My arm and the baby are in a race to see who falls asleep first. So far my arm is winning.
Normally it doesn’t take too much to get Owen to sleep. In the last couple of weeks we’ve even established a nice nap schedule. If there’s anything one can learn from a young baby is impermanence. They grow and change at such an alarming rate that routines are disrupted just when they seem to take root. For some reason it felt impossible to get the baby to sleep last night. I held and rocked him for hours. He wasn’t fussy, just not sleeping. Sometimes he even laughs. Everything on my body hurts from constantly holding him and breastfeeding. Finding myself getting agitated I had to put him down to leave the room for a couple of minutes. It didn’t take long for a few small whimpers to escalate to full on crying. Peter went in to pick him up and I followed. Owen still doesn’t like being cradled by dad so it was back to me once again.
When he finally went to sleep at midnight, the latest time I can remember, he woke again in a few short hours. My shoulders hurt so much I cried. I was cranky and Peter is not particularly good at showing empathy. The king size bed all of the sudden became too crowded for the three of us so Peter slept on the futon for the rest of the night. It’s hard living together. People said once the baby gets here I’ll be so focused being a mom that I would loose track of all our marital issues. So far that hasn’t been true. If anything, new parenthood has only accentuated our struggles as a couple. In Chinese we say every family has a difficult script, meaning no one has it easy regardless of their circumstances or appearances. That’s what I repeat to myself constantly. No one has it easy.
Whenever I have a hard time helping Owen to go to sleep I remind myself to check my own mental state. Nine out of ten times when Owen is fussy at bedtime I find myself tense and barely breathing. When that happens I remind myself to breath slowly and deeply, to slow my heart rate and to keep a stead rhythm. After all there is no way to calm the baby down in my arms if I am not calm and collected myself.
Owen couldn’t take a nap this morning after being held for a good hour. I put him down for a minute and held him again. He is finally sleeping now. Whenever I see his little face I think could this baby be any more perfect?