Bedtime Breaths with a Toddler
Every night I crawl into bed with 4 other beings: my husband, my 3 year old son, my cat and then of course this little being in my tummy who comes with me everywhere. It’s a full bed, a very full bed. And every night my son turns and flips and kicks his legs and does everything he can think of in an attempt to get comfortable, but his energetic 3 year old body just won’t let him. Every night. It drives me crazy.
If only I could help him calm down. But I can.
We recently started a new bedtime routine and it has basically changed everything. As we crawl under the covers, he places his hand on my chest and I place mine on his. I say to him, “First you feel me breathe, then I will feel you breathe.” We each count out 5 full, deep breaths, feeling the other’s chest rise and fall.
Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.
Then we both reach over to feel my husband’s chest while he takes his breaths. There’s something powerful about not only connecting to your own breath, but also connecting to the breath of those around you.
And all of a sudden, the busy energy has been released, the frantic movements have subsided, the rolling and kicking and turning are no more. In a matter of moments, we’ve settled in for the night, we’ve found a bit of peace.
Peace isn’t always an easy thing to find in the lives we live. It can feel so distant and out of reach. But it’s there; it’s right there, just beyond the inhale and the exhale.
As we speed through our days and run through our lives, just remember how close that peace really is. It’s right there. Our lives are epic stories, every single one is in its own way, but we must remember to breathe between the lines, to find the inhale and the exhale in ourselves and those around us.
My son is always testing me and always teaching me. He pushes me to my limits and threatens my sanity, but it’s in these moments that the amazing life lessons start to emerge. They’re there if I look hard enough, usually just on the other side of the inhale and the exhale.