Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Rolling the Sleep Dice

One night two years ago or so, when our older son was a baby, my husband was so sleep deprived he tried to stop the baby crying in the middle of the night by turning off his alarm clock.

It didn't work.

Trying to get a good night's sleep with a baby is like rolling two dice and hoping for double sixes. There's always something, and usually multiple somethings, that make a long stretch of sleep highly unlikely. Things such as:


Stomach Pain/Gas



Sleep Regression

Or you get lucky and:


Here's a sampling of how a new parent's nights might go during the first few months.

The first couple weeks:

Parents: Ok... we can do this. And once we don't have to wake the baby up to eat I'm sure we'll get a little more sleep. Just have to hold on for a few weeks.

Nature: *snickers*

Parents: ... Did you hear something?

The next couple weeks:


Nature: Isn't it obvious? There's gas coming out of your crying child every five minutes.

Parents: But why????? *frantic internet search* Oooooh. Ok, no more eggs for Mommy while this child is breastfeeding.

Parents: Still with the gas???

Nature: This is fun. Brb, making popcorn.

Parent: Alright fine, Mommy will cut out broccoli too.

Parents: Ok, ok! No more chocolate or caffeine either. Are you happy now?

Nature: Eh... getting there.

Parents: Finally, no more gas. But why is the baby eating nonstop? I thought the growth spurt was supposed to be over by now. And what's with all the spitting up and hiccups?

Nature: That would be called reflux.

Parents: Yeah, this reflux thing is not cool. *more internet searching* It says here to elevate the crib mattress on one side. Guess we'll try that?

Nature: Good luck...

Parents: How on earth did the baby get turned around 180 degrees? We're trying to elevate the head here, not the feet! Maybe it's time to give baby some medicine.

Parents: Ha! See? No reflux. Medicine for the win!

Nature: Yes, but the whole family looks like death. Do you even know whose snot that is on your sleeve?

Parents: Doesn't matter. This cold will pass, and then, finally, all will be well.

Parents: Oh, come on! What now?

Nature: Did I forget to mention? That reflux medicine comes with a killer stomach ache. Enjoy being up several times an hour.

Parents: Ok, no medicine! We surrender! Anything is better than this.

Nature: Wanna bet?

Parents: *silent weeping*

Nature: Congratulations! You get GERD. From now on, your dice are set to roll only 3s.

A few months in:

Parents: *eliminate dairy from Mommy's diet*

Parents: *give in and bring the baby into the bed all night*

Parents: *buy every reflux product in sight*

Parents: *Mommy is now subsisting on rice and lentils*

And then one night...

Parents: ...

Parents: Well, it isn't reflux for a change.

Parents: ...

Parents: But what is it?

Parents: ...

Parents: And why won't it stop?

Nature: Isn't sleep regression fun? And you got the video monitor, so you can watch every time the baby rolls into an uncomfortable position, sealing your sleepless doom.

Parents: ...

Parents: Alright, we've been awake for four hours straight. Who's up for chocolate coffee ice cream?

This time around I haven't yet gotten to the chocolate coffee ice cream stage. I'm hovering somewhere between "spending all our money" and "living off nonperishable food." I'm convinced that reflux is Nature's way of enforcing a strong mother-baby bond. I didn't really think I needed that kind of help, but hey, when you're looking for a bright side, that's a pretty good bright side to embrace.

All that to say that posting may be a bit erratic for a few months while we ride out the storm of sleeplessness. Have a great Autumn!

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