Have you ever denied yourself something for the sake of getting a baby down to sleep? Now I am not talking about not going to that party or missing your favorite TV show because Jr. decided to stay up until Law and Order started. I am talking about denying yourself basic human rights that even the Geneva Convention would disagree with the moral and ethical abuse being done; all for the sake of getting your little one to sleep.
The most basic self-sacrifice is food. Your baby decides its bed time at the exact moment dinner comes out to the table. Dinner is steaming hot and the sweet aroma fills the entire house as you sit in the glider with a bottle in one hand and your adorable baby in the other contemplating what formula tastes like because right now anything would do to quench the insatiable hunger welling up in your stomach. And at the very moment he closes his eyes to drift off to sleepy town, in the quiet and stillness of the nursery, your stomach releases the mother of all growls that is so loud it actually wakes up the neighbor’s baby and their dog.
2. The Toilet
Have you ever made the classic mistake of making a bottle before bedtime and thinking, “Yeah, I have to go but I can hold it.” So you sit down and start feeding the baby and he keeps moving his head back and forth and the formula is sloshing this way and that. The warm formula going splish, splash, slosh in the bottle while you regret not keeping up on your Kegel exercises and you think, “well he doesn’t have to drink the whole bottle right?” But you know he does, he always does and tonight he has decided to take his time with multiple rest breaks as he sips on the bottle like a fine wine savoring every drop. And it does not help if you cross your legs or not and you can’t do the pee-pee dance because that extra movement would wake up the baby.
3. The Cough/Sneeze
The two most natural, automatic, practically involuntary things the body does now have to become controlled and restrained while getting your baby to sleep. After a long night of your baby refusing sleep, after the second car ride around the neighborhood that did not work both times, after 3 bottle of 20 ounces of warm formula, you are rocking your baby to sleep and his eyes have closed and the wiggling is down to just a random kick now and then, and you feel it. A cough is coming. The feeling of 1000 feathers dancing on the back of your throat. You know if you let it out, he is fully awake and it negates the past 3 hours of work. So you hold it in, your eyes start watering, you’d do anything for a glass of water, and just when you think you can’t take it anymore, you sneeze. It came out of no where. You did not even get to do the cartoon finger under the nose thing (that actually works, try it!) And now the baby gets to watch Jay Leno with you tonight…again.
We go to great lengths, as parents, to make sure they go down easy and stay down, not for the sake of ruining their beauty sleep but the fact that the few moments we have to ourselves without kids at the end of a noisy, busy day is more precious than gold. Its worth stubbing your toe on the crib and biting their blankie to keep from yelling out, or dropping to the floor and army crawling out of their room to make sure they don’t see you. (Both done and done successfully I might add.) Just so they can sleep through the night and wake you up at 5 am when they have peed through their diaper and clothes from the 20 ounce of bedtime formula.
Looking forward to when my baby can put himself to sleep,
The Joyful and Tired Dad