Don’t Get Too Comfortable: A Cautionary Tale

My baby has always been a good sleeper. He was sleeping through the night by the time he was ten weeks old; when he reached three months he would sleep for up to twelve hours straight. When I got together with other moms and the discussion about sleep was brought up, I would silently hang back while they commiserated about still having to get up every couple of hours. If I was asked directly, I would tell them about our full night of sleep and wait for the inevitable response, “It must be nice”. “Yes,” I would think to myself in my head, “It is nice.” I wasn’t smug about it; the fact that baby P. sleeps through the night has more to do with him than anything special that I’m doing as a parent. We just got lucky.

Until right around the time that P. turned five months old and started getting restless at bed time. We would put him to bed and have to go in to comfort him a few times before he finally settled for the night. No big deal. Until him being restless for one hour turned into two hours, then three…then the entire evening. This past weekend, he was up every hour all night.

Thus I’ve learned a new lesson about being a parent: don’t get too comfortable. When you have a baby, everything is a phase. Just when I’m getting used to my little guy, he changes. In lots of cases, this brings about new and exciting developments. It might signal the end of some less than desirable behaviours (I’m really hoping that his current habit of screeching at the top of his lungs will be over soon). The best part is that even though he’s no longer sleeping through the night, I know that any day now that will change, and we’ll be back to our old/new routine.

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sleep (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Escape!

Today’s writing prompt on The Daily Post is:

Describe your ultimate escape plan (and tell us what you’re escaping from).

This is something that I thought a lot about when I first brought my baby home from the hospital. I was not prepared for how difficult it was going to be. Before he was born, I spent 33 years of taking care of no one but myself. All of a sudden, I had to spend 24 hours a day tending to this little person whom I had just met.

I had help for the first day or two once he came home, but after that my partner was back at work and I was home alone all day. I had no idea how to manage my time. I think I showered once during that first week. I ate maybe once a day, and slept almost not at all. Baby P. wouldn’t sleep in his bassinet, so I would stay up all night, holding him on the couch so that my partner could get some sleep. I used to dread night-time. When 9:00 pm rolled around and my partner went to bed, I would cry because I knew that it meant a long, lonely, sleepless night.

During these nights, when the world was asleep and the only sound that I could hear was the buses passing by my house, I used to fantasize about how I could get some rest. Maybe I could run away to a hotel for a night or two! No, only irresponsible moms abandoned their new babies. It had to be something outside of my control. I was just recovering from a c-section; what if my stitches ripped open and I had to go the hospital? Yes, that would work!

It sounds horrible that I would actually take comfort in thinking about being in pain, or that somehow being hospitalized was preferable to taking care of my baby. I can’t explain it. The sleep-deprived brain thinks many surprising things. I would never actually do anything to hurt myself, but thinking about my escape route got me through many long nights.

Things are better now, of course. That shock and adjustment to parenthood passes, and you get into a routine. There are still some days where I dream about spending a night in a hotel all alone. Just me and silence and a big comfy bed. But I know that I would get there and start wondering what my guys were up to…and wish that I was at home in my own bed, listening to the monitor to hear the soft breath of my sweet baby boy.

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