Published by Red Claw Press, 2012, in ‘Seek it: Writers and Artists Do Sleep’
I have been one acquainted with the night. I have paced the floor in the darkness, shushing, cooing, humming A, You’re Adorable or Train Whistle Blowing. Sometimes I have simply chanted “Go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep,” again and again, hoping my quiet rhythms would lull the baby to whatever sort of dreamland babies go to.
I have dozed off sitting up in bed or in a rocking chair in a dark room with a baby still latched onto my nipple, and woken in a panic thinking I’d dropped the wee thing on his little soft head.
I have watched reruns of Knight Rider at four in the morning, because the baby had decided it was time to get up.
I have stared angrily at my husband, fast asleep, snoring lightly, as the baby alternated between wanting to nurse and pushing me away.
I have taken part, at 2:45 a.m. in the ‘to change or not to change’ debate after the baby, who has finally fallen asleep, just crapped in his diaper.
I have performed a rigorous study on which times have the most surface area on the LED display of the bedside clock. 1:11 obviously has the least amount of surface area, followed closely by 1:17 and 7:11. There is a three-way tie between 10:28, 10:38, and 10:58 for the most surface area.
I have burst into tears because my baby wouldn’t nurse and wouldn’t stop fussing and wouldn’t fall asleep. I have thrust the gangly little thing at my husband, saying, exasperated, with tear stained cheeks, “Here – take him. Take him away! I just need to sleep!”
But I have also snuck into my babies’ rooms at midnight and watched them sleep. I have been overwhelmed by the beauty in their peaceful faces and moved almost to tears at the love I’ve felt for them then, sleeping soundly, knowing that as long as they are there, safe and warm, nothing else really matters.