I always imagined my pre-hospital beauty ritual and labor to be thus: Luxurious shower, washed hair dried to cascading curl perfection, expertly applied "I just got out of bed" makeup, fabulous "I'm-about-to-give-birth-yet-I-look-so-amazing-it's-really-not-that-hard" outfit, Loubis (obvi), and simple yet tastefully large diamond studs. I stop to pick up the already perfectly packed hospital bag, which is always ready by the front door, and click-clack down the street to New York Presbyterian Hospital, where I'm already 9 centimeters dilated and don't feel the need for drugs. After a brief session of pushing, with my husband holding my hand and the light perspiration on my brow gleaming attractively, our little Prince/Princess slides out, cooing. Andy and I share this moment of joy with a smile and an "I love you!" before being surrounded by family (of course I have time to reapply my Benetint lip balm first). The baby latches on to my breast and nurses happily, sleeping most of the day. By the time I'm back in the suite, I am able to get up and see my Size 2 figure (that post-partum deflation won't happen to ME!), and hold court by my bedside, in beautiful Natori silk pajamas, receiving well-wishers throughout the stay.Read More
After you give birth, you feel untouchable. Like you have achieved the most challenging of tasks, climbed the highest of mountains. As I was being wheeled from the delivery ward to the rooms, I felt like a victorious Rocky Balboa. My brain threw up her gangsta colors and shouted “I just added to the Earth’s population, bitches! What did YOU do today?!”Read More
We walked at snail’s pace past the nursing station on our way to the exit. Why were they letting us just walk out? On our own! With a new baby! Didn’t the nurses want to come home too?! How could we be trusted?!Read More
What a difference a day makes…the day before I gave birth I was well dressed, made-up and accessorized. The day after I gave birth (and everyday since then) life has been one moving target; my hair is washed on average once a week, my teeth are brushed on average once a day (Yes, “Ewww” I know. But it’s twice if I can manage to not just fall into bed in between night feedings), and the highlight of my day is getting 20 minutes of beautiful alone time for a scalding hot shower, before applying a generous layer of Lansinoh to my chew-toy boobs...Read More
Yesterday, I told of how we moved the baby into our bedroom. This comes with a new set of master suite rules:
1.) If it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown...let it mellow
You heard me right.
My environmental science professor at school insisted we practice sustainable human waste disposal, best remembered by her mantra "If it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown flush it down."
If it's brown and the flush is going to disturb the baby's ridiculously short sleep cycle, let that thing disintegrate. You are in trouble if you flush it down. Just think of the good you're doing for the New York City Waste Management system.
I might also insist you drink coffee only in the mornings. And forget about fiber after 3pm.
2.) Starlight, Star bright...
We will never sleep in true darkness again.
That adorable little star nightlight that was originally in the nursery? It's plugged into our wall now. I need it so I don’t accidentally step on my glasses or Hudson. Excuse me while I wake up every 2-3 hours.
If you happen to be up in the night, don't even think about turning on the bathroom light. Use your phone to guide you to safety and to light your passage back to bed.
In fact, no water after 8pm.
3.) Feeling Hot hot hot...
No air conditioning.
The baby might be too cold. I know I'm the one who likes to sleep through all seasons with the air on, so this is actually worse for me. Now I only have the sounds of garbage trucks and sirens to fall asleep to, without the soothing roar of the AC.
It's a sacrifice I'm willing to make. And I'm going to still keep my thick Harrods duvet on the bed, thanks.
4.) So I creak, creak, yeah…
No bed creaking.
Once in bed, you have a few minutes to find a comfy position for the night. When you're there and you're cozy, if you could just stay that way until morning, that would be greaaaaat.
Keep in mind my husband is 6'4" and 240 lbs. There is no delicate turning of the midsection for him. When he changes positions in his sleep, the dog and I are both involuntarily bounced around until Andy's rotation is complete. We end up in totally different spots as a result, yet we manage to just stay there.
If Hudson can learn to turn quietly, we all can.
5.) No sighing loudly.
I’m sorry you feel neglected.
I know you do, but your excessively loud sighs don’t really make me feel bad for you. They just make me want to “Shhhh!” you but I can’t, because we dare not talk.
6.) No talking.
See above. If you need me, text me, or write a note on your iPhone notepad and show me, or wait until morning.
7.) No coughing.
Ok – have a sip of water before bed. Put the glass down quietly and nobody gets hurt.
8.) No naughtiness.
This is obvious. We’re not going to be doing anything for a few years. Go back to sighing.
(you would cry too if it happened to you!)
Get your mind out of the gutter! Did you forget my new Pope-y motto “Only for procreation, Not for recreation?”
OHMYGOD, OHMYGOD, OHMYGOD!
I don’t think I can do this anymore! This baby hasn’t stopped crying for the past two hours. I don’t know what’s wrong. Why couldn’t he have started this when my house was still full of people?! My mum just left, Andy has gone to visit his parents, and I’m alone with this tiny creature that just refuses to be happy.
I’ve tried everything. Rocking him gently, swinging him from side to side (maybe I swung too fast?), jigging him up and down, throwing him in the air (am I even allowed to do that?), and the pacifier, which has been thrown to the ground and washed more times than I care to count today.
And the nursing.
And the baby bjorn.
I’m so tired.
In walks Andy, fresh from a lovely afternoon with his family, outside of the apartment and away from anything remotely baby related. And the first thing he does is lament his “exhausting” day.
He must not have seen me. I’m over here, the one with the crumbling face, smudged glasses (de rigueur these days), and look of desperation in my eyes. The same eyes currently throwing daggers at him and trying SO HARD not to get angry. Because he really didn’t do anything. Except for leaving me here. And then having the gall to complain about his day.
I want to throw the baby at him. And I do just that, as I grab some foil-wrapped goodness from the take-out bag he brought me. I can’t even bring myself to leave the kitchen (where I was, due to the drop-wash-repeat pacifier cycle we were going through). Also, he's with the baby on the sofa now and I have no desire to be anywhere nearby. I perch on the lid of my garbage can (Thanks, Simple Human for making such sturdy products), and season my sandwich with large, salty tears.
Dramatic, I know. But so true.
I used to equate the sweet sounds of a newborn crying with the mewling of a tiny, adorable kitten. No matter how tired I was in the night, once I heard those cries, I would jump up out of bed and happily cradle his swaddled little form and kiss the top of his soft, silky head.
But I was seriously unprepared for these mid-afternoon cryscapades. After this experience, I understand how stressful it is to hear a constantly crying baby screeching in your ear. How do these Teen Moms do it?! How are they mentally mature enough to understand not to take it personally? Are they better than I am?
All I can say is thank God they made me watch the “Don’t Shake the Baby” video before I left the hospital. I can understand how frustrated, sleep deprived parents who just don’t know what to do anymore, can make the mistake of taking out their exhaustion on a baby that seems to have a personal vendetta against them. I thought we had at least 14 years before that happened.
I may have kind of yelled at the baby.
Hence the tears. Utter guilt for being upset at this small, sweet darling, remorse for feeling angry at him, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. This is really, really difficult.
And cue the peanut gallery. “Ohhh…he’s colicky.”
Shut the fuck up.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that to justify and generalize the state of a baby crying and in discomfort. In fact, if I ever say “Ohh he’s colicky” to you, you have permission to slap the words out of mouth. If course, he could be colicky. But I am soooo tired of calmly explaining “Actually, I believe colic is defined as a period of crying spanning more then three hours a day, three days or more a week. This is not what we were dealing with. So there!“ It doesn’t do anything to make me feel better, and the offensive person doesn’t get it anyway. They just give me that sideways, pouty face smiley-look that screams “Poor thing, she doesn’t know what she’s talking about! Not everything can be learned from a book. With experience, you just know.”
Oh, if I ever give you that look, you know what to do by now. Slap me.
He didn’t have colic. Thank god for that. My heart goes out to all parents who deal with a colicky baby. I see you, in the elevator of my building. With your under-eye bags, pushing the stroller back and forth as if by reflex, on your way to a much-deserved Starbucks run. What our baby had was a mixture of gas, acid reflux, and general discomfort. It lasted awhile, and he cried a lot. Some called it colic. His pediatrician told me to have those people call her (Love you, Dr. Kercher!)
He grew out of it soon enough and returned to being the sweet little vampire baby we knew.
I would venture to say that most parents go through something like this, when they try and try but their baby won’t stop crying. What we need is empathy, not pity! Tell us how you went through it, offer to take him for 5 minutes so we can pee and cry, or just be quiet and stay close in case we need you to wash a pacifier.
The only thing to do in this situation? Check off all the boxes (diaper, hunger, gas, temperature) and remember to find pleasure in the hundreds of little joys in your new life.
Andy had brought me 6 yummy, calorific treats. And I still had 5 left.
Silver linings, people, silver linings.
“Call her, you won’t regret it!” read the text message.
The “her” in question was Anu, a masseuse schooled in the art of post-partum massage. New moms all over the tri-state area swore by her for themselves and their infants.
This is going to be great! I enthused, envisioning myself blissfully floating on a comfy massage table while a white-coated professional soothed my aches away. My back and shoulders really needed some platonic lovin'.
On the day of, I excitedly opened the front door to be greeted by a squat, no-nonsense woman, sans folding massage table. She bustled in and immediately demanded to be shown to my pantry. Er, okay.
“Vhere is mush-tard oil?”
“What? I have olive oil, vegetable oil, sesame oil…truffle oil…?” I helpfully suggested.
“No. Mush-tard. Good for the strength” she exclaimed, pounding her chest with vigour.
Huh? Was she going to use it as a base to diffuse lavender essence? After much searching through the depths of my cabinets, we finally happened upon a small bottle of totally sealed mustard oil (Where did this oil come from? Who had brought it? We'll never know.)
Warming it for a few seconds in the microwave, she shot me a quick glance.
“Naked. On floor.”
Yeeeah, no. She must not know how this works. I slip off my robe and lie down on a comfortable surface, all undergarments intact. If I actually tried to get a massage without my nursing bra on, it would be madness! They might fall off me. And what is all this floor bull? Does she know how much a new mom's boobs hurt even lying facedown on a soft mattress?!
We negotiated. Bra? “No nuthing.” Lie down on the bed? “No, floor only.” A soothing essential oil blend? “No.” Right, she said that already.
There I stood shivering in the middle of the nursery, feeling like I had just lost the world's least fun strip-poker game. I suppose the fact that I managed to keep my undies on was a small victory.
Having prepared her materials, the masseuse turned to me. "Hot HIGH," she said, wriggling her eyebrows suggestively.
Oh! I was disarmed for a moment. A most unexpected compliment from this stony-faced matron?
No. A direction to blast the heat in the room.
I timidly lay down on our makeshift massage mat (a yoga mat lined with one of the old towels we use for Hudson), too scared to close my eyes (anytime someone's about to touch you and they take the time to ferociously push their sleeves up to their elbows, be worried.) She poured the oil into my belly-button, and I calmed. She MUST know what she's doing. The actual massage will be fabulous, right? I waited for the soothing magic her hands were sure to finally bring.
Tears sprung to my eyes. What the hell was this?! It was like she had a personal vendetta against my uterus and was determined to make it groan in pain. As her incredibly strong, calloused hands scraped their way across my body, I vowed she wouldn’t be allowed near my baby.
"Um, can you do it with less pressure? It's hurting me," I croaked.
Of course. Why did I even ask?
Sixty excruciating minutes later, the utterly non-sexual, female Christian Grey declared we were done. Why did she not look satisfied?
“Stomach dark. Not good. I DO!”
What? Please...please don’t come near me again, especially not my stomach, I begged inwardly, too frightened to move in case one of her muscular arms shot out to hold me in place. I didn’t think I could handle being pummeled any further.
There was no point in arguing. I was to stay put until she was happy with my belly, the color of which was the very least of my problems with this particular body part. She disappeared into the kitchen for some time, no doubt perplexing my mother with her culinary requests for chickpea flour and yet more oil. Returning with a doughy mixture of the two, she proceeded to scrub my belly with this dough, pausing every so often wonder at the difference it was making to my skin color.
“See?” She proudly held up a darkened dough ball for me to examine. It was amazing. My stomach, which since the delivery had been a few shades darker than the rest of me, was returning to its normal skin tone!
This was wonderful…almost worth going through an hour of pain and discomfort! When she was satisfied she looked at me and queried, “Head?” before grabbing my skull in between her palms and vigourously rubbing our seemingly never-ending supply of mustard oil into it. I closed my eyes and tried to distract myself with quadratic equations (No, not solving them...wondering what they were, did I ever learn them in school? How come we were always told that we would need these math skills and I've never used them? Have you? Kiss my x, you liars).
Finally, reeking of fried food, greased up, and exhausted, we were finished. Remember that Kim Kardashian shoot that almost broke the internet? The one where she was drenched in oil? Yeah, she probably got that look from me. It was like, the same, except for the lack of makeup, a very rounded belly instead of toned abs, and in lieu of champagne we had breast-milk dripping everywhere. You're welcome, world (and Kim K).
I couldn’t wait to jump into the shower and wash this crap off me. I couldn't possibly get any less attractive; thank God Andy was at the office. My skin, the rag that used to be a decent pair of Victoria's Secrets, and my towel were all stained an unseemly shade of dirty yellow (dog pee on old snow kind of yellow). Sigh, it was not to be.
The masseuse glared at me disapprovingly.
“No. No bath.”
What?! Apparently one is supposed to let the oil's "strength" sink into the skin for an undetermined period of time. At this rate I’d never be able to scrub the stench off me. Hmm, this might be the best ever form of birth control. As I reluctantly put on my robe, wondering if I should just stand on the yoga mat for 20 minutes until I could shower, since I couldn't bear to contaminate any other surface of my apartment, the door opened and in walked Andy.
Hit by the heat of the room and the mustardy fumes, he took in the strange tableau before him and whispered a bemused "Hello" to the masseuse.
She held his gaze and declared slowly,
“I. Do. You. Now.”
When this shirt showed up as a sponsored post on my FaceBook newsfeed, I thought to myself, How Do They KNOW?! These social media algorithms are creepy.
I don't really need the shirt though, because the thought is permanently etched on my face.
Let me set the scene for you. It's 6.15am. I've been up since 5.30 (I was also up at 2.30am, by the way). I'm hunched over the couch (scrolling through Facebook, naturally) with a 3-month-old laying across my lap. He's finally back asleep. It would be peaceful were it not for my 3 year old, right next to me, jumping up and down on the sofa. Side-eyeing him, he looks like he has a perilously saggy diaper, and I'm wondering what the next landing will bring. He needs to be watered and fed. He wasn't supposed to be up for another hour. I was supposed to go back to bed. When I try explaining this to him he points to the lightening sky and says "No-but Mommmee it's Good Morning Tymmme!" Right he is.
The nanny isn't due to arrive until 8, at which point I'll be wide awake.
There are lots of days where I wake up to wrangle the toddler and the baby and I think to myself, how on earth did I get here? Where did these tiny people come from? How am I supposed to shape their lives and futures, and turn them into responsible adults? Isn't that rather a tall order?
I go to a parent-teacher event at my son's preschool, where I have little sidebars with myself while I'm talking to the other parents. They're so grown up and put together! And I feel a teenager with a bigger wardrobe allowance! I'm not sure how they could possibly take me seriously. Then I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror and realize, I look just like them. I'm in my early 30's, I have TWO kids, and somehow our apartment hasn't burnt to the ground. I'm not an impostor!
That feeling I had when we had been released from the hospital after delivery, walking past the nurses station realllllly slowly, waiting for someone to say "Hey! Stop! You can't leave with that baby! You're not ready!" never quite goes away.
Do you ever have moments like these? It's bewildering.
Where have I been for the past 2 weeks?
In New Baby Purgatory, otherwise known as 4-Month Sleep Regression, otherwise known as the Land of the Barely Living. Our anthems? "Stayin' Alive" and "I Will Survive." Maybe a little Aretha, if I'm feeling sassy (and really, when am I not?)
What is sleep regression? It's when your adorable, chubby, sweet little bundle of eyelashes and spit bubbles basically acts like a bit of an asshole. For weeks.
He won't nap, but he'll be super pissy and cry for an hour. This doesn't mean I can sit in the glider and scroll through BuzzFeed's latest must-read list (15 Ways You Know You Went To Boarding School in England). Oh, no. It's an hour of standing up, bouncing, swaying, praying, shushing, rocking. His little baby-radar goes off as soon as I try to get comfortable (how does he KNOW when I'm sitting down?) I swear, my butt-cheeks start to quiver as they approach the couch. Feed and repeat at the next naptime. Long walks in the stroller? Nope. Wide-eyed and full of wonder, he'll happily stare at every freaking branch we pass, but God forbid he closes his eyes for longer than a blink. Actually, is he mocking me? I swear he didn't even blink. It was like his eyes just took turns blinking, so yeah, a series of winks. Lest he actually fall asleep. When he does deign to sit, it won't be in his bouncer, rocker, or any of the baby accoutrements we were suckered into buying, instead insisting on sitting upright on my lap, just so, mind you. A degree off here and there will Set. Him. Off.
So what is the big deal? Well, naptime is when I eat breakfast - shower - write - take a full breath - think. It's when I collect sanity for the next few hours. Especially for bedtime.
Bedtime. It used to be so simple. We had a whole bedtime routine. Bath, feed, sit in bouncer, swaddle, sleep. Now it's Bath, feed, moderately successful burping effort, and the second his sleepy, heavy body touches the bouncer he is up again. With a vengeance. As I helplessly watch his placid, sweet little face turn bright red with anger and his eyes glower with rage, it's kind of hard not to take this personally. When he starts to roar at me for DARING to put him down, and punishes me for the next hour by continuously crying ("See? I'm rocking you now...like a maniac...doesn't this make you happy with me?" "Bitch I'll teach you to put me down like that again...") all he needs is a tiny little PimpCup and a cane. I'm in uber-exhausted mode. We're both crying and screaming.
Right now I'd settle for the lack of R-E-S-P-E-C-T to get some S-L-E-E-E-E-P.
When he finally does suddenly fall asleep I'm such a bag of nerves that all I can do is zone out for an hour and then fall into my bed, teeth unbrushed (I know, it's so awful, don't judge), living in fear of when he will next wake. The nightmare isn't over. He'll be up multiple times, at which point I'll cycle through patting&shushing (squinting without my glasses in the dark, to ascertain whether we are about to enter the "feed me now or you'll regret it" phase), rushing to the living room with a sleep-sacked baby over my shoulder, while simultaneously popping buttons on my pajama shirt, desperate to pull out the boobs before the shit hits the fan, and then sitting in the dark for 45 minutes until he digests. Because if I put him down to sleep too soon, I'll have a crib full of congealed breastmilk to deal with. And even though I seem to bathe in it, I do not like congealed breastmilk.
I know I owe you recipes, a Favourite Thing, and a story...but have pity patience. I'm working on it!
Oh, how did we get through the sleep regression? I'll let you know when we get there. Still cursing about 16 hours a day, sleeping about 4 hours a day, and somehow eating cookies 24 hours a day.
As a continuation of my enviable state these days, let me invite you into a night in my life...
8-9.20 pm: Crying. In my ear. WHY won't he sleep?!
9.30 pm - THANKS BE TO GOD all is well! I must reward myself with some reality television (Hey there, Real Housewives of Melbourne! You and your Australian accents will remain my dirty little secret. Dirty because that's what I am. And not in a fun way. I mean, I used to be, in a fun way. Now I'm just actually dirty. He spat up down my chest and inside my shirt. It was warm and kind of lumpy. And now it's so, sooo cold. I couldn't put him down because, shitfit, and so I just let it pool in my bra, and dry. This is why I need you, Real Housewives.) And dinner. I'm so hungry. Wait, there's only a spoonful left of the food I made yesterday. After facing the reality that I might eat my own arm by the time Seamless gets here, I'll just have peanut butter on toast.
11.00 pm - BED. Is there any feeling more wonderful than cool, freshly laundered sheets underneath my aching limbs? I do a little starfish dance to luxuriate in this pleasure before I pass out. I'm so tired. I secretly hope hubs doesn't want to "cuddle."
12.00 am - WAAAAAAAHHHHH! What. The. Fuuuuuck. Shush/pat doesn't work. He wants to nurse; off the living room we go. Shitshitshit! I forgot the nursing pillow in my toddler's room! I can't go in there! I proceed to nurse on stacked couch cushions, one hand preventing the baby from slipping off and the other holding a boob in place. I can practically feel them sagging with every suckle. Stupid stupid me!
1 am: He must have digested by now. I'll wrap him and put him back in his crib. He's asleep. I'm awesome. I hear an angel's chorus as I get back into my welcoming bed.
42 minutes later: Crying. Again! WHAT is going on? He spat up! Thank god it's not on him though. Perhaps he'll be more comfortable out of the crib. I throw him over my shoulder, and we go to fetch the Rock'n'Play. BURP! A little cottage cheese on my tee shirt; no biggie...EWwww! It's in my HAIR!!! Like a bird poo in a tangled nest! That shit'll brush right out, right? (It won't. I'm currently mustering up the energy for a shower).
When I reswaddle him I notice parts of it are wet with spit up. Whatever, I'm sure he won't even notice. Except now he's awake and gurgling at me in the dark. I can feel him staring. Ignoring him, I poke one foot out from under my duvet and rock him. Once. Because I've fallen asleep. Not to worry though because a few minutes later...
1.52 am: A door creaks. That ominous sound is my toddler's calling card. Suddenly he appears at the foot of my bed, a tiny shadow staring at me and pointing to my bed, wanting permission to sleep with us. I get up to take him back to him room. "But I eurgh lebyrch" What?? He says it louder. Nope. Whatever it is, I can assure you it's a nope. I scoop him up just as his face starts to crumble into that high-pitched, elongated wail only 3 year olds can master, and run with him back to his room. I plop him back into his bed.
Wait, why is there a wet spot on his pajama pants? It's too large to be from tears, but it's in such an odd place that it couldn't possibly be pee, could it??? Mystery wetness be damned! Let's cuddle and sleep. I tuck him in and head back to my room after a few hugs.
4.00 am: Loud lip smacking. Baby is happily chewing away at his chubby little fingers, loud enough to wake the dog up. But I got 2 solid hours of sleep! I can do this. He wants to eat.
5.00 am: Guess who's back, back again? Mommy's back, back in bed...I practically faint into a deep sleep.
6.00 am: WHY? WHY IS HE AWAKE? Why is this happening to me?! This can't be happening! He can't be hungry. I pick him up and try desperately to rock him back to sleep. IT WORKS! Hallelujah!
As I'm putting him down...the toddler comes back in. Oh. My. God.
Defeated, I don't know whether to laugh or to cry. I send him to my bed and get in. Only I can't sleep because his tiny little feet are burrowing into my butt crack. How? Why? What the hell? I'm losing my temper. Hubs wakes up and tries to cuddle him (by putting him in a headlock). Now I'm worried and can't sleep. I get up to reposition him. I fall back down and try to sleep. Andy feels my seething anger and quietly takes him to the living room.
7.00 am: Baby is awake for the day. I want to shoot myself.
Today I have subsisted on a diet of chocolate biscuits and a bottle of wine.
I think it's safe to assume that the person who coined the term "Sleep like a baby" was a man. Obviously some well-coiffed buffoon paid a visit to the nursery on his estate and, while the exhausted nanny struggled to remain upright and awake for Sir's visit (which cut into the brief rest she was to have), remarked upon how envious it was to be able to "sleep like a baby," while chewing on his pipe and peering down into the bassinet. Requisite fatherly duties dispensed with, he exited the room in a puff of foul-smelling Turkish tobacco smoke and in his sound-insulated, wood-paneled study, put quill to paper to record for centuries the most maligned term in English language.
Sleep like a baby, my ass.
In fact, I hope he spent the rest of his days sleeping like a baby. Waking every three hours desperate to eat, crying for no apparent reason, and shitting his pants.
Between the baby being awake, and the short spurts of blissful sleep, there is an arid wasteland of putting the baby to sleep. It is in this desperate time period that we are at our most harried, exhausted, sensitive, and imaginative. There will be WORLD PEACE if only I can get this baby to bed. I will dance in a field of flowers with sunlight streaming through my hair, if ONLY I can get this baby to sleep. Woe betide you who interrupt me from this task. The blinders are on. There is NOTHING more important and completely necessary than getting this baby to shut his eyes and sleep. On a recent car journey, with the baby refusing to sit in his seat and instead spending three hours wailing away in my arms (I possess biceps like the Hulk at this point), when Andy asked me to wipe our older son's sticky face, I almost picked up the car seat and threw it at his head. "Cleaning his face isn't on my priority list right now!" I snapped back, before being absorbed back into the hellish world from whence I came.
But once the baby is asleep, oh then, it's all summery breezes and butterflies. The tornado raging away around me dies down and everything is beautiful. Unless he is just pretending to sleep, of course.
This happens only when I MOST need the baby to sleep. Say, for example, when I have been up for hours at night and it's finally morning naptime. He's pissy but through a dizzying combination of bouncing, patting, and continuous swaddling of those tiny fists that love to break free and pull out the pacifier just as he is falling asleep, it's working! Eureka! Now I totally know how Archimedes felt! I have an out of body experience as I forget my weary limbs...I'm completely focused on my task of putting the baby to sleep. Suddenly, I can climb mountains. I start imagining all the wonderful things I can achieve when he (definitely) sleeps. I could NAP! Wait, who has time for a nap when there is food to be had?! I could eat a HOT breakfast! I could write! I could shower AND brush. my. teeth!
My head swimming with dreams and possibilities, I realize I am bone tired. I need to sleep, before anything. All else can be achieved...later. I'm still bouncing, I'm still patting, but my eyes are heavy. The baby is breathing steadily and sleeping soundly. My eyelids are drooping. I'm actually already dreaming. Dreaming of the cool sheets under my tired body, the soft feather-stuffed pillow beneath my weary head, the fluffy duvet insulting me from reality...I just can't wait. I'm already there, even while bouncing with the baby in my arms. I just need to transplant him successfully from my body to the crib.
Half-asleep, I glance down before I make my stealthy moves. One. One tiny little beady eye is open and is peeking up at me.
Then, a gummy smile.
The beautiful, peaceful world I just built around me comes crashing down. It's really cold in here, I really need a shower, and my eyes are burning. Stupid hopes and dreams.