Sunday, August 30, 2009

Emily's mountain

Emily Rose has been busy of late. She is climbing a steep, rugged mountain, of sorts. You see, since the age of 6 months old, she has fallen asleep with the help of her security blanket, AND her binky. Confined to her crib only, the pacifier was never a cause for worry. Middle-of-the-night wakings never resulted in us having to get up and find the binky, which would inevitably end up on the floor. I surmised that she used it on average a total of thirty minutes per day, between her nap and bedtime.

Lately, I noticed she was asking for it when she got hurt, and when we had to speak to her with a firm tone. Experts recommend that pacifiers only be used for sleeping, and that they be given up by three-years-old. I decided she needed to give it up now; for the first time the addiction was getting out of control.

A few hours before a recent nap, I mentioned that her binky was lost. Further, I informed her that because binkies were actually for babies, it was time for her to say goodbye to her binky. She was, after all, a big girl now. My sweet Emily Rose always agrees that, yes, she is a big girl. I ended with, "So is that okay with you, Rose? Can you say goodbye to your binky now?"

"No, Mommy. I need my binky." She then went on with her play. I reminded her again, about thirty-minutes later, that she was going to take her nap without her binky. She didn't respond, but just kept on playing.

Fast forward to naptime. I went through the naptime routine, then stuck around to aid in the transition a bit. She tossed and turned, crying over and over, "My binky, my binky!" Eventually, she even tossed a soft doll at me, in frustration.

But the whole affair lasted only forty minutes. We prayed together for help from Jesus, many times. I stayed for the first twenty, and she toughed out another twenty minutes, before falling asleep on her own. Everyone in the family did happy dances for her, after this hard-fought nap. Except Daddy. He is too cool for happy dances, you know.

I was thrilled, I tell you. My fear was that giving up the binky would mean no more naps. But God knows my needs right now.

Four consecutive times she has successfully fallen asleep without her binky. After two times, we made her a goodbye-binky cake. After the fourth time, we celebrated with ice cream cones. And each time, there were more happy dances, in which the boys and Anna were eager to participate. During these happy dances, Emily would jump up, with her hands in the air, and proclaim, "Imma BIG girl now!" This is a familiar little dance. My sweet girl does it after every successful potty trip, and after she dresses herself or puts on her shoes. It will surely be one of my most powerful memories, as I look back on my early years with this blessing of a daughter. I still have to pinch myself over the fact that I actually HAVE daughters.

I am very proud of my sweet Emily Rose. That steep, jagged mountain has been met with strength and grace. The difficulty of her task was never lost on me.

Bittersweet it is, for Momma. Her security blanket--Emily's, not mine :)--no longer holds the same place in her heart, in the absence of her binky. They worked together these many months to comfort her little soul; rubbing on the satin tag of her blanket somehow isn't the same now. And when I check on her, I no longer see that precious blanket tucked near her face. Oh, how that hurts!

Daniel's special bunny was not given up until last year, at age six. And here my Emily Rose is going to give up her blanket, I fear, at age 2.5. Timothy's security was always just the breast, which he enjoyed as a sleep aid before bed and nap, for 2.5 years. He used it as a sleep aid in the middle of the night for a full two years. I don't know quite how I survived that, but it is a very distant memory now. The cruelty my Momma heart must endure! I don't care for distant memories, thank you very much. As much as a clean, orderly house and garden are alluring, my impending empty nest is not.

My rugged mountain is taking steps like these, to let my children go--coaxing them toward adulthood. I think Momma is having the harder time. She's asking for strength and grace too.

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