Sunday, January 02, 2011

Parties & babies & sleep,
plus a Small Victory

Ben and I took Bee to a record-breaking two parties yesterday (our previous record being zero). For introverts like us, attending two New Year's Day get-togethers seemed like a fairly formidable enterprise -- especially because one was a potluck and we barely have time to make one nutritious evening meal for ourselves over here these days, much less put together something elegant, delicious, and portable for forty neighbors. So, for the first time ever, Ben and I were the people who came to the potluck and Didn't Bring Anything! But that was the second shindig, and I'd like to blog about the first one: the baby party!

It was attended by six couples and seven extremely cute babies. I know you want to know the babies' names, so here they are. (Don't ask me what the adults' names were.)


Our girl, whom I've been calling Bee in this blog, was in good company among this crew of kids with simultaneously antiquated and modern monikers -- this being, of course, the aesthetic of choice when it comes to naming one's child in 2010, if one is of the socioeconomic class into which Ben and I fall. What can I say, I like this genre of name too.* Edith, Astrid, Esme... bring it on! At least there weren't any Gertrudes. I don't think the aesthetic goes so far as to include that one.

Bee proved herself a party animal like her 'rents by snoring through the entirety of both parties. Although, wait, she did awake briefly at the baby party to seek nourishment, and was the object of admiration by other parents due to the ease with which she breastfeeds... and I have to admit that Bee is kind of a champ at that.** Those other babies were more or less a mess when it came to eating -- unable to latch on consistently, fussed while eating, and generally didn't seem to know what they were doing (come on, babies! get it together!). Anyway, Ben and I certainly didn't show up looking to compare our baby to all those sweet Zoes and Calvins, but if I'm honest -- we did come away thinking, "well, at least we have that going for us."

But we've got our own special blend of chaos over here, believe me. Bee doesn't sleep the way we are given to understand that other babies sleep. Yeah, not even close. Desiring comradery and reassurance, I keep hoping to meet a set of parents who say, "Yes, our baby also insists on being held all the time or she won't sleep!" -- or, "Yes, as soon as our baby's butt touches the bassinet or crib mattress her eyes fly open and she acts like she just drank a double tall Americano!" But instead, when we describe Bee's need to sleep only in our arms, we just get shocked, sympathetic expressions of "That's horrible!"

Unwilling to let Bee cry it out,*** Ben and I have just been going with the flow. Our girl is still so young, and she needs what she needs. If one of the things she needs is the warmth and comfort of a parent holding her while she sleeps, well, I'm Mommy, and providing warmth and comfort is one of my jobs. (The parts of the job involving helping her develop her independence can be put into action when she's not eight weeks old, for Pete's sake. That's how I feel about it.) And she does sleep all night, just not without one of us (or her grandma, during grandma's glorious recent visit) holding her in our arms.

Here's what I hope and think is on the horizon. I think that Bee will slowly start feeling able to sleep by herself as she gets bigger, and that the comfort and love we are giving her in this early, difficult stage are only going to ensure that she trusts us and always feels safe -- which I hope will help her begin sleeping on her own. And, good news! Last night she slept alone in her crib for almost two hours!

Left: Party clothes! Bee wears a pants-and-tunic get-up instead of footed pajamas for the first time ever.

* Although we didn't quite go that route...
** You don't gain half a pound a week by not knowing how to eat comme il faut! Also, I discovered that not all moms can devour a complete meal with their left hand while nursing, something I can now do in my sleep (and likely have).
*** Ah, good old crying it out, known on the interwebs as "CIO" -- because there's nothing like an all-caps acronym to create the illusion that this is actually a legitimate technique.

1 comment:

  1. Both of my kids are crappy sleepers, and it sounds like your girl is a lot like our first kid was. People whose babies sleep easily will never ever understand. I watched one of the moms in my moms' group put her 2-month-old baby down on a wood floor three feet away from a group of playing/crying babies, and the baby lay there looking around for a minute, and then closed her eyes and went to sleep. I was flabbergasted.

    We held the first kid for every one of her TWENTY-MINUTE naps throughout her first six months. I tried everything to make her sleep like a normal baby, and then I just stopped torturing myself, because it was so exhausting and frustrating. It was much easier once I stopped fighting and let her do her thing. I think she was out of physical contact with another human being maybe 30 minutes a day for her first three months. That's what wraps are for - go with it and ignore the haters!