Catherine Connors is a mother, writer and recovering academic who traded the lecture hall for the playroom and discovered that university students and preschoolers have much the same attention span. She still dips her toes into academic waters by writing the occasional scholarly article about the place of motherhood in Western philosophy, but mostly now she changes diapers and wipes noses and indulges in long reflections on whether Yo Gabba Gabba is a harbinger of the decline of western civilization. Oh, and she blogs: in addition to Bad Mother blogging at BeliefNet, she is, among other things, the author of HerBadMother.com, Managing Editor of MamaPop, moderator of Her Bad Mother’s Basement, co-founder and co-editor of WeCovet, Contributing Editor at BlogHer, and (deep breath) founder of and contributor to Canada Moms Blog. And in her spare time… oh, wait. She doesn’t have spare time. But she’s okay with that.
She bust out of her swaddle three times last night. THREE. And not just any ordinary swaddle – we’re talking Miracle Blanket swaddle, which is to say, full-on baby straightjacket. She’s done this before – the Husband swears that she can dislocate her shoulders, a la Houdini, to get out – but three times is the record. No matter how carefully and tightly I wound it, she got out.
I’m not torturing her, I swear. Yes, she’s demonstrating her will to NOT be bound by breaking out. But unbound, she punches herself in the head in her sleep and – duh – wakes herself up. She simply won’t stay asleep unbound. And it’s a failsafe way to calm her down, especially when she’s really sleepy and fighting it. I’m dreading weaning her off the swaddle, actually. The books say to stop swaddling when Baby begins to refuse or express dislike for the swaddle – !!! – which is one of the least helpful (on a list of many) pieces of baby advice I’ve read. Seriously – she’s the last person we should be asking, because as the books ALSO say, she doesn’t know how to put herself to sleep. And so we have to both teach her to get herself to sleep, and get her to sleep before she knows how to sleep. Which is all the more complicated given that she is a world-class squirmer. And a head-puncher. So we’re putting off weaning her from the swaddle. Because where there’s no swaddle right now, there’s no sleep…
And where there’s no sleep for Baby, there’s no sleep for Mommy. Because when she’s awake (or even partly awake, or – let’s be straight-up here – in anything other than a deep sleep), I’m awake. So really, this is all about me.
Sleep is a distant memory. Of course, this is no surprise. What is the surprise is what it feels like. I’m a longtime insomniac, so I stupidly thought that the nighttime parenting gig would be no biggie. Been there, done that three a.m. thing. But being awake to care for a whimpering, squirming, sometimes wailing midget who depends on you totally is an entirely different matter. It’s exhausting, sometimes backbreaking, depending on the squirm factor. And no matter how badly you want to sleep, you can’t, or at least not until you’ve calmed the squirming midget. (Yes, it is like a bad dream. One you can’t wake up from. Oh the irony.)
And therein lies the true irony – the vicious, vicious irony. You (the former insomniac) want to sleep. Badly. And you would be so able to sleep. You know with every bone in your body that if you could – just – put – down – head – please – for – one – minute – you would be dead asleep.
But you can’t. And it’s torture. Because you know that this is no deferral of sleep – it’s not as though you’ll get sleep in, or spend a weekend in bed, or nap for a whole afternoon in front of the TV, to catch up on your sleep. Ever. Again. This sleeplessness is for keeps. (Or at least until college). And that’s rough. So rough.
But then again, there is, always, always, this part…
Seriously. I would do anything for that face. I would forgo sleep for an eternity. (OK, maybe not – but I’d stay awake a long long time just to look at that face.)
On a completely separate note – is it just me, or is gripe water basically just baby Jagermeister?
Originally posted at Her Bad Mother, 2006. Copyright Catherine Connors 2006 – 2009.