On occasion, my girls will cry out in the night. A bad dream, a sister tossing an arm across another sister’s face, these little things make them cry out but usually, those cries settle quickly and all is well.
I learned a long time ago if they cry out and keep crying, it’s best to firmly say, “It’s okay. You’re okay. It’s just a dream.”
They settle and I can go back to sleep.
There were a few times in the beginning with both girls that I tried to soothe when the crying began. That always led to more tears, harder cries. I have no idea why but gentleness on my part just escalated their cries. No matter how much I tried to shush them or snuggle them or tell them I was there and it was okay, they didn’t seem to want that comfort while sleeping.
So last weekend while at the hotel at Purdue University when Olivia cried out in her sleep, I told her she was fine and to go back to sleep.
But she didn’t. She continued to cry.
I kept telling her everything was okay. Finally, I said, quite firmly, “Olivia, knock it off, you’re fine. Go to sleep.”
And she did. But I wonder…I think next time, if the first, “It’s okay, you’re fine” doesn’t work, I’m going to try a little gentleness and heck, even hold her for a bit to see if that’s what she needs.
I was tired that night and experience told me she just needed a firm assurance that I was there and she was fine.
But we were in a strange room and even though she was lying right next to me, my back was to her (why didn’t I roll over? I don’t know!) and maybe she just needed me to hold her for a few minutes. It wouldn’t have meant I had to drag my lazy butt out of bed so…live and learn, is what I’m saying, I guess.