to sleep and sleep not
so one of the things our pediatrician told us -- when we mentioned our child refuses to sleep on her back -- was that it's time to start teaching her to sleep better. it's time, basically, for BABY BOOT CAMP. this little kid is like a koala -- she's not happy unless she's clinging to you. and she only falls asleep when she's upright. you'll be pacing the hall, up and down and up and down and up and down, holding her upright until she doses off. she's peaceful, angelic, asleep in your arms. you figure it's a good time to lie her down on her back or side (BUT NOT HER STOMACH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD) in her bassinet and carefully tip-toe away.
you would think. but you would be, how do you say?, wrong. the second the baby suspects that she's about to be banished to the hellish solitude of her bed, she loses her mind. she can't talk yet but i am pretty sure she's saying "whoa! where the fuck do you think you're going, turkeyneck? PICK ME UP OR I WILL SCREAM UNTIL YOUR COLON BLEEDS." i know the conventional wisdom is that it's a battle of the wills -- you have to duke it out early and show the little shit who's boss. well, yeah. you try getting anything done in this house: i walk with her until she falls asleep. i put her down. i get settled in and begin
i pick her up. but not for long. i walk with her until she falls asleep, which now requires having one or more of my fingers in her mouth to soothe her. i put her down. thank god she doesn't have motor control because i swear she would shiv me at this point. i pick her up and repeat the process. after failing to convince her for the 37th time to fall asleep, i become totally irrationally angry with her, a tiny baby. "you want to walk?" i ask her. "YOU WANT TO WALK?! i'll fucking walk, kid. we're going to walk FOR DAYS. you're going to be BEGGING ME TO PUT YOU DOWN. we are going to walk my legs down to bloody nubs. i'll show you walking." this, of course, is exactly what she wants. so, i lose. and she's not even two months old yet.
there was an excellent concert at the park near our house last night -- top flight jazz line-up: james carter, charlie hunter, the bad plus. brilliant. brooklyn rules. so mrs nice guy and i packed a picnic, grabbed the stroller and set up camp on the lawn by the bandshell. five minutes after we get there the kid, who was on track to sleep for the next 3 hours, decides to have a very public meltdown. in our neighborhood, that's ok. everyone in park slope is either a parent, a small child, or having a meltdown. but it's a little stressful when it's YOUR kid that's melting and all you want to do is hang out on the grass, sipping wine and enjoying a show with everyone else and their non-melting-down babies. it was not meant to be. after 16.1 minutes--after charlie hunter had barely noodled through 10 bars on his eight-string guitar--we caved. put her in the stroller and walked home. she was asleep by the time we walked through the door. baby wins again.
but. do you want to know our dirtiest little horrible secret? do you?
promise you won't tell anyone, but ...
sometimes, in the darkest moments of our soul-blackened despair, we let her sleep on her stomach.
look. when i was her age, i slept on my stomach. i turned out fine, right? (don't answer that.) our baby has none of the SIDS risk factors; the kid loves sleeping on her stomach, and quite frankly, we rather love clinging to the vestigial shreds of our sanity. so she sleeps on her stomach. and we're not alone! mrs nice guy and i have a couple friends with babies ... they let them sleep on their stomachs too! there is a quiet revolution happening in the parenting undreground, people! rise-up! i mean didn't we all sleep on our bellies? back in the day, doctors even recommended it! (this is, of course, deeply flawed logic because i believe back then they also used to prescribe menthols as treatment for esophageal lesions.) anyway. she's asleep on her stomach right now! ha! what are you going to do about it sleep nazis?! scream at me? i got people screaming at me here ALL THE TIME. i can take anything you --
ah hell. she just woke up.
yep. there she goes.
i am a tiny, broken man.