“I just put her down 10 minutes ago,” I tell my sister over the phone. My niece, Itty Bitty, has trouble falling asleep and so this was a triumphant moment for both my sister – her mother – and I. We continue chatting, mostly about the struggles and wonders of motherhood. I have yet to have children and am living vicariously through my sister’s stories.
Seconds later, I hear Itty Bitty scream.
“Damn, she’s crying,” I say to my sister, still on the phone. “Let her cry it out,” she advises. “We have to sleep train her,” she finishes sternly. I nod, unsure of the tactic but respect my sister’s wishes. Our conversation ends and I go back to writing.
About a minute later, Itty Bitty is still crying and I sense something is wrong. She’s cried in her sleep before. Many times, actually. She is the first grandchild and niece, and so she is spoiled rotten. Still, my motherly instinct, though I am yet a mother, kicks in. Like a super hero that sees the flash of a rescue symbol, I fly down the long corridor and open the bedroom door. There is Itty Bitty, hollering with tears streaming down her chubby cheeks, and covered in poop.
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