Rock You Like a Hurricane

After a mental scan of all the song titles I know with “rock” in them, that’s what I came up. Good thing you’re here for the baby pictures and not so much for my witticisms, hm?

With the exception of a few curveballs here and there, Natalie’s sleeping has been solidly ok. Even from the very beginning, she’d eat and then fall asleep (or, more accurately, fall asleep while eating, which makes for some very funny but not blog-photo-appropriate  moments when I ease myself away from her and the mouth keeps going). We had a nice, simple routine down pat: change diaper, suit up (either swaddle or the Magic Merlin Sleep Suit), nurse, then set her down in the pack ‘n play and back out of the room slowly.

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 Boom, done, now Mommy can enjoy her coffee and a book for a solid 25 minutes. Or maybe even shower if I want to really live it up. Life is good.

But as with all things baby, I set myself up for an enormous cosmic smackdown by smugly thinking I got this. 

This week Natalie has decided that she does not want to be nursed to sleep. There is no polite demurral, however, not a single no thank you, but I’m all set.  No, she lets me know by yanking her head back, sometimes without letting go first, and shrieking.

Delightful.

It took me a little while to catch on to the fact that this was a complete refusal rather than her just taking a little bit to settle down, which isn’t uncommon. Finally I turned her so she was on her back in my arms so we could have a heart-to-heart. Mommy doesn’t know what you want, I tried to explain to her. But mid-sentence, she rudely yawned and started doing the long, slow blink that heralds the arrival of sweet, sweet sleep.

Oh. Ok then.

I rocked her until her eyes were firmly closed and her arms relaxed out to her sides, then put her in the pack ‘n play. This was astounding because never in her three months of life, not once, have Will or I rocked her to sleep in our arms. Plenty of over-the-shoulder bouncing, swaying, walking in circles around the bedroom, yes – but never rocking. We’d tried, but it never relaxed her; she always tried to turn towards us to nurse (which is hilarious when Will is holding her).

It was such a peaceful picture, like all the (obviously staged) photos of blissful, beatific mothers smiling at a calm, sweetly slumbering newborn in their arms. Except for the spit-up on my shoulder and the sweatpants and yesterday’s messy hair, and a baby that looks like a pink Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in her sleep suit. We looked just like that.

Rocking a nearly 17-pound baby, however, is a bit different than rocking a newborn. It’s more of an endurance exercise than anything else, and takes on a desperate, ragged quality the longer it takes for the baby to fall asleep. She’s almost out – eyelids are drooping, limbs are going limp, breathing is slowing – but my arms are done.

At that point I’m basically screwed.

Like Sandra Bullock driving that bus around and around the airport, I cannot stop moving, not unless I want my baby to detonate in a crying fit that will force me to start the naptime routine all over again. 

My arms ache, I have an itch on my nose, and, worst of all, I think I have to sneeze oh please god no. I have to make a decision – do I put her down now, while she’s not fully out (we haven’t yet mastered the art of going to sleep from drowsy-but-awake)? Or do I try and swallow my sneeze and pray it doesn’t startle her into smacking herself in the face with her own hands?

Usually I opt for the sneeze. Fifty percent of the time, it works every time!

I don’t know why Natalie has suddenly changed her MO. We are very suspicious of flash flood of drool that suddenly spills from her mouth, and her intense need to constantly be chewing on something.

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Lord have mercy. I’m so not ready for teeth.

 

 

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