At the baby shower I attended last week, there was a blank book on the table that we were supposed to fill up with advice for mom.
My mind was blank. Partly because this is her second baby (her first is 6), and I feel like she has more parenting experience than I do, and partly because I just don’t like giving vague parenting advice—let alone putting it in writing.
I opted not to participate.
Naturally, this morning as I dragged my exceptionally tired ass out of bed I realized what I should have written:
That thing you’re thinking right now—the thing about how it’s been really nice since baby stopped/started doing XYX—STOP THINKING IT RIGHT THIS SECOND because babies are assholes who can read your mind and will start doing the exact opposite the moment they sense you getting comfortable with their pattern.
Take Charlotte for example.
Last night, we had a really difficult time at bed time. It was very unusual. Normally, bedtime is a piece of cake. She nurses, we read a few books, into the crib she goes, we sing a song, we say goodnight and within a few minutes, she’s asleep. That’s been the routine every night since she was 6 months old and it works like a charm. Some nights it takes her a bit longer to fall asleep, but she usually just plays with her lovies in her crib until sleep takes over.
So as we crawled into bed last night, Catch and I discussed how unusual our difficult night had been and how grateful we were that we at least had this one aspect of her sleep under control.
Naturally, that lead me to start comparing her sleep patterns now to her sleep patterns 2, 4, or 6 months ago. I closed my eyes and thought to myself that although she still wakes up several times a night, it’s easy to get her back down again and the process is relatively quick and painless. I reminded myself how much worse it used to be, and allowed myself the realization that I’m actually functioning pretty well these days with her current pattern. I mean, it’s not ideal, but I’m making it work and I feel pretty peaceful about it. It doesn’t stress me out like it used to. Someday, she will sleep through the night, but this is not that time, and I’m okay with the status quo.
Do you see what I did?
Do you know what’s coming?
Cue Charlotte crying on the baby monitor at 2 am.
No big deal, I tell myself. She’s always up around 2 or 3. I get up and head to her room to nurse her.
She cuddles into me and nurses for a bit before falling back to sleep. Yes, I can handle this a few times a night. It’s really not so bad.
I hold her tight in my arms, stand, and walk the few steps to her crib. She starts kicking and flailing her arms. I set her down in her crib and she sits bolt upright clawing at the straps of my tank top. She starts screaming.
OK—let’s try this again.
I scoop her up and cradle her in my arms just like when she was a newborn. We rock in her dark bedroom. I close my eyes. She closes her eyes. I feel her body relax as she drifts back to sleep.
Once again, I put her down in her crib. Once again, she sits up and starts screaming.
I tried singing the song I sing her at bedtime every night. No go. More screaming.
I’m scooping her up again and trying to reason with her (hahahah—it’s 2:30 am at this point—cut me some slack) as Catch walks in to see what’s going on.
Things didn’t go well from then on. There was a lot of crying. A lot of rocking. There was even quite a bit of babbling/giggling/silliness.
We did not succeed in getting her majesty back to sleep until around 4:20 am. She was up for over 2 hours.
It’s murphy’s law of parenting. STOP THINKING THAT THING YOU WERE JUST THINKING. Just stop. Take it back. You didn’t mean that.