Friday, November 13, 2009

Dear Mac: On the Subject of Sleep

Dear Son,
You and I just had our first big fight. It started this morning when I opened my eyes to the sounds of you fussing downstairs and your dad trying to talk you down. I looked at the clock. 9:20AM. Trevor had obviously called in late to work again to let me sleep as much as possible. But even still, he would have to be out the door soon. I had no choice but to drag my sleep-deprived, exhausted, fuzzy-headed self downstairs to take over your care for another long day of getting nothing done.

I'd like to call you a little shit for not letting me sleep again. It's been about two weeks of this. But if I'm honest, it's all my fault. One night not so long ago I was so tired that instead of getting up, nursing you and putting you back down in your cradle, I brought you to bed and nursed you to sleep. Then I did it for our nap the next day. Then I did it the next night, and the next night after that. It just seemed easier. You were ecstatic, like I was when I learned that our local Sobey's is now open until midnight every night.

Problem: you now need the boob and the pacifier to fall asleep. And since you wake up naturally every 50 minutes or so, I'm whipping the girls out like it's Mardi Gras. Pacifiers are flying around our bed like beads. So this morning, my sleep-deprived brain fought through the fog and came up with a plan. No more pacifier. No more boob.

Oh, how we fought. At first you thought I was joking. You smiled at me and puked down my cleavage. Ha, ha, so funny! Then it started to dawn on you that this wasn't a joke. You thrashed around, latching onto my arm, my chin, my cheek like a rabid piranha. Then you started to scream and, boy, you can scream. Upside, I could finally do a thorough evaluation of your gums from front to back, and your tonsils, too (they're fine. No teeth bumps, either).

You screamed and screamed and screamed, accusing me of betrayal through slitted eyelids. But I persisted. Rocking and rocking, shh'ing and shh'ing. For 40 minutes you screamed and I rocked. I stared at the pacifier on the bedside table. "COMFORT HIM!" one side of my brain screamed, "THIS IS CRUEL!" No, the other side of my brain said firmly. He's been fed. He has your arms around him. This is just anger that things aren't going his way. "YOU'RE AN ASSHOLE," the other side said. Maybe so. But I'm also right.

So I kept going. And then, suddenly, it stopped. Son, your eyes were closed. After I got over my shock, I laid you in your cradle and you sleepily popped your thumb into your mouth. Maybe, just maybe, this could mean the resumption of our beautiful friendship.


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