Where We Go Isn’t Important

My dear, sweet Katie,

We need to plan a family trip.  Not to see new and fun things.  But simply to stay in a hotel.

When you were a baby, your daddy and I worked to teach you how to sleep on your own.*  I didn’t nurse you to sleep.  We didn’t rock you to sleep.  And in no way was any of that easy for us.

We wanted to hold your tiny body while you slept.

We longed to breathe you in and listen to and memorize your infant noises.

But, we believed then, and still do, that it was more important that you learned how to sleep without us.

We kept you in a bassinet in our room until you were three months old and I would lie awake so many nights, just listening to the sound of your breathing and all of the other strange sounds that tiny babies make.

Moving you to your own room was one of the most heart-wrenching experiences that I’ve had as a mother. I remember placing you in your crib and coming downstairs, video monitor in hand, to watch you sleep.  And while I sat crying and watching you, you just slept.  The only tears that were shed were mine.

Whenever we travel, you sleep with us so that you don’t roll out of bed.  We went away a couple of weeks ago and those middle-of-the-night moments were my favorites of our entire time away.

Your sleeping body is just different than your awake body.  You are still and languorous.  Warm and squishy.  I can just take you in.  I can touch your hair, your cheek, hold you close, and listen to your sleeping sighs.

In those moments, you are my baby again.

I love knowing that you are beside me as I sleep. Opening my eyes in the morning and having you near reminds me of just how amazing this life truly is.

During your grandmother’s final days, we stayed in a hotel for a couple of weeks to be with her. The nights were often all that got us through the painful days.  Breathing you in recharged us, Katie.

There are nights when I would love to climb into your bed and snuggle with you.  But I don’t because I know that, ultimately, it’s not what’s best for you.

So, we need to plan a trip.

Where should we go?  The hotel down the street? Across town?  You pick.

Because, to me, where we go isn’t even remotely important.

I love you,


*Our sleep philosophy was the best choice for our family.  In no way do I believe that it is what’s best for all other families.


  1. Nichole, this is absolutely beautiful. You painted images with your words. It makes me want to sneak into my kids' rooms during their naps just to smell them.

    (Ok, I know that might sound weird, but I have a feeling you'll know what I mean.)

  2. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    Thank you, Angie.

    There's just something so magical about a sleeping child. I love that I can experience those moments from time to time.

    We break all sorts of rules when we stay in a hotel.
    Katie's favorite? Jumping on the bed. Shhh…don't tell anyone! :)

  3. C.mom lacaramma.com

    It is funny because just last night I walked out of my daughters room after checking on herm thinking that i love love love watching her sleep. At almost 6, her sleeping expression is still so baby like…. Thank you for putting this in words!

  4. Cheryl @ Mommypants mommypants.com

    This was so beautiful! X was in his crib in our room til he was just over a year, and I still miss him! When he was sick and came and slept with us for a few hours it was just heaven, despite his 105 fever. ;)

  5. cristina

    sleeping children are amazing.
    we coslept and for us, it was what worked, and I miss having my babies next to me all night long. Oh how I miss it, but I'm also enjoying having my bed back, and I'm sure the husband is too :)
    what a lovely post.

  6. Rachel mommyneedsavacation.com/

    We use the same sleep philosophy as you. Sleep on your own kiddo! But they are oh so sweet!!

  7. Natalie mommyofamonster.com

    I didn't use your sleep philosophy with Tater, and we are still having issues with his sleeping. I did do it with the twins, and they sleep like champs :)

    I love this post! I have a similar post I've been writing about kissing them when they sleep. Tater's to the age where he doesn't want me smooching all over him anymore. My baby is growing up :(

  8. I soooo wanted to go sleep in E's room last night, since I was up late watching ghost hunters and didn't want to go to bed alone (total whimp)! I'm with you on the co-sleeping thing! We were the same way with E from day one, but every now and then, we do cheat a little….

  9. I had to move Child A into the crib in his own room when he was only a couple of weeks old, because I could NOT sleep through his noises. (I still can't sleep through anything.)

    I'd bring him into bed with me when he woke up at 5 or 6 for his feeding, but if there was any chance of me getting any rest, he could not be next to me. He'd hiccup and I'd be awake, sure that he needed me.

    In general, he needs me a lot less than I think he does. ;)

  10. Kmama thedailydribbles.com

    I feel the same way. We are not a co-sleeping family, but I got to sleep with my 2 year old this past weekend when we went away and stayed at a hotel. He fell asleep each night in the crook of my arm. I loved it.

  11. I am gushing. What in incredibly touching post. It makes me wanna be a momma.

  12. Mari twitter.com/mootpoynt

    Loved this post on many levels, Nichole.

  13. This is so sweet. And so true. My boys are so precious and sweet and delicate when they sleep. They are mine in a way they aren’t when they are awake.

  14. That is a lovely letter. I miss those days. Now when they sleep, it's all about stealing the covers and kicking me in the middle of the night.

  15. bigmamacass bigmamacass.com

    Omg that made me cry. We are exactly the same. But Monkey just started having bad nightmares so he has been claims mbimg into bed with me more and more. That is so wonderful and i am too afraid to make him stop. Because before i know it he will be going off the college. Oh my goodness…lots of tears now. Why can’t they stay small forever???

  16. What a gorgeous post! We sleep with the kids on vacation, too, because my daughter is too big for a pack and play, and my son acts like they are made of needles. Of course, my son (9 months) still has trouble going to sleep on his own :( We thought if we worked on it from the beginning it would be easier than it was with our daughter, but he is just not an easy sleeper.

  17. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    They really do still look like babies.
    Would it be creepy to go into my daughter's room, late at night, and video tape her sleeping? No? Phew.

  18. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    Thank you so much…
    There's just something so soft about them when they're sleeping.
    So yummy.

  19. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    They really are so sweet. :)

  20. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    We are blessed with excellent sleepers and I believe that it's because we started from so early on.
    We missed out on a ton of those baby snuggles, but when it's bedtime and they go to bed awake and happy, I am reminded that we made a good choice for our family.

    And thank goodness it's the girls who sleep well!

  21. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    I look forward to her being just a bit older so that we can cheat here and there, maybe when her daddy is away on business, and she can sleep in my bed.

  22. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    Katie did make some crazy sounds. She was a gassy little thing and would grunt and groan to work it out.
    I would bet he actually needs you more than you think he does, just in a different way.

  23. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    Oh, I just love those snuggles and that moment when they drift off and just go limp and heavy.
    Just delicious!

  24. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    Just you wait. You'll be writing your own sappy stuff one day. :) Kids make you blissfully weak.

  25. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    Thank you, Mari.
    You've no idea how much that means to me.

  26. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    That's exactly what I was trying to say…that when she is sleeping, she is somehow more mine than when she is awake and I have to compete with her busyness.

    Thank you for stopping by and commenting, Shell. :)

  27. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    I can't tell you how often the thought of them going off to college nearly cripples me.
    I can't fathom it, but I know it will be here before I know it.
    We might need to form a support group.

  28. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    Sleep training is just one of them many examples of when what we would like most differs from what is best for them, isn't it?

    But, oh, when we get those cuddles, they are simply the best thing ever.

  29. Carrie hannahgrage.blogspot.com

    This post reminds me of the argument I just had about Hannah sleeping in my bed. She was always a good sleeper in her own crib, then bed, no problems. When she got cancer I slept with her at the hospital. She was in so much pain that she freaked out if she wasn't holding my fingers. That was six months ago. She still sleeps in my bed. I say it is because of the throwing up at night, and there is that. She also had a feeding tube for awhile and changing the bag at night or making sure she could get to the bathroom with the IV pole was easier with her right there. I will have to admit it is none of those things that have me letting her stay with me. I don't know what tomorrow will bring. I need every second I have with her. Especially, the ones where I can wake up to her beautiful face. My partner disagrees. He says that assumes it is over. I don't feel that way, I feel she will beat this. I just don't want to take anything for granted ever again. I might be too biased to be objective about his point. Luckily, he has his own house. Right now, Hannah and I are having hotel days.

  30. Ratz ratz-whatcanisay.blogspot.com/

    Oh Nicole this is such a sweet letter… a sleeping baby is just magical…

  31. Ash shadesofblueandgreen.com/

    Oh I adore sleep watching! I’m actually sitting in a running car right now because the 4-year-old fell asleep on the way home from soccer. He hardly ever naps these days, but when he does, it’s a blessing – some quiet time for me, time where I can enjoy his sweet face and find a little bit of baby still lingering.

    Sadly, just a little bit.

  32. naturegirl21

    it's amazing how kids sleep…or don't :) I've basically nursed, rocked, read, lay down with etc etc both my girls to sleep. My first transitioned to sleeping on her own and falling asleep on her own with no issues. Myt second, not so much. It'll be some tough love, sleep wise these next few weeks!

    This is such a lovely post. One of those perfect memory posts to look back on when Katie is older

  33. ksluiter

    I cannot tell you how many times I wished i could crawl into Eddie's crib and nap with him. it's so true that they are different little peaceful, innocents when they are sleeping. It's when my heart bursts with love the most, I think.

  34. Marian runawaysentence.com

    Nichole, that is the most incredible photo. What a treasure. That's a keeper for sure!
    Queen of the co-sleepers here, and your post moved me beyond measure.
    Yes. Yes, indeed. Thank you.

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