The Grunt Baby has been the most difficult of all of my children so far. He is as difficult as he is adorable. It only makes perfect sense. One aspect of his obstinacy is in sleeping. He refuses. Both of my first two babies started sleeping through the night at about one month old. I guess you can only push your luck so many times though. The Grunt was not going to follow suit. He was determined to let us know that he was going to be his very own unique person. Husband and I had gotten accustomed to our sweet babies who would sleep all night long so early on. We had been spoiled and soon enough our little bubble was about to be busted by this bouncing bull-headed baby boy.
I should have known that first night at the hospital. He was not interested in sleeping even then. I tried everything that night. I put him on my chest so he could hear my heartbeat. I laid him beside me curled up next to my stomach to keep him warm. I tried the bassinet. Nothing was making him happy. Nothing except for his daddy that is. He finally slept on daddy’s chest like he had made it home. I knew then that he was a daddy’s boy and that he would make sure to give Mama a hard time of it every chance he could.
Sleeping has always been one of my pastimes. I love my sleep. I have a hard time sleeping soundly at times and falling asleep is a chore for me, but the actual act of sleep makes me quite happy. This boy was determined to make me appreciate every nanosecond of sleep for the rest of my life. Let me explain our nightly schedule so you can see what I mean. I would stay up every night until about 11:30pm and feed him. This was the latest I could manage to stay up and be able to finish anything I hadn’t been able to do during the day. I might be able to get to bed by around Midnight. Falling asleep was a different story for me though. He would go to sleep for a bit from 11:30.
I would wake up and feed him again at about 3:00am I had to do it just right otherwise the boy would think it was playtime. Sneaking around in the dark was a must. Lights would doom me. Also being as quick at getting the bottle to him without delay was a must as well. Let me just take a second to emphasize this, No lights and being as quick as possible. There were plenty of late night swearing fests thanks to this little requirement and the fact that I’m about as coordinated and graceful as two conjoined cats going in different directions.
Then at around 5:30 he would wake again and I would give him another bottle, take his earlier bottle (that he only drank about ¼) throw it away, shake my head at the thought of that 30 minutes of sleep that I lost for no reason, and turn his lamp on so that he could play for a bit in his crib while I desperately tried to piece my parts of sleep together to get some semblance of a whole nights rest. Piecing sleep together is like sewing a quilt with no fabric by the way. It just isn’t going to work.
It’s amazing though. Babies are more resilient than you think. They are so small and fragile in many ways and yet they can also be stout and stronger than they appear. The first time you hold your first baby you try your hardest to be soft and tender. You are so cautious and full of worry. There is this deep seeded thought that if you touch them to hard they will just fall away. So everything you do is done with the utmost care and thought.
They need so much and are completely reliant upon us. Yet, even though we are suppose to be running on a full tank to best care for them; they themselves are slowly chipping away at our fuel source. There is no better way to see their might then by looking at their ability to wake up every couple of hours and smile at you the moment their eyes open. When I have to wake up every few hours I need a crow bar just to open my eyes. Forget me smiling. It is NOT going to happen.
So you move at the speed of a sloth and fight every urge in your body that is trying to convince you that sleeping is going to take you to the lost island of Atlantis. You pull yourself up and in a human-like stance with the feeling that Cro-Magnon Man would be proud of how far you have devolved in only a short few weeks. You forget about looking decent because you know you aren’t the Mom who has it all under control every second of the day. Stumbling about in the dark like an ape has shown you the depths of your own humility.
Then you find yourself praising the sleep deities when your baby finally makes it through a single night without waking. While you are doing your Sleep dance you are simultaneously praying that this one night is not a fluke because your withered mind can’t handle having this gift taken back from you. All the while he is lying in your arms cooing the most darling song at you and smiling ever so sweetly. For just a second you forget that your very soul is exhausted to its core. In this second you start to realize, “I think he knows what he is doing to me AND he is laughing at me.” You brush the thought aside realizing how daft it makes you sound. Lack of sleep is simply eating through your brain cells. Then you stumble about your day in a sleep fog, half awake for as long as your little master requires. What day is it anyway?
Goodnight My Dear and Sweet Dreams.