I knew going into motherdom that I would probably be a worrying wreck of a parent. After all, my genealogical roots show a long line of worrying wreck parents. To add, I suspect that mothers tend to be more worrisome and dramatic... after all we are women.
The first few weeks after Rafaella was born proved that I inherited this trait. If she slept for a long period of time, I would glue my ear against her door to try and hear her. When that didn’t work, I would go in to see with my own eyes that she was breathing. When I couldn’t tell to my heart’s full comfort, I would gently place my hand on her stomach or under her nose to feel her breath moving throughout her tiny frame.
The last few weeks, Rafaella who was consistently sleeping well and longer each night decided that she would no longer be doing this. She begins to stir at 2:30… and then 3:30 which gets solved with placing her tete back in her mouth but then wakes herself up entirely by kicking her thunder legs violently and robustly like she’s at New York Sport’s Club’s Kickboxing Cardio class. I know the difference in her murmurs, her degree of whimper. And I know that if I go in there there’s no turning back. I will have to pick her up and rock her back to sleep and possibly sleep with her unless I want the fury of God, disguised in Rafaella’s cry, unleashed upon us at 4:30 in the morning. When I think that she is finally asleep, I gently place her in her crib and substitute small body pillows where my arm would be, constantly rocking so that our baby doesn’t notice the difference between my arms and her crib. Like she doesn’t know the difference? I drop to the floor and crawl out of her room Navy Seal style and I tell myself that I’ve won. I tell myself that I’ve tricked her into sleeping. And moments later, she reminds me that I haven’t.
UGH!!!! Why won’t this baby sleep?!?!? I can’t sleep if she doesn’t sleep. Why won’t she sleep?
These nights… these nights make me wonder what I was thinking getting into this parenting thing? I’m not cut out for this. I’m no good at this. I’m not patient enough or selfless enough or awake enough.
But it’s not consistent. There are nights that she sleeps well, only slightly stirring at 5:30 a.m. that is again easily solved with plopping her tete back in her mouth. Instant relaxation. And then she awakes at 7:00 a.m. for her routine morning feed. These night… these nights… I still wake up at 2:30 and then 3:30 and then 5:30, not because she is stirring but because I am wondering why she is not stirring. The worrying wreck root from that genealogical family tree starts to grow sprouts in my mind and asks me all types of crazy questions. Why isn’t she making noise? Why hasn’t she woken up? Is she breathing? Did she smother herself in her baby rolls? Is it too hot and she overheated? Did someone sneak in and take her?
The line of questions grows more absurd and illogical with each passing sleep deprived moment. I start convincing myself that I need to check on her. And then I start telling myself that I need to stay calm and not get so irrational. My brain has to actively persuade my body not to go into her room and watch her breathe.
Most of these nights I tell myself, “You can’t win.” When she doesn’t sleep through the night, I would give almost anything for her to sleep. When she does sleep through the night, I would give almost anything for me to sleep.