We’ve all heard the saying “never wake a sleeping baby,” right?

But what if you gently wake them?

In all my parenting fails—and there are a lot of them—sometimes I wake my kids up. Sure, they’re not babies anymore, but sometimes it has to happen. Especially when you value night time sleep and naps and know that they thrive on a schedule.

We often have to wake Archer for school—which is starting again this week—and I always try to gently wake him. Unlike my uncle Cameron, who used to wake us with the stereo turned up full-blast, bag pipes echoing through the house in a painful fashion until the three of us girls, myself and my cousins Lisa and Heather, woke begrudgingly. We were much older then than Archer is now, but the memory does make me laugh. I have a feeling that my kids are going to take after their father and be quite difficult to wake. To put it lightly. So, I cannot say for certain that I won’t resort to bag pipes through the speakers.

Toddler Playing on Floor with Lego

Maverick, who is still 2, naps most days, though he has definitely been skipping naps here and there recently. In an effort to keep their bedtimes consistent—see note about returning to school above—I had to wake him up from his already late nap the other day.

A few weeks ago I also woke him from his nap. It did not go well.

I basically scared the shit out of the kid.

I tried to rub his back, a move that always wakes Archer in a gentle way, and he woke up so scared. He didn’t recognize me and started to panic. He had no clue where he was. There weren’t even any tears, which I would have felt bad enough about. He was just scared!

 

I was afraid to scare him again, so when I went in there on Sunday afternoon, I pulled the curtain a little first, to let some light in. And I rubbed his back in small, slow circles. I whispered to him that it was time to wake up.

He barely flinched.

I began to rub his head as I watched him sleep, and I felt an unexpected calm wash over me. We were lucky to have our baby, safe in his big boy bed, away from the terrors of the world as it stands right now. I was so grateful, taking in his round, warm cheeks, feeling his soft hair as I stroked it in another effort to gently wake him.

He liked that, actually, and I swear I saw a little hint of a smile on his face. (I am the same … always down for a head rub.)

Love is Love is Love

He proceeded to roll over, facing towards me, and I continued to rub his back. I think at this point he was starting to wake up and was, thankfully, not scared like he had been the first time, weeks ago. I kept whispering, it’s time to wake up Bubba, and seconds later he shot up onto his bum, clutching his favourite stuffy, looking for the second pal that changes on a near daily basis. Pooh Bear is constantly at his side when we are home, and after this nap his second guy was a giraffe—Giraffe Dan. Aptly named when we took Archer to Croatia with us back in 2015.

The giraffe was the first stuffy we introduced Archer to so that he would have something familiar on our first big adventure away from his crib. We were on the long flight from Vancouver to Frankfurt and we dropped the giraffe on the airplane floor (heaven forbid if that were to happen these days. Yikes). Either Brad or myself said “giraffe down” and the guy sitting next to me turned and asked if the giraffe’s name was Dan? Wasn’t that funny because it was his name, too! We laughed and the name stuck. Girraffe Dan was born. Archer never really took to Giraffe Dan, not like Maverick has to Pooh Bear, but the name stuck and now he is one of Maverick’s bed mates.

For whatever reason on Sunday, Maverick wanted Giraffe Dan when he woke up, and when I pointed out that he was sitting on the giraffe, he giggled and took the stuffy from me when I pulled him from under the covers.

It was such a simple moment, one that I cherished at the time and am still carrying with me days later. With Archer in school this week it’s just me and my little buddy at home right now, with Brad working downstairs. And while I’ve been a bit perturbed at the myriad of covid-disturbances, that moment, these moments, are truly what it’s all about.

Costumes, Lollipops and a Movie

So what if I have to get my writing done on Saturday nights after the kids are in bed instead of watching a movie with my husband. Or if I’m doing the same thing a few nights each week, too, and as much as I can when Maverick is napping, or at least resting in his bed.

I am growing, every day, as a person and a mom—a wife and friend, too, but those aren’t the focus of what I’m feeling proud about today—and when I can take the time to just be Mom, to care and gently wake my son, I am so very content.

Now if they’d just keep up with the theme in return and maybe even not wake me at all on the weekends, we’d be good! Just kidding. I’m happy for now that they went downstairs last Saturday and watched a show. Archer even got them each a bowl of cereal. Their small bit of independence makes me proud.

And I am happy for it.

Cheerios and Paw Patrol for the win,

Anya

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