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Published on July 21, 2020

The new mommy diaries

Sleep at night? I used to do that before baby was born

By Stephanie Johnson / The Bulletin

Sleep? What’s that?

It was 3 a.m., and the entire house was awake. We were having a party.

We have a new roommate living with us. He depends on us for everything and keeps us up at the strangest times. He is always hungry and needs to be fed. And he wants to be held.

He sleeps - sometimes - in our room because when he sleeps at night, he likes to be near us. And, we like being near him.
“Just sleep when the baby sleeps,” comes the advice from friends who have been through this and may not remember how hard it was to adjust to a newborn’s sleeping habits. It’s easier said than done. Sometimes I need to get things done around the house, or work, including writing this column. I can only do that when the baby is sleeping.

“It gets easier,” comes more advice. I hope so. I’m ready. When does that happen?

The bassinet is no longer his friend, like it was the first two weeks of his life. He now has some strange vendetta against it. When I put it on the registry, it had the best reviews of all of them. I figured he would love it. He did for a while, but now it’s his enemy, and he does ninja moves in it.

He wants to be held. I do that a lot. I can’t help it. He is so tiny and cute, but I’m working against myself. It makes it much harder to get him to sleep in his bassinet. As I am writing this story, he is hanging out with me, asleep. I wouldn’t dare to put him in the bassinet, or this column would end right here.

David, my husband, and I have developed a master plan, but the baby’s sleeping pattern can change at random, making the plan useless. Then we develop another plan, until that is junked, and then another.

We also have a schedule. He takes the evening shift from around 8 p.m. to 12 a.m., and I take the rest of the shift, whatever that might be.

And then a miracle - the pattern normalized for some reason one night. We all got plenty of sleep. That’s the exception, though. Most nights are tough, and while David sleeps, I get to pull an all-nighter. Then the baby falls asleep, and David gets up and goes to work.

It’s like, let’s test mommy to see how long she can go without sleep.

I had to go to my doctor’s appointment, so David took off from work to take care of him. I fed the baby before I left. I assumed he was going to take a short nap.

When I came home about two hours later, guess who hadn’t budged? Out like a light. The second I walked by to put everything away, guess who woke up? It’s like he knew I just got home, and he was ready to eat again.

I always tell David how hard it is to get the little one down to sleep. And then anytime he is with him alone, and I am gone, which isn’t very often, the baby decides he wants to take a nice long nap for daddy. And, he magically becomes friends with his bassinet again.

We decided that we didn’t want to use a pacifier. We didn’t use one in the hospital, and for two weeks the no-pacifier rule was adhered to. Then, one night he was inconsolable, and I put the pacifier in his mouth. He quieted down, like someone just muted the volume of a radio, and went to sleep.

I never looked back on the no-pacifier rule. It was changed immediately. Funny how rules change once the baby is here. There are rules, and then there is reality.

It feels like I have won the lottery every time he finally goes to sleep, like I achieved something great. He is also really cute to stare at while he is sleeping.

Even though my new little roommate doesn’t sleep often when he is supposed to, I wouldn’t change anything for the world. Sleep deprivation is worth it, and with a little imagination, everything gets done - most of the time.

He has his two parents already wrapped around his finger. Let me tell you some stories. But not now, because he is up, and - The End.

(You can reach Stephanie at stephanie.bulletin@gmail.com. Or by writing to: The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516)