Archives for the month of: September, 2011

Sweet sleep of a six week old

A sleeping baby is the closest thing in the world to perfection, Bob Dole’s comment notwithstanding*. A sleeping adult doesn’t have the same openness; emotions flicker across the sleeper’s face, an outward reflection of inner mysteries. With a sleeping baby, though, the eyelids close, the facial muscles relax, and the small, round face, the moon dictating your personal tides, radiates peace.

A week ago, the tide was gentle and low, and naptime was easy. We lay on the bed together. Cradled in my arm, she sleepily nursed as her arm draped across my chest and her legs rested on mine. Her gesture wasn’t proprietary or possessive, and it wasn’t demanding. It was more like I was an extension of her own arm and her own legs. Her head rested near my shoulder, and her warm head grew damp with her near-sleep sweat. Would she really nap? What could I get done once she was asleep? As her breathing slowed, mine did, too, and united and intertwined as we were, it’s difficult to say who slept first. Sleep has never been sweeter, and the laundry has never been less important.

Tonight I sang to her and held her, head cradled in the crook of my right arm, with my left arm wrapped over the top of her legs and my hand tucked underneath them,  hugging her to me. She blinked the long, slow leisurely blinks that are precursors to sleep, the slow strobe light offering both a world of light and a world of dark. Her left arm hung down. Her right arm touched my face. Then she reached her left hand to my left hand, which rotated to meet hers. She bent her right arm so our right hands could nest together. And so she drifted off to sleep, nestled in my arms and holding my hands with hers. The blinking stopped, and my small moon shone, radiant, refulgent.

* “Former senator Bob Dole once remarked after losing a campaign, ‘I slept like a baby. I woke up every 2 hours crying'” (qtd. in Burnham and Lawler 115). Infants do – but my baby, my dear toddler, does not.

Sweet sleep of a nearly one-and-a-half year old

 

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Burnham, Melissa M., Ph.D., and Jennifer Lawler, Ph.D. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Sleep Training for Your Child. New York: Alpha Books, 2006. Print.

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The crying.
The nursing.
The foot-stomping Rumpelstiltskin act.
The nursing.
The short naps.
The nursing.
The staying up late.
The nursing.
The waking up early.
The nursing.
The hysteria, the mania, the weeping over being pulled away from another baby’s Goldfish crackers.
The nursing.

A canine tooth, top left, like the creeping growth of a stalactite.

At last, a nap without crying!

And the stalactite grows.

Buchan Caves. ca. 1950. State Library of Victoria, Melbourne. State Library of Victoria. Web. 21 Sept. 2011.

She pounded the cat on the back, using Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Jen Corace’s charmingly illustrated Little Hoot, the word-play-filled story of an overly tired owl who is expected to stay up late if he “want[s] to grow up to be a wise owl,” as her weapon of choice. I don’t think the cat enjoyed the tale very much. Lifting the heavy plastic orb that is one of her infant crawl-after-me toys, she repeatedly dropped it, narrowly missing her feet. In a frenzy, she screamed and kicked her feet and refused to sit on her potty (which, as far as I know, had never done anything but take what she had to dish out). She even stamped her feet, her not-so-tiny heiny jiggling as the tremors moved up her legs. She grated her teeth, which sorely grated on our nerves. Instead of lying down while we read in bed, she stood and clung to the headboard, bouncing a bit and then fiddling with the alarm clock for the sheer pleasure of pressing buttons. She poured out the water from her cup into the tray of her high chair, allowing it to pool before daintily dipping a finger into it, raising it to her mouth, and savoring the clear liquid in microdoses. Then, like a giant laying waste to the pond in a small village, she rubbed her whole hand back and forth through the water, spreading, splashing, and adding small bits of spaghetti to the water. Beads, droplets, and minipuddles radiated from her seat. Putting on pajamas resulted in near hysteria – and I mean for  her, too.

Maybe she’s getting teeth (since she has twelve, maybe it’s a canine or the next set of molars). Maybe it’s the lingering cold that still drives out boogies like a shepherd taking his sheep to pasture. Certainly, it’s the lack of sleep. Three nights ago, she didn’t fall asleep until after ten. The following day, her long nap was half an hour shorter than usual, clocking in at one and a half hours. Yesterday she awoke at four a.m., took only one (albeit three hour) nap, then wouldn’t go to sleep until after nine p.m. This morning she was up from five until six, finally falling asleep after much singing, patting, and nursing, then took only a forty minute nap instead of her usual two or so hour one. She needs to (re)learn the joys of sleep, as Little Hoot does when his parents finally permit him to go to collapse into bed: “Woo-whooooo! Woo-whooooo! Bedtime!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” he shouts with glee. If she does this, maybe we can “owl [live] happily ever after…” 

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Rosenthal, Amy Krouse and Jen Corace. Little Hoot. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2009. Print.