A bed time story, tucking you in, kisses good night, sweet dreams.
Hogwash, I say.
A kicking legs, top of the lungs wailing, teary faced gauntlet I say.
Over three hours, yes three hours, trying to get my precious little Briar to sleep last night. Gone was the compliant, eager to please, sweet dispositioned, angel baby. No coos, no smiles, just raw, anger and indignation about sleeping in her crib. The beautiful white crib with its bright, cheery sheet, the colorful animal hanging on the rail, the fuzzy stuffed dog and its sleepy song is nothing more than a hateful prison to Briar.
She seems to be bellowing: I hate the crib! I don’t wanna sleep in the crib! Mommomomomomom, I love you please, please just pick me up. Why won’t you hold me? Don’t you love me.
How am I supposed to do this? I am trying so hard to help her learn. I don’t leave the room. I can’t stand the thought of her wailing to an empty room. I stay on the bed and keep my eyes focused on something else, or I stand beside the crib and say what I imagine to be soothing things. Everything I do just seems to infuriate her more.
After an hour and a half I tried picking her up and nursing her. She’s absolutely fine in my arms. She just gasps a little as her body recovers from the sobbing. She molds herself to my body for a while, but then she pushes off, starts looking around. Sleep is the furthest thing form her mind.
I put her back down and we start the process all over again. I lay her down on her side and squeeze her thing or hip gently. She takes a deep breath, fiddles with the pacifier and seems to consider sleep. Then, for no reason, I don’t stop squeezing, or rubbing or whatever I am doing and she gives a quick kick of her legs and starts wailing again. She sits up, cries, stands and holds the edge of the crib and then either bonks her head or falls down on her backside because she is so sleepy. Then I lay her down again and she either fights it or does the consideration of sleep all over again. Sometimes she is still for several minutes and I recline on my bed and read.
Silence. I can imagine that maybe she will sleep, but then she goes again. It’s exhausting. The last time I looked at the clock last night it was 10:57. It was quite a while before she went down. Each night, after the crib dance she will inexplicably crash. There is never a discernible trigger. I think she just ends up getting so exhausted – and perhaps bored- that she just throws in the towel.
I wish the process didn’t require such suffering. The one thing I have to say about Briar is that even during the worst times, there is something that makes me so glad that she’s mine. Last night in the midst of what I think I have to call a tantrum, Briar made a discovery. So there she was just screaming, I mean she was working those 9 month old pipes for all they were worth, when she started to make an “mmm” sound, most likely to make a plaintive plea for me to cradle her in my arms. “Mmmm, ahh, mmmm” and then voila, she made a bubble between her lips with all the saliva she had produced. It surprised her. She stopped and was quiet and still. She moved her lips to make the “mmm” sound again and lo, another bubble appeared. She was so proud of herself that she started making bubble after bubble.
Insert slightly guilty admission of guilt from mom: So maybe at some point during the 3 hours of trying to get Briar to sleep, I may have kind of encouraged her. Maybe (because Sean wasn’t there to tell me to not laugh at her) I kind of leaned over the crib railing and showed her that I can make bubbles too. Maybe we both needed the break from the trying to go to sleep.
Kind of like those Master Card commercials.
Feeding cereal & beef with veggies to your 9 month old: 20 minutes
Bathing and putting pjs on your nine month old: 45 minutes
Getting your 9 month old to sleep: 3 hours
Making spit bubbles with your 9 month old: Priceless/Timeless