Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Thoughts in the middle of the night while rocking my four month old son...

Rock, rock, rock. Oh, he is so sleepy, he'll be asleep in minutes. It is 4:16 a.m.

I just finished nursing Lucas, but decided to try the "gentle removal" of my nipple before he was completely asleep. That was my first mistake. He remained snoozing as I transferred him from my arms into his crib, but then stirred almost instantly, his face rooting around for my breast. His stirring becomes more active, arms flailing, legs kicking, head smushing into the mattress from side to side and then coming upright looking for me. His noises shift from a quiet grunt to a louder whine, within which I swear I can almost hear, "where's my boobie?!" being angrily sputtered. The volume increases to a distinguishable cry and I am there in a second.

Having hovered two feet from his crib for the past three minutes, I refuse to let him cry, and I scoop him up out of there the instant his noises resemble that awful sound. I decide I won't give him my boob again, which is what I normally would have done. Actually I normally would have let him fall asleep nursing so this wouldn't be happening at all. I'll just rock him to sleep. He is so sleep, he'll be asleep in minutes. This is my second mistake.

Rock, rock, rock. Hubby says he rocks back and forth a hundred times and Lucas is usually out after that. Okay, I start counting. One, two, three... rock, rock, rock... fifty-seven, fifty-eight, fifty-nine... rock, rock, rock... ninety-three, ninety-four, ninety-five... I catch a glimpse of the babe in the mirror, his eyes are wide open and darting all over the place. This is not the glazed over look I am used to seeing when he is ready to sleep. Crap, he is wide awake.

I sit down in our rocking chair and sit Lucas on my lap, decide he needs some winding down. Rock, rock, rock in the chair. I pull over our friend the Glowworm to show the babe. I click on its belly and Pachelbel's Canon comes on. I do not understand how this has become a kids song. Lucas grabs the Glowworm's head and pulls it into his face, tries to stick the whole thing into his mouth, gets mad when it doesn't happen. Grunts in disatisfaction.

I throw the Glowworm over my shoulder and grab the soother. Since he wants to suck, might as well give him something. I show him the soother, he doesn't open his mouth. I press it against his lips, he sticks his tongue out. Try this a couple more times to no avail. Okay, fine, no soother for you then. I put it back on the dresser, shift lucas so he is against my shoulder. He starts slobbering all over my shoulder, rooting again, looking for the soother, or my nipple. Fine, I grab the soother again and try and reach my arm around to put it in his mouth. His mouth opens wide this time, yes please mommy that's what I want, and he turns his head into my chest. I come around the other side to give him the soother, and he turns to my shoulder. We play this game for several minutes until he is almost crying again. I sit him on my lap finally and shove the thing in his mouth, even hold it there for a while to make sure he's sucking. Ah, peace. Maybe now we can wind down.

I resume rocking in the chair. Rock, rock, rock. He sucks away merrily, catches notice of the ceiling fan, is content to stare at it. Oh, good, we'll get him glazed looking at the fan. Rock, rock, rock. Then the wiggling starts. First his little bum, wiggling on my lap, then his legs, squirming, squirming, then the soother pops out. Damn it, please land face up, I pray as I search for it in the minimal light, please no cat hair stuck to it. He starts to cry now, as I hover my hand over the ground looking for the damn pacifier. I'm bending over the side of the chair and consequently bending him too. His cries get louder, more of a shrieking sound now, I would say. I blow on the soother for some dumb reason thinking it might help and give it to him. He doesn't it want it now, he is too focussed on crying.

I resume standing, the sure trick to calm a baby, and I rock, rock, rock. He finally quiets down and I decide to try giving him his soother again. We have the same fight as before and now he is so riled up, I have half a mind to just start our day at 4:30 today, since it doesn't look like sleep is coming. But I need to sleep! So, I keep rock, rock, rocking. I rock him until the small of my back is in pain, until my feet have made imprints in the carpet, until the clock ticks past 5:00a.m. and my patience delves to an all-time low.

I rock and I think, I am not going to have any more children. This is after a weekend with my husband and I imagining a future with three kids all close in age. I rock and I think, I am going to make an appointment for an IUD tomorrow. I rock and I think, why do I have to be the one to get birth control, why can't he just use condoms, it's not like we're having that much sex. I rock and I think, why does he get to sleep now when this whole rocking idea was his? I rock and I think, not nursing my baby to sleep is the stupidest thing I've ever thought of. I rock and I think, why would I stop something that is so natural and easy, and to top it all off, decide to try this change of routine at 4am? I rock and I think, this is so not worth it, I am going to lay on the floor here and he can have both my nipples in his mouth for all I care. I rock and I think, I am going to pass out I am so tired. I rock and I think, how do women do this whose babies don't sleep at night, I am so lucky. I rock and I think, am I a terrible mother that I can't handle this one night, this one hour? I rock and I think...

Oh, he is feeling heavier now. His little body has slumped down against my chest and feels liked dead weight. I slowly shift so I can glance at him in the mirror and confirm what I know - his eyes are closed, he has, finally, drifted off. I am not going to put him down now. What a stupid idea to put him down when he is awake. I am going to hold him until he is totally comatose. I slow the rocking down. His heavy sleeping body weighs on my back and legs. I decide to sit down in the rocking chair. He still has the soother in his mouth, but the sucking has stopped. I decide to "gently remove" it from his sleeping mouth.

His arms flail, his eyes shoot open, his mouth searches for the soother. Oh fuck! I am going to kill myself. Didnt' I say I was going to wait until he was comatose!? I quickly shove it in again and my deal son decides to forgive me and falls back asleep. I rock him in the chair some more, make myself wait ten minutes and not fall asleep myself. Finally, I quietly get up, then delicately place him back in the crib. I hold my breath. His body settles into the mattress and I watch his deep breaths move him up and down. He is out. Thank God. I stand up straight and notice my body is still swaying back and forth, back and forth. Then I bolt to bed!

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