If there's one common saying about parenthood that is pretty much the opposite of its intended meaning, it's "sleep like a baby." Unless you have one of those rare, mythic, magical babies who immediately sleeps 12 hours a night (and if so, I hate you), you know the fallacy of that oh-so-misleading cliché. What does "sleep like a baby" really mean? I'll tell you. In this instance, I will be a baby much like my son at 2 months old, and my husband will play the part of me, the mommy.
It's night. I'm about to sleep like a baby.
6:30 p.m.: Yawn. I'm getting tired after my long, hard day of eating and growing and pooping. And smiling! Smiling is fun. My husband says cheerily, "It's bed time!" Where is this newfound optimism coming from? Does he think he'll be able to sleep more tonight than he did last night? Or is he just ready for my day to end?
He changes me into a clean diaper and pajamas, then moves on to what bedtime is really about: dinner. He wants me nice and full, so he feeds me some steak, broccoli and mashed potatoes. I try to eat as much as possible, but really, I'm just ready to go to sleep.
Just when I start dozing off, he breaks out the blanket. What?! No! Not again! Maybe it'll just stay a blanket this time. Maybe? No, no -- he's folding and twisting it into the dreaded straightjacket. He puts me in the straightjacket every time I sleep, yet, for some reason, it is always a surprise. And I always protest.
He holds my left arm down tightly, so I stretch my right arm as far as I can. Sttttttttretch -- maybe if I can reach further I can move my body and -- WAAAAAAH -- he got me! No! No! I thrash left and right and I howl and oh, wait -- now that I'm all tucked in everything feels nice and warm and cozy. Why did I fight this? I'll have to remember I like the straightjacket next time.
7:18 p.m.: After rocking and singing, I'm finally asleep.
9:00 p.m.: I'm vaguely aware of eating. Wha-mmmmm... OK, eating and sleeping are my two favorite things, but put them together? Yeah, this is the life. My husband spoon feeds me the rest of the mashed potatoes until I pass out, too tired to eat any more, even in my sleep.
11:22 p.m.: I'm up. I'm HUNGRY! Listen to me! I am yelling to register my displeasure!! My husband bolts upright and fumbles in the dark. Since he had been asleep for less than an hour, he's totally out of it; he doesn't get to me soon enough so I start yelling louder and louder. How dare he be sleepy when something this important is making me so unhappy? He finally stumbles to me, but by now I'm so mad that I can't even eat. I'm so mad that I forget why I'm mad. I'm just mad! He has to hold my hand and stroke my hair until I calm down and finally, finally I remember that I wanted to eat. Eat! Glorious, glorious eating. I had forgotten how delicious food was. Ravenous, I scarf down two turkey sandwiches and a bag of chips.
12:18 a.m.: Hey. What's up? I am! Hahaha -- good one, me! No, but seriously, husband, can we talk? Or watch some TV? No, no, do NOT try to feed me -- blech! -- I'm not hungry; I just miss you. Can we cuddle? We spend the next 43 minutes just getting in some much needed bonding time.
2:51 a.m.: Starving again. Starving! This time, my husband breaks out the good stuff and I start chowing down on a pint of Ben and Jerry's. Mmmmm, this is so delicio -- uh-oh. I poop. A lot. Out my pajamas, in fact. Oops! I'd be embarrassed if I knew the meaning of the word. But now it just means that we have more time to spend together before we go back to sleep. Once he gets me all cleaned up, I want to eat more. More! I eat as much ice cream as I can before it starts dribbling out my mouth, onto my pajamas and my husband's once-clean shirt. Well, this won't do; this won't do at all. All this mess is making me terribly, unreasonably, illogically unhappy.
I start to cry. For no reason at all. I'm not hungry. I'm not lonely. I guess I'm just -- I don't know? Wanting to express myself? My husband stands up with me and we walk around the room while I cry uncontrollably for about 10 minutes. Why, why, why are things so hard? Woe is me. Woe is everything. What is the existential meaning of life and the universe?
4:13 a.m.: I cough. The husband stirs. I cough again. He wakes up but doesn't move. I cough, then cough and fart at the same time. This elicits a smile from him. Heh.
5:04 a.m.: Wiggle. Wiggle. Wiggle wiggle wiggle. My husband wasn't as diligent with redoing the straightjacket after my poop explosion and I take advantage of its looseness. Wiggle wiggle wiggle. Oooh, what's this? It's so close I can almost -- yes -- it's my hand! Near my mouth! I'm just going to lay here and lick it because I can. I'm pretty proud of myself -- after all, it was only last week that I discovered I even had a hand and now I can bring it to my mouth to lick it? Pretty awesome, me! I think I should have a cocktail to celebrate my achievements. Maybe a mimosa since it's morning. Hey, it's morning! We made it! Waiter, bring me some eggs, toast and a mimosa -- go ahead and make one for yourself too since you were so attentive last night. Let's get the party started on a new day. After all, we only have 14 hours together until bedtime!