Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Baby Sleep

The infamous question asked by all who know: So, how are you sleeping?  It seems a silly question, really.  I am sleeping just like I have for the last 28-29 years, closing my eyes and eventually drifting off into sleep that last until my biological clock wakes me or some other external stimuli (most notably and presently a baby) wakes me.  The real question should be,How's the baby sleeping?  That is a much harder question to answer.  

First, our baby does not like to sleep.  She likes to experience the world, take it all in with her eyes always looking around intensely.  We try to convince her that sleep is good and even fun, that many adults would give up prized possessions just to be able to get a few more hours of sleep, but she won't believe us.  She fights sleep, especially later in the day, like it means dying.  This is her view towards day-time napping.  Night-time is another story, and no, it is not a nightmare.  Avi actually sleeps really well at night.  She will happily stay in bed with us for up to 10 hours!  As long as a boob is nearby to nurse on, and her diaper is changed should it be wet, she is quite content and sleeps through the night (except for feedings).  We are quite happy with her in this regard.  Now, just to work on those naps!

Second, nobody ever warned me that you had to work to put a baby to sleep.  I assumed they were like adults, or even like our dogs - they would lay down, close their eyes and sleep.  No, no, no... not that easy at all!  You, the caretaker, have to work, literally work to get the baby to sleep (most of the time).  This wasn't true when she was first born or even weeks old, this is a new phenomenon.  So, we walk, rock, massage, swing, stroll, sing, bounce and swaddle (whatever the trick of the moment is) to get her to sleep.  But the sleep is so sweet when it comes.  Her little face, so trusting.  Her eyes, peacefully shut, long, gracefully eyelashes defining each closed lid.  Her mouth, often slightly open in the most precious little "oh" you've ever beheld.  Her breathing, slow and rhythmic set-off my dreamy giggles and gasps.  What a joy it is to watch a sleeping baby - that is the joy of a day's hard work!

The irony of baby sleep: It takes miracles to get them to sleep, but once asleep, they can sleep through dogs barking, moms running with them bouncing in the carrier, people touching, and arms out and flopping.

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