Right around the girls' second birthday, they apparently decided to stop liking their cribs. They have never been great nappers or nighttime sleepers, but putting them down for a nap or bedtime was always very easy. Maybe 1 night a month I would try to put them to bed too early and they would cry, but otherwise they'd kiss me, lie down, and go to sleep. I knew I had trouble when that stopped working, and putting them into their cribs became very much like trying to put a cat in a tub of water.
We had a thick tempurpedic mattress pad that used to be on our bed, so we put that on the floor in their room, and they slept on it much more happily than they did in their cribs. About a month ago it was obvious that we weren't going back to the cribs, so we took the plunge. Ryan and I bought a king size bed for ourselves, and gave the girls our queen.
Things are a lot better. The only problem is now they won't go to sleep on their own - I have to be in the room. And I have to lie down between them. And it has to be me. They will pretend to let Daddy put them to bed, but when the lights go out, they scream for Mommymommymommy.
Most of the time I am OK with this. It takes 5-10 minutes for naps, 10-25 minutes for bedtime, usually. Sometimes I find it incredibly frustrating (mostly if they are hyper and can't calm down, so I am in there too long) and I have to work really really hard not to become mean Mommy.
Sometimes, though, the simple act of putting them down for a nap becomes pure bliss. I don't know why, but today everything was perfect. Lilly said she wanted to snuggle, so she rolled onto her belly and flung her arm around my neck. Katie just wanted to lie on her back with her hand on my arm. I could tell Lilly was asleep halfway through the 2nd song on their lullabye CD (a beautiful Celtic compilation, by the way, given to us by Karen and her son Neil William).
I turned to look at Katie, and her eyes were flickering up and down, and I could see she was looking at the picture on the wall in front of the bed. (It's a picture I drew in elementary school, of a cat, and my Mom gave it to me right before I got pregnant, so now it's framed in their room.) I watched her eyes open and close a few times, and she didn't notice me at all, so I continued to gaze as her eyelids gently closed for real, and she relaxed into sleep.
And then I lay there for another 5 minutes, sobbing uncontrollably. They are so beautiful, so precious, and I am so lucky to have them healthy and alive and lively as they are. The moments when that realization hits me are some of the most perfect I've ever experienced.