Babies cease to be cute after three days of sleep deprivation. Same goes for husbands.
I’m not gonna lie. There are times late at night when I’m struggling to get Sam to sleep that I look over at my comatose husband and I want to throw something at him. I actually did throw something at him once when Cassie was a baby. I was up nursing for the ninth time that night and Michael was snoring in bed. He was snoring very loudly, so loudly that I couldn’t even doze while sitting in the glider, which to me seemed way too unfair. So I picked up the book sitting on the table next to me and I threw it at him. Hit him too, with a nice big satisfying thunk. He gave a big snort and a grunt, sat up looking very surprised, and then groaned when I ordered him to roll over and quit snoring. Fortunately for both of us, he had the sense of mind not to complain about having his sleep interrupted, because I had plenty more books within arms reach.
I was able to refrain from repeating the book throwing episode last night, although it was hard to do. I don’t know if Sam’s going through a growth spurt or if we’re just dealing with more problems related to her lactose overload, but she’s done nothing but feed and fuss for the past three nights. Last night I tried to wear her out before putting her down. I strapped on the front carrier and walked around the house with her for over an hour, grabbing a piece of laundry and folding it each time I passed by the dryer. I got two loads put away by the time Sam finally dozed off, and I thought I was home free. Then I put her in her bouncy chair to sleep and she immediately woke up.
Why am I putting this kid in a bouncy chair to sleep, you might ask? Because Sam won’t sleep lying flat on her back. I can get her to sleep on her side, and every time I put her on the floor for tummy time, she falls asleep on her belly with no problem (a fact which bothers the crap out of me, thanks to the SIDS On-Your-Back campaign). But try putting Sam down flat on her back and she howls. So for night times and naps, I’ve resorted to putting her in the bouncy chair, where she can sleep sitting propped up. Not as comfortable for her as tummy time apparently, but she can usually deal with it.
Last night though, I couldn’t get her in buckled into the stupid bouncy chair. The little straps went and hid under her butt, and by the time I managed to fish them out, Sam was awake again and fussing. I was out of ideas and at the end of my rope so Michael picked her up and rocked her for a while. Fed up with the bouncy chair, I went downstairs and grabbed the car seat to put Sam in once she fell back asleep. It would be easier to put her in the car seat I decided, since she could rest in it without needing to be strapped in. Then I crawled into bed and listened to Michael rock Sam. He got her to sleep after half an hour or so. And then my husband the genius put our fussy child in her bassinet flat on her back.
Now I told Michael I had brought up the car seat. I put it where we normally put the bouncy chair. He walked past it twice, had to step over it even, so I know he knew it was there. And yet he decided to ignore it and put Sam down in a position he knows she hates. I couldn’t believe it. Sam stayed asleep for a minute after being laid on her back. Then she started to grunt and hyperventilate. Pretty soon, she was thrashing around and screaming.
“Why did you put her flat on her back?” I demanded as I got up to calm my squalling infant.
“She has to sleep on her back sometime,” he mumbled, already half asleep.
“Michael, we’ve had two sleepless nights in a row. Tonight was not the night to experiment!”
He just shrugged and rolled over. I looked for something to throw at him.
It took me another half hour to get Sam settled and down to sleep. From midnight until 4 AM, she snoozed peacefully in her car seat. During those same hours, I dreamt over and over of divorcing Michael. The dreams were pretty vivid too. I imagined packing up everything I owned, taking the kids and driving off to some imaginary land where no husbands existed. It was a peaceful place where people communicated and actually tried to understand each other. Nobody did anything dumb like shop at Sam’s Club and bring home one hundred rolls of toilet paper when all you needed and had room for was four (“But honey, we saved two cents a roll!”). Nobody turned off the lights while you were still in a room trying to clean up the mess they left behind. And nobody plopped down on top of the pile of clean, freshly folded laundry sitting in the middle of the bed to take a nap. People actually thought first before doing things, and thus a lot of mistakes and homicides were avoided.
Then I dreamt that my computer broke down and I woke up in a cold sweat. I thought about my laptop and my desktop, my scanner and my Wacom digital tablets, my wireless network and my cable modem. I realized that no matter how many dumb things he might do, I needed Michael. Because truth be told, you can’t buy good tech support these days. You have to sleep with it.
Assuming the baby lets you sleep, of course.