Sleep. Elusive sleep.
All I’ve heard my whole life is what a great sleepy baby I was. I slept through the night almost immediately and took two two-hour naps. My mom fed me, put me in my crib and walked away.
When Captain was a baby, he had a very hard time sleeping and remembers his parents bouncing him. He remembers being bounced. I’m repeating that, because it scares me.
In the beginning I had a lot of hope. Every night I thought to myself,
“Tonight’s my night! I got the naps right, the temperature right, the clothing right, the feeding right, the je ne sais quoi right.”
It didn’t matter.
Talk to anyone with a baby older than your baby and they’ll tell you,
“It gets better.”
This is true. But it’s not a straight uphill trajectory to Better Land. Or at least not with Baby Bop. We’re at 7 months now. It’s the best. Month 3 and Month 5 were the worst.
Month 3 was when she stopped breastfeeding during daylight hours and screamed if she could see anything. Anything. There had to be pitch blackness, motion and even better if her limbs were restrained. So her life in the sling began.
Then Month 5. She stopped sleeping for the four-hour chunk of time she’d been giving me her whole life and decided to wake up every hour. After a few weeks of sleep deprivation torture. I tell Captain,
“I’m not going to make it. I need you to sleep on the couch, so I can have Baby Bop in bed with me for the whole night.”
And that sounds really calm when I read it here, but it wasn’t.
After one night of that, I thought to myself,
“Wow, we were up every hour, but I feel rested.” Not having to stand up and get Baby Bop out of her crib, to put my boob in her mouth, was a miracle. I ask Captain,
“Will you sleep on the couch one more night?”
So two months of Captain sleeping on the couch later, I feel great! I ask Captain,
“What do you want for Valentine’s Day?”
“I want to sleep with you in the bed.”
Mmm. Sounds nice. So we’re working on getting Baby Bop back in her crib. I’m employing all sorts of methods, tricks, advice, witchcraft. Whatever works. And then I read this in one of my many parenting books:
“If diapers and pajamas don’t foil them… some baby girls adopt a version of rocking which rhythmically rubs their vulva against the crib mattress or bars.”
If Baby Bop knew this, she’d like her crib a whole lot better.
So while I leave the book near Baby Bop in case she wants to read it, we work on making our bed safe for an increasingly mobile girl. It was either put our mattress on the floor and lose precious storage space or put rails on the side of the bed. We put up rails.
I tell Captain,
“I like the rails! They make the bed feel really cozy.”
“You’re all set for the nursing home.”
Guess I should stop rubbing in the fact that I’m enjoying sleeping in the bed. But don’t feel too bad for Captain. It’s a memory foam couch and it cost a lot more than our bed.
The other night I startle awake to Captain standing next to the bed. I ask him,
“What’s going on?”
“I’m trying to see where everybody is.”
No one is in the crib and everybody, Baby Bop and I, are in the bed. This crib thing isn’t happening overnight.
Last night, with Baby Bop asleep in the bed, I collapse on the couch to enjoy my couple hours of baby free time. I start with my favorite activity, scrolling through photos of Baby Bop. Captain admires the photos and declares,
“I want to wake her up and play with her.”