Sunday, October 26, 2008

Maneuvers (younger child edition)

Also on the list of what I'm calling bullshi*t tonight: that old guilt-inducing gem that I should be putting my child to bed "drowsy but awake." There is no way this kid is going to agree to be placed in her crib while still awake and just happily stay there.

Whatever, she's still a baby. I'm not interested in being upset about this little flaw in our perfect parenting. She gets fed and rocked to sleep in the rocking chair, and then transferred to her crib already in slumber. When M puts her to sleep he (obviously) gives her a bottle, but when I have L (like tonight, also known as Night #3 of 4 of Daddy's In Chicago), I nurse her to sleep. And this is when I like to think my genetic assets best come into play. I'm not sure how smaller-chested women transfer their babies. Maybe they're all taller than me.

When she falls asleep against my skin and loosens her suction, I leave her face tucked directly into me. Then, holding her carefully against me, I carry her to crib and as I lower her to her mattress I never pull her skin away from hers. When she feels the mattress underneath her and inevitably murmurs a little or awakens slightly, I make sure she feels that I'm still right next to her, and with that (fake) reassurance, she returns to her deep sleep. Only then do I pull away and reposition my clothing.

Before we began bedtime tonight I gave the girls a bath, and as I watched L's behavior in anticipation of climbing in I was struck by its familiarity. Familiarity, not in the sense that I've watched her do this before every bath (though I have), but in the sense that her posture must be just what I look like when I put her to sleep. She was on her tiptoes, bent in half over the rim of the tub, nosediving for her favorite bathtub toys in the too-slowly-for-her-taste rising waters. Her body was so folded over and teetering on the edge of her toenails that she looked more likely to fall face-first into the water than be able to pull herself back, though pull herself back she did, time and again, with the trophies of new bath toys clutched in each fist.

When I reach on my tippiest toes to extend my form alongside hers right into her crib, I must look just like her. The only difference is that when I upright triumphantly, my trophy is a successfully transferred sleeping child. Too bad she won't stay that way for more than a few hours at a stretch. Pin It