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Sleeping Like a Baby… Not

Passed Out in Bed, Mark Day 14

Oh, I slept like a baby last night!” “Look how cute he is, sleep­ing like a baby!”

Yeah, right. Let me tell you, I will never use that expres­sion again. Because you know what? Babies don’t actu­ally sleep. Ever. They came to earth to suck your energy until there is none left and you resort to beg­ging them to close their eyes and pay a visit to dream­land. That’s my the­ory anyway.

His first week on earth, Mark slept a lot. We had been told he should eat every four hours, but as he hap­pily slept past feed­ing time, we couldn’t help wor­ry­ing. Should we wake him up? Should we let him sleep? Should I strip and cud­dle him against my breast, whis­per­ing “milk, milk on spe­cial, good milk, one-time offer!”?

Guilt-stricken because he was a skip­ping a meal, we woke him up a cou­ple of times. We paid for it: he was cranky for the fol­low­ing twelve hours he spent wide awake.

Do not wake Mark up on pur­pose” became Rule Num­ber 1 at home.

The sec­ond week, Mark decided sleep­ing was over­rated after all. The first time he opened his eyes and started look­ing around him with curios­ity, I was all excited and took plenty of pic­tures. “He is so bright for a new­born,” I marveled.

Two days later, I was beg­ging him to act like a nor­mal baby again, i.e. to close his eyes and go to sleep­land, if only for a few hours. Fuck the pic­tures of Mark with his eyes open, gaz­ing at the world. I wanted him back in his crib, sleep­ing like… you know, a baby. Ah ah.

That week, one night, exhausted and tired of get­ting up to put his paci­fier back in his mouth (yes, it takes time for babies to mas­ter the fine art of suck­ing a paci­fier with­out drop­ping it every two sec­onds), I took Mark to the big bed with me. He slept there, in my arms. Finally. Okay, I woke up with dead nerves in my right arm and a sore neck but hey, we slept a few hours.

That same week, he woke me up at 5 a.m., hun­gry. I was too tired to sit to nurse and I just lay in bed, on my side, as he latched to my breast. I fell asleep—when I woke up two hours later, he was still suck­ing on my nipple—buffet night for baby, yeah!

What’s great with babies is that they keep you on your toes. You think you found the per­fect trick to put them to sleep, use it once, twice, three times if you are lucky… and then it doesn’t work anymore—back to square one.

The first few weeks, swad­dling worked. And then it didn’t—he was annoyed not being able to suck his fin­gers and move his legs freely. Falling asleep in the big bed worked for a while; we’d trans­fer him back to his crib later. But it stopped work­ing when he would invari­ably wake up and real­ize he had been tricked. Putting him to sleep right after feed­ing worked too for a while, but now it seems to give him energy instead of act­ing as a sleep­ing pill. Lay­ing in bed with him for a while was another trick… guess what, he learned to wake up about three min­utes after we were gone.

We took him for rides in the car—he’d scream (espe­cially if Nick­el­back plays on the radio, but I can’t blame him for that, I scream too), fall asleep… and wake up as soon as we’d stop at a red light. He sleeps in the sling when I take him for a walk, but like a tough gym coach, he starts scream­ing if I slow down or stop (maybe I should take the oppor­tu­nity to train for a marathon?).

And yet, strangers and kind souls keep on telling me I should take naps when­ever Mark is asleep. Yeah, right (again). First of all, when Mark is sleep­ing I usu­ally use that free time to: 1) go pee 2) eat 3) do house­hold chores 3) relax a bit 4) take a shower. Basic needs, really, I’m not so ambi­tious these days.

Sec­ond, I can’t sleep on com­mand. Mark may be able to pass out in my arms or in the car but I can’t. And unlike him, I don’t feel refresh after a twenty-minute nap. I’m a grown-up—I sleep in a bed, at night, prefer­ably a few hours in a row.

But one thing I don’t do is sleep like a baby—and nei­ther does Mark.

4 comments

  1. Like you said, one thing works one day and then it doesn’t, you always have to adjust. But maybe it would be eas­ier to put it to bed in his crib just before he actu­ally fall asleep so he won’t wake won­der­ing where he is or why he’s not in your arms per exam­ple. I know it’s dif­fi­cult but for few days, try to take note of his sched­ule, you might find out that every­day between 10-11am maybe, he sleeps so it can help you to find the right time to put it to bed in the best con­di­tions pos­si­ble… But each baby is dif­fer­ent so just do your best!

    • That’s a good point actu­ally, I hadn’t thought of it! I guess the key with babies is to keep on try­ing to see what works best… and advice are always welcome!

  2. My dad used to wake me up to feed me, the first week at home. (and my nieces are the same!) So… Sorry :-D

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