Monday, August 2, 2010

Mama Bean sings a lullaby

We are very blessed that Bean has the temperament to be put down for naps/sleep while still awake. When he was very small, up to about four weeks old, I would nurse and then rock him to sleep, or Papa Bean would rock him down for naps. But when we discovered the Swaddle, we stopped rocking. All the Baby Pundits said he would "get used to it" and "be spoiled" or "expect it all the time" which didn't sound like fun, so we started swaddling as our primary sleep cue, plus a soother, and he was quite amenable to then falling asleep by himself. Sometimes we'd even strategically angle the blanket edge over the soother to hold it in his mouth, which is sooooo contrary to all the SIDS punditry, please don't hate us, but it worked.

Not that I think swaddling and soothers are the answer to sleeping babies. I think Bean's just a chilled out relaxed little dude, and we did something consistently, and he rewarded us. Nice little Bean. We even did some of that "sleep training" stuff, and let him cry, or we'd go in just long enough to give back the soother, and then let him cry, and he would go back to sleep like the lovely, accommodating baby that he is. Nice, nice little Bean.

Even giving up the Swaddle wasn't so bad, especially when the weather started to heatify and muggify into a real Prairie Valley summer. Then the problem became his tendency to roll over onto his tummy and forget how to roll back, so he wakes up crying. (But, if he somehow stays asleep on his tummy, he will sleep for ages and it's lovely. Weird.) We put rolled up blankets and pillows and padding around him to keep him from rolling around, but it doesn't always work. And now, more often than not, he's just playing with the stuff, tossing it around (and out of) the crib so that he's twisted 180 from where we laid him down, with a pillow over his legs, a blanket under his left side, and two blankets twisted over his right hand. Again, SIDS infractions galore. But he falls asleep by himself, and wakes up happy (usually) and I just count my blessings every day (about three or four times, between naps and bedtime...)

A friend of mine had a baby about a week before I had Bean, and she is similarly well disposed to falling asleep by herself. They follow the sleep training thing, and they swaddled, and their chilled out little dudette is lovely and accommodating also. But we've noticed another similarity. Neither baby is particularly cuddly. Bean doesn't really like being held close, he doesn't lean his head or body into mine, and he definitely doesn't fall asleep while I'm holding him. Only when he's really really tired can I sometimes trick him into sort of falling into me while I'm holding him, and sometimes when I carry him up the stairs to bed, he'll start sucking on my shoulder, but that's really more about what he knows is coming next. I didn't want to "spoil" him, but I didn't realize that might mean giving up rocking him at any time, ever again, so help me God. I wonder if there's some sort of in between...

Maybe it will all change as he gets a little bigger. Certainly, they just become more and more cognizant of interpersonal dynamics, and the importance of the child-parent relationship. Maybe some of what's so hard in the Delirious Early Days is that they are so utterly dependent, and you're doing every possible thing to keep them not only alive, but comfortable and warm and cozy, and it's completely thankless. Because they have no fricking clue, right? So you're just doing and doing and giving and giving and they don't care. They only know how to neeeeeeeed. But then they hit that two to three month mark, and start giving (non-gas related) smiles. And their eyes clear up a bit, so they look like they can really see you, and recognize you, and know that you are the centre of their tiny, comfortable world. And every interpersonal milestone in the first year or two is really about you the parents. Making strange with people that aren't you, reaching for you for comfort/out of preference, learning to call you mama and dada, etc.

And somewhere in there, hopefully, having some hugs and some cuddles and sweet, quiet moments of trust and love. I'll just keep waiting.

Regardless of whether he likes it or not, after his bedtime nursing, I hold Bean in my lap and sing him a lullaby. Even when he bending over my arm to reach for the nail clippers on the table. Or climbing over my shoulder to scratch the chair fabric. Or just generally trying to get away from me. (If he's fussy and crying I put him in his crib and sing through the crying, because I'm trying to be consistent, and really, I think this exercise has become more about me than him. Motherhood is twisted; I embrace that.) I sing him a song I call Bruce's Song*

When moonlight falls across the hills
and through your windowpane
You'll close your eyes, and say your prayers
and think about your day

Did you laugh enough, and play enough?
Did you show the world your smile?
Did you catch the light, with both your hands
and hold it in your heart?
Well don't worry 'bout that now
It's time for your lullaby

*I wrote the song for my best friend, when she was pregnant. She doesn't know this, and has never heard the song, because my grand plans to record it on a disc of lullabies has not happened. Yet. But it could! One day... don't hate me, K...

1 comment:

  1. Oh my jo! you've made me cry... it's so lovely. thank you.