I am a terrible sleeper. I have always been a terrible sleeper. Or, rather, I am an AWESOME sleeper as long as it’s daytime/at a desk/in an interminable staff meeting or a moving car/plane/train/subway car. I just can’t sleep when I’m supposed to. As a kid, I was afraid of kidnappers and masked robbers and crawly things under the covers. I always thought it was unfair that grownups, who are big and strong and brave, get to sleep with other grownups, and kids, who are vulnerable to things that go bump, have to sleep alone. You know you’re an anomaly when you’re a pre-teen girl who prefers to share a room with her kid brother.
N seems to have a similar problem with napping (what? I can’t even). He’ll nap ANYWHERE as long as it is not his crib. Baby carrier? check. Car seat? check. Arms? THE BEST. I love holding him while he sleeps, but he is not getting any smaller, and I just can’t commit to it every day until he leaves for college. In an effort to be a Good Parent and have a Healthy Child, I read all the books to try to solve the napping problem. When none of their answers satisfy me (read: are too scary or stressful or involved for me to properly execute), I decide the best idea is to project all of my own issues squarely onto my kid. Like you do.
We’ve had to resort to sleep training from time to time, which again, for the record, I hate. I feel like sleep training is not something our parents or their parents had ever heard of–I think back then it was called “not having a baby monitor because that is not yet a thing and therefore not hearing the baby cry,” or “letting your toddler cry when he is clearly being a dick.” Lucky bastards.
During said bouts of training (throughout which I could hear every tragic scream–thanks, technology!), I have curled into a ball next to C and had the following conversation:
A: “What if he’s scared?”
C: “He’s not scared.”
A: “What if he thinks we abandoned him?”
C: “He doesn’t even know that’s a thing.”
A: “What if he hates us for ignoring him, and he’s resentful and angry?”
C: “He’s a baby. He’s probably crying because he’s a baby.”
In my quest to get mommy an hour of time by herself with which to do important things like write or drink or watch The Bachelor (Shut up. It’s fine.), I have gone to ridiculous lengths to try and fix the nap. Including, but not limited to:
- Crawling across a room on my hands and knees to jiggle a bassinet, hoping it would rock him back to sleep without the distraction of seeing me. Didn’t occur to me that a sudden earthquake from an unseen source might be unsettling.
- Wearing a small stuffed rabbit in my bra all day long so that he could have something that smelled like me. Also wrapping him in my shirt. And once, using the bathrobe I wore non-stop for three months (depression: wheee!) as a crib sheet. I swear, I would hose his room down with my own pheromones if it would make him sleep.
- Buying a discontinued model of one of those crib aquariums (oh FINE: aquaria) on eBay for $100 because it was the one that everyone swore made non-sleeping babies sleep. Just to reiterate: ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS.
We seem to be living at a time when one’s success as a parent is largely measured by how well one’s children sleep, how soon they sleep, and how easy it was to get them there. Which is a shame, because this whole thing is madness enough without adding that kind of pressure to something that is, I think, largely out of our control.
I just saw the goddamn fish on craigslist for $5. It didn’t even help.