Unraveling a Farce: “Sleeping Like a Baby”

3 Sep

Sleeping like a baby. Everyone does it these days, or at least claims they do.
Person A: “Hey good morning! How did you sleep last night?”
Person B: “Oh man, I slept like a baby! I didn’t even move!”

False. Or more importantly, farce. A travesty. Completely burlesque. (Dear Wife, I threw this last one in especially for you after I excitedly figured out that one of its definitions is “involving ludicrous or mocking treatment of a solemn subject”. Sleep really is the most solemn of subjects, isn’t it?)

Anyone who claims to actually sleep like a baby should have a 6:30 AM conversation more like the following:
Person A: “(YAWWWWWNNNN) Oh, hey. How did you sleep last night?”
Person B: “I slept like a freaking baby. Get out of my face unless you are offering me coffee, and even then stand ten feet back. Ok fine, bring me the coffee and then back away — slowly.”

The simple truth is, babies… they don’t sleep very well. They actually sleep kinda horribly. They, in fact, sleep so horribly that a pediatrician (Judith Owens) is quoted on BabyCenter.com as saying that “through the night”
is defined as being from the hours of midnight to 5 AM.
MIDNIGHT TO 5!?! That hasn’t been “through the night” since I was a sophomore in college! I am not sure in what world 5 hours of sleep constitute “through the night”, but I am finding out more and more that these benchmarks are invented by the medical world because 5 hours of baby sleep is actually really, really good. And well-earned. And glorious.

I really have no room to be complaining as Baby Nolan has slept more like an old man for the past 2+ months. Yes, like an old man. What is “sleeping like an old man”? Well by definition Old Man Sleep is roughly a two-hour nap at 10 AM and 2 PM, asleep shortly after the nightly news airs, and awake at 6 AM because you cannot just shut off a hard-working pituitary gland. Everyone knows what I am talking about. However lately the Nolanator has been sleeping more like a baby. After spoiling his caring, loving parents for two months he is reverting to typical baby form and punishing us.
Let’s take last night for instance. Coming home from a long vacation weekend he slept for 3 hours in the car which is usually chalked up in the normal column but this weekend was a pure victory. A victory? Definitely. Because during what was a 16-hour round-trip car ride the only 3 straight hours he slept were those last 3 coming home. I then, in my infinite parenting wisdom (read: complete naivety), figured that as soon as we got home I could transfer the sleeping monster from car seat to crib and ride off into the sunset. HA! Yeah right! The lack of road noise in his crib didn’t sit too well with the little dude, and so he cried about it. Then two hours later he woke himself up jamming an arm and leg through the crib rails, so he cried about it. Four hours later? His stomach was empty so… he cried about it. What gives? What is causing this transition from old man sleep to baby sleep?

I have a couple of theories. On one hand, my beautiful wife and I have come to realize that he may not be eating enough right now and is possibly going through a growth spurt. Yet when we provide fuller bottles he usually leaves some behind. That’s wasteful and we don’t like wasteful. So we dial back the amount of formula in the bottle, but then he is screaming hungry two hours later! It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. A full-circle of sorts. He wants a bottle, but he doesn’t want too much of a bottle, then bottle races through stomach like race horse, he wants a bottle… Hey, I can’t blame him too much on this front because I would be screaming mad if my stomach was empty after two hours too. The second theory of mine may have more resonance: He has become too dang observant! He has grown to the age and understanding where he can hold his head up and look around, and actually focus on items. He will look straight at you, almost through your soul, with penetrating greenish-blue-brown-gray eyes and then look away at the TV because it has more colors on it. In the car I more often than not see him straining to look to the side and out the window rather than at his dapper reflection in the mirror (though he does love to see himself in the mirror). So it would make sense that when he stirs and wakes up at 2 AM, he would be a little bit angry that nothing or no one is there to entertain him. Unfortunately there may not be a solution to that one except to ride it out… and as always we find that baby rules all.

The moral of the story is this: The next time someone claims to have slept like baby, slap them. Because we in the Jar have learned that sleeping like a baby doesn’t really make anyone happy.



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