I was in deep sleep when I heard Kah Yen crying suddenly from her baby cot, in the middle of the night. It must be a nightmare again. I quickly got up and walked to her. I hugged her and gave her some water to sooth her down then put her down to bed again.
I thought I could get back to my bed like usual days when she wakes up for water and goes back to sleep on her own. But today no, she cried at my first attempt to leave her. The nightmare must have scared her. Sigh... Looks like I had no choice but to pat her to sleep.
I stood by her cot, patted her back while singing softly a lullaby. It must be 2 or 3am. I was extremly sleepy myself and could hardly keep my eyes open. The singing soon became humming and it slowly faded. The room was both dark and quiet. I continued to pat her while testing if she had fallen asleep. You know the test every mother knows how to do? You pat and then stroke and then lighter and slower and then you try to leave your hand up in the air, and you start counting 123. When you count to 10 there is still no movement from the baby, she is aleep. If the moment your hand stops in middle air she tosses, you need to pat a few minutes longer to test again. The worst is when your hand stops she turns to your direction and opens her eyes to look at you, she is not even near to falling asleep yet, you can forget about going back to sleep in the next half an hour. In fact if there a coffee machine nearby you might as well get a cup to stand by. I tried a few times and everytime she moved when I stopped, so I continue patting.
About 20 minutes later she finally went back to sleep. I counted from 1 to 10 and back to 1 again and there was not a single sound from her. Relived, I climbed back to my own bed and snuggled under my warm blanket. I didn't want to check what was the time. You sleep a whole lot better when you pretend you still have a long night before you.
However, I barely lay down for more than a minute when I heard some movement and murmur from her bed again. And her voice soon travelled to my ear, "drink water, mummy, drink water". Sigh...Didn't I get give her water when I put her down? Why didn't she drink a bit more? I thought she had already fallen asleep? When I think of having to pat her for another half an hour again, I was very reluctant to get up. And I thought of the alarm clock silently waiting to greet me good morning at 630am. I was almost sure I won't be able to get up on time and I will be late for work again....With such a heavy heart I dragged my body off my bed and went to pass her the water bottle.
What happened next was totally surprising, but it was surely sweet. And it is the reason why I take such length to write this article. My 22-month-old girl, after drinking her water and passing back to me the bottle, pointed at my bed and said "Mummy sleep". With that, she lied down on her bed and turned her back towards me, comfortably and contentedly.
Ah this little girl, she surely knows how to warm my heart. How she learnt to be so sensible? I certainly have not taught her to be so. Maybe it is just a once-off thing, but at that moment, I felt such a privilege and honor to be a mum.