore and things are different now. Different in a fun and challenging way. You know what you want and when you want it. And you’re able to tell us with a few words now! But I know there are moments when you can’t understand why I’m telling you no. Someday when you’re a mommy, I trust that you’ll understand.

I know there are moments that I am so busy and have full hands and just can’t pick you up. I hope you know it doesn’t mean I don’t want you near me. There are also moments I get frustrated with you and tell you in my sternest voice that we only throw balls, not remotes. Especially not at peoples’ heads. I suppose years from now that will all make sense too.

There were times today when I looked down at my phone too long instead of up watching you explore. There were times I could have picked you up instead of asking you to sit at the table like a big girl. I’m sure there were opportunities to teach you lessons, but I was too tired and stressed and frustrated to try.

You may think I’m super-mom for now, but…spoiler alert: I’m only human.

I have to give myself grace, or I’d torture myself on not being everything you needed today. I need to give you grace too, because I sometimes forget how little you really are. Sometimes we won’t agree and sometimes you wont understand why we have to say no. But it’s because I love you more than I ever thought was humanly possible, and I want to help make you the best person you can be. You’ll get it someday.

You see, today was so great because it was full of you. Through our laughs and tears, we’re both learning and loving and figuring life out. I’ll try to be better tomorrow when I’m loving you, playing with you, and teaching you. I’ll trust, too, that someday you’ll understand the love, the exhaustion, and the reason for my “no’s”. Maybe someday when you’re a mom of your first toddler, too.

As my mommy always told me: Happy dreams! I love you. See you in the morning, sweetheart.

Love, Mom


 

Kaitlin was born and raised in small-town Center Point, Iowa and grew up across town from her high school sweetheart, Jordan. They didn’t go far as they both attended Coe College in Cedar Rapids, getting married just a month after graduating. They now live in Marion with their 1 year old daughter, Ella, and Golden Retriever, Millie. With a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a passion to teach and help others, Kaitlin is studying at the University of Iowa in the Masters of Teaching Science program. When she’s not in class or teaching piano lessons from her home, her favorite thing in life is staying home with her daughter. If she can ever find a spare minute, she also enjoys the outdoors, scrapbooking, cooking, party planning and German chocolate cake. Though life is jam-packed right now, she wouldn’t have it any other way!

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