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Role Reversal

Friday night, Maddie had a bad dream.

Saturday morning, she told me she didn’t want me to leave for
work. Apparently, in her dream I left and didn’t come back,
and she was afraid her dream would come true. Getting myself
disentangled from her was a bit difficult and she was crying
quietly when I left.

The rest of the day seemed to go just fine, but then nighttime
came. As soon as we made our way towards the bed, Maddie started
tensing up and worrying. She spent the entire reading time stuck to
my side like a leech, saying she was worried her dream would come
back. I snuggled for a long time and finally left. Ten minutes
later, she began calling for me. Mom went in instead, and
eventually came downstairs saying, “Yeah, you’re going
to have to go in. She’s crying, she’s so

I lay with Maddie for an hour, telling
stories, rubbing her feet, singing songs, and snuggling silently.
She finally fell asleep, and as she snored I eased out from under
her and crept to the door. Walking out the door, I heard a small
whimper. I turned back, and Maddie was sitting up in bed, crying
and trying hard to swallow her tears.

Round two – snuggling silently the whole time. I kept
stealing glances, and she was lying there wide awake. Eventually I
said, “Honey, why aren’t you going to sleep?”

“I just can’t – I don’t know why. I keep
thinking about things I don’t usually think about, and
worrying, and can’t stop.”

After two hours, I gave in and let her come sleep with me. Yes, for
the first time in her life, Maddie slept the whole night in our

I told Maddie to stay in her room for a bit while I got ready for
bed, and when I came back she was still wide awake and bolt
upright. As she snuggled into my bed she instantly relaxed and was
asleep before I even got the sheet pulled up.

I’ve never been big on co-sleeping, partly because I worry
that I won’t know how to stop it, how to get the child back
to her own bed. Fortunately for me, I have two pretty independent
girls and they’ve never begged to sleep with us. But Saturday
night Maddie clearly needed it and I refused to look past that
night. I won’t say it was amazing – I sure missed
snuggling up to Brian in the night – but I did enjoy having
my girl to breathe in all night long. And I was happy I could give
her some peace of mind.

So for now, Cora’s the good sleeper in the family, which as
you know is saying a lot.


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