During one of those wee night hours, I was holding three weeks old Goldi – feeling the wake up call of Mommyhood. It wasn’t a realization of what I was in for. It wasn’t even the ” you’re gonna be up all night for the rest of your life” wake up call. It was the I can’t console her call. Goldi was not settling down.
As a former babysitter of about 30 years ago, I knew several tricks. Tapping on a window to distract. Swinging and bouncing. I felt so confident of handling anything when it came to calming and consoling. But alas none had the slightest effect. As a good mom, I checked the Baby Manuel. It was the number one book recommended by Pediatricians of America. Could be gas. Could be fever. Could be brain tumor. Reading that was worse than researching for a diagnosis on Google. NOT a thing to do when it is 2 am and your mind is at a bad emotional state.
I tried all the lullabies in the sweet dream repetrior- Hush Little Baby, Rock a bye Baby, …The Battle Hymn of the Republic. I am not kidding about the last one. Babysat for a kid when I was 16 and sang it to him. Worked like a charm. My kid? Nada!Finally, I sat holding her underneath the bathroom fan and fell asleep. I was sunk! I thought.
Weeks turned to months as we worked to get Goldi a sweet dream night. We tried beautiful lullaby music, a snuggely, a pacifier, a white noise machine, — everything suggested by one of those No Cry Sleep Solution books.
Sleeping seemed like a real luxery. It seemed like something so out of reach. It seemed too like the beginning of something. Something we could not yet put our finger on. It wasn’t just a cry . It was a loud cry for help. Though we didn’t know then, it was as though Goldi was warning us that she had arrived, –Goldi our girl who needed things “just right”.
These sleepless nights foreshadowed more “screams” to come. As a mom, I didn’t picture upsets over eating a cheeseburger, learning to talk, play dates, car washes, new outfits with the tags still on them, and things so unusually and unexpectedly scary like -a toddler exploring the world.
Sometimes I picture myself holding baby Goldi closely and tightly and singing her a different lullaby:
Hush Little Goldi, don’t you cry
God put the stars and the moon in the sky
To calm our worries and stop our wonder whys
And if you shed more tears though I sing
Remember with God all things possible- yes, anything!
And though there’s grief and you just want to scream
God gave you dear child an extra sunbeam
To light up this world with your own special touch
And proclaim to all the world that God loves us very much
And if your light ever turns to dark,
God give you grace to make you happy as a lark.
Cause without God’s Little Masterpiece you must see
What a silly, sorry, crazy, awful world, it would be!
“Dear God, please give me a good , favorite sleep.” she now prays. There are no screams or worries. There are few sleepless nights. Since knowing of her autism, knowing she has reason for crying, knowing cause for worry and more sleepless nights, we sing this new lullaby- one that hushes us and causes just that- a peaceful, restful sleep- beyond our understanding because it comes from above. It’s just a really good favorite sleep.