My Shining Armour in the Night

At 2:30 this morning, Sam melted my heart.

A pretty impressive achievement; I am usually far from benevolent at that hour and do not take kindly to anything or anyone interrupting sleep time. It’s as if the act of brushing my teeth before bed unleashes the cold-hearted beast within; which is only locked away again after carrying out the same act in the morning.

Unfortunately, as always seems to be the case in these scenarios, I went to bed late last night. I’m not sure I had even fallen asleep by the time Sam started crying. Now, I may not have many qualifications to my name, and I certainly don’t keep abreast of current affairs as well as I should; but I am an expert at distinguishing Sam’s different cries. I can tell the difference between an ‘I just hurt myself’ cry and an ‘I‘m in the process of being hurt’ cry. I know the ‘I’m stuck, help me out’ cry; the ‘I’m sad because ??? is leaving me’ cry; the ‘he just stole my toy’ cry. I can hear when a cry is based more on exhaustion than the perceived grievance. And, even at 2:30 in the morning, I know immediately whether Sam is crying for attention or whether he actually needs me.

When the ‘bad dream’ alarm sounded, I jumped out of bed and rushed straight into Sam’s room…to find a clearly terrified little boy. Scooping him up, I sat with him on the floor until the urgency of his cries had subsided a little. I asked him what was wrong; had he had a bad dream? And, between heart wrenching sobs, these were the only words he was able to utter:

‘Sam want look after Mummy. Sam need keep Mummy safe.’



  1. That’s so sweet! It’s amazing to see a mothers instincts..I can distinguish both of my kids cries, and what they mean too, and no one else can. Thanks for sharing! This warmed my heart 🙂

  2. I think for me it has been a case of gradually building up a database of cries. Though the night time attention/proper reason for crying is definitely an instinct; and one that you are instantly awake and alert enough to deal with. What I found amazing was his male protective instinct! Bless him, my hero!

  3. Very cute! My daughter has just started talking and the things she comes out with sometimes make my heart melt… our kids are so special xxx

    • I want this learning-to-talk stage to last forever!

  4. I’m always astounded that I am awake before my daughter hits the side of my bed. My nocturnal brain apparently deciphers the pattern of her footsteps and gets me ready to be the dad that she needs. It has been an issue in our house that both kids come to me in the night instead of mom. I think that it comes from the pattern of night time bottle feeding where I got up in the night so that she could be functional in the daytime. While I know that it takes nothing away from her “mom-ness”, I know that she is hurt each time. We just deal because the kids need what they need. Each of us brings something to the game, mine is just nocturnal.

    • It’s amazing how we hear the slightest noise, isn’t it?

      I would quite happily pass the buck when it comes to nocturnal parenting, but I can see how it must be upsetting for her. As a single mum I escape the heartbreak of situations where a child favours one or other of his/her parents…but I DO find it difficult when Sam dumps me as soon as his Grandma is in sight!

      • Never be jealous of grandparents. It’s their job to spoil and make a fuss over their grand kids. You will never feel bad about leaving them for an overnight of attention and fun while you get the much needed personal time that you need.

      • I’m trying! And to be honest, it’s so much easier now – we moved into a new home 3 weeks ago – before that we had the annex to my parents’ house. Obviously wonderful that Sam got to see his grandparents so much but the mum/grandma line sometimes became a bit blurry. Now looking forward to the occasional night out without feeling like I’m abandoning my duties!

  5. Aww… He’s so sweet!

  6. Oh my gosh, that made me cry.

    • Sorry for that! When he said it I did a little laugh-y cry and then made him cry more by squeezing him too tight!

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