Mar 24, 2016

Dear Talitha {nine months}

Dear Talitha,

You still sleep in your Pack N Play.

It started as a necessity. We moved when you were not yet four months old, and we didn't know if you would sleep well in the same room as your sister. Your Pack N Play served as your bed in those weeks we were traveling back and forth between Arizona and California. You've slept in it at grandma's house, friends' houses, here and there. You've slept in the guest room, the laundry room, the downstairs bathroom. I tried to move you into your crib a few months ago, but the east-facing windows in the nursery were causing you to wake up too early. I surrendered. I decided you would continue to sleep in the Pack N Play until my dissertation was finished. I couldn't deal with any baby sleep transitions during such an intense season of work.

Finally, last night I decided it was time. I jimmy-rigged the world's best black out shade to mostly cover the two windows above your crib. I told Zianne that you were spending the night in her room. She was thrilled. You are an excellent sleeper, and I didn't predict any problems.

And then you cried. And cried. And cried. I went in to settle you the first time. Your pacifier had fallen through the slats and onto the floor. I re-positioned you and walked out again, apologizing to Z, who didn't really seem to mind. Within minutes you were screaming again. Not the little whimpers I sometimes hear for a few moments before you fall asleep. You were bawling, screeching almost. I walked back in to find you standing up in your crib. I think I confused you. Up until now, your crib has been your play place. I set you in there once or twice a day with some toys while I change your sister or put laundry away. To you, the crib is for standing, rolling, playing. Not sleeping.

I gave up again and transferred you back to your beloved Pack N Play, where you sleep at the foot of the guest bed. Your dad has taped up a picture of the alphabet to the outside of the mesh, so you can practice reading if you wake up early. You sleep in your tiny 3x2 foot bed like a champ, curled up in a ball in the corner, with little more than foam-covered cardboard as your mattress. You like it this way.

And I have to laugh. Zianne slept in her crib at exactly 10 weeks of age and has hardly slept anywhere since, unless we are travelling. She loves to be in her crib with her lovey and her doll and her blanket spread just so. I changed her pillowcase the other day, and she got upset that it was a different color than usual. Thankfully, her white case had already made it through the dryer, so we were able to switch it back and avoid a toddler sleeping crisis.

Even I am particular about where I sleep. I prefer my mattress firm. My sheets must be cotton, not synthetic. I like a fan on in the bathroom to serve as subtle white noise. And I do not, for any reason, want kids in my room, which is why you sleep in various other places around the house, but not near me except as a last resort.

But you... I suppose we could say you are picky because you prefer a portable bed to your beautiful gray crib. But it's more that you are are so flexible and easy-going that you wouldn't have it any other way. You are okay with driving six hours across the desert. You are okay with taking naps in the downstairs bathroom. You are okay with eating random scraps from our dinner because I never seem to have healthy baby food ready for you when you need it. You are my second-born. My slightly shy, very active, go-with-the-flow baby. And, therefore, you love your pack n play.

I'm sure you will sleep in your beautiful crib someday. You might even have a preference about your pillowcase or the way I wrap the blanket around you just so. But for now, you will sleep in your pack n play. You will curl up in the corner, mesh against your face, and sleep the night away on your cardboard mattress. You have a thing or two to teach me about contentment, and I can't wait to learn from you my whole life through.


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