Tapping Toes

Who’s dancing and why are they tapping those toes?


Navigating the dark bedroom is terrifying. My arms jostle her head, and the hardwood floors creak warnings to Lily that she will soon be left alone.

I step soft to the left, hoping the wood won’t make a sound, then right. Lily sighs a deep breath through her button nose and continues sleeping.

We approach the crib. My heart beats faster, the sound loud in the silent bedroom. I reach the baby bed. The dark wood is cool against my naked arms. Slowly, I lower her into the crib and with a gentle thud, she lies against the pink mattress.

I capture air within my lungs, not willing to release it until I am sure she’s sleeping.

Already I imagine all the things I can do while she’s dreaming. I could finish the laundry, clean a toilet or wash the sticky dishes.

Dishes can wait. I will choose a movie.

Lily raises her chubby hands to her face. My heart sinks, but there is still hope. She rubs her eyes with frustrated vigor, then whines. Her face scrunches into a mournful cry.

I set free my imprisoned breath and grab my baby.

“It’s ok,” I tell her in a soft voice.

She snuggles against my neck in response.

Time to go back to rocking.

Back to singing about shining stars.

Back to praying she will sleep.

A secret sob escapes. I wish I could cry but my tears are too tired to fall.

Waves of thoughts invade my mind as I rock her. Am I a terrible parent? Is this why she won’s sleep? Is she is sick? Is she just teething? Maybe I am just a terrible mother; the only one in the world who has a toddler who still doesn’t sleep through the night.

Soon my hips ache from swinging back and forth. My song turns into a whisper. Lily breathes with soft innocence.

I step left to avoid the creak. The bed approaches once more. Lily descends with care onto the mattress.

My heart stops. She rolls to her side and places a dimpled hand under her chin.

She sleeps.

I make my way out of the maze of dangerous creaks and into the bright light of the hallway.

At last!

My head bobs side to side and I twirl around in a circle, letting my joy free. I let my hands fly in the air and do some awkward shimmies.

“What are you doing?” a deep voice asks.

Shock erupts into my stomach and nearly forces out a scream. Only mothering instinct prevents the noise.

My husband stands in his plaid pajamas and no shirt, wearing a smirk that brightens his eyes.

I laugh without sound.

“She’s asleep,” I whisper. “Let’s go watch a movie.”

He agrees with a kiss to my forehead.

Light flickers across husband’s face. My toes tapping to the beat of my good mood.

Yet my soul already misses my sleeping baby.

Your turn! Try the prompt out in the comment section below! Who’s dancing and why are they tapping those toes?

Or let me know what gets you tapping your toes. I would love to hear!


One thought on “Tapping Toes

  1. Oh I have so been there! My boy is two and I often have to pat him back to sleep. I wait until I’m so sure he’s asleep before I think about moving, but the boy can read my mind – he reaches out and puts my hand back on his tummy. Lucky they are so cute!!

    What gets my toes tapping? The nights when the two of them just snuggle up in their bed at bedtime and say night night, without calling out to me 500 times 🙂

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