After we put the girls to bed, we usually have -- oh -- ten to fifteen minutes of relative quiet. Then, on about one night in three lately, the Bean will holler at the top of her lungs for one of us to come to her. I don't know if she drifts off to almost-sleep before some need or other jerks her awake, or if she's still awake and just seizes upon an excuse for company.
Sometimes it's an accusatory "YOU FORGOT! to put lotion on my hands/put Chap-Stick on my lips/any number of other things" in which case I reply that we can do it in the morning, so go to sleep, you! Other times, her need is more emotional, less defined, and worth paying real attention to. Those moments before sleep seem to give her worries a voice.
Last night, when her frantic cry had me pause Ocean's 13 (grr) and dash up two flights of stairs, it turned out she was sad because "I really miss my friends a LOT!" We talked about how many days are left of school vacation (and believe me, you aren't the only one counting 'em, kid). She was glad to know it, but still distraught. "It's all mixed up," she said. "When I'm at school, I really want to be with you! When I'm at home, I miss my friends! It's all mixed up!"
It's OK to feel that way, I said. It means you like being at home and being at school, and that's good! And it's normal to miss people who make you feel happy. I feel mixed up too sometimes, I said. When I go on a Big Trip to see my friends, I'm always excited to go, and really glad to visit them. But as soon as I'm out of the driveway, I already miss my Bean. So sometimes grown-ups feel that way, too.
But oh, that Bean! She doesn't like mixed-upness. She really wants to feel things in the right order. She's a reflective, sensitive child, but she doesn't like her emotions out of control.
And she's so like me, it just floors me sometimes. I've been observing this since she was 12 months old, putting crayons in a box in deliberate order, all point up. I see so many similarities in our personalities that I'm extra careful not to project, or to just assume we are alike, but how much clearer could it be when she says "Mommy, I just like the days to be the way they usually are!"?
She likes vacation, yeah yeah, but she's positively jonesing for her routine. I understand, Bean, I do. One regular schedule, returning shortly!
I just ache for her when she feels like this. I want to give her tools that make it easier for her to go with the flow. The world is so much kinder to people who can just roll with stuff! But I know full well, having the personality I do, how hard it can be to "let go and let be," or whatever the saying is. See, I'm so disinclined to it, I don't even know the saying!
In the meantime, I thought it would be good to breach the school/home divide. This morning I told the Bean she could choose any friend to invite over on Monday. She chose Kevin, her "favorite boy friend." Kevin's daddy says he (Kevin) has been asking about the Bean, too. Ruh-roh ;).