Over the past few weeks, I have developed a very specific game-plan to maximize efficiency for overnight milk distribution to my littlest little guy. In theory, this plan should also allow for maximum sleep and thus improved function and mood of Mama Monkey. In practice, well in practice I am reminded how futile even the best laid plans really are when a very small version of a person is involved. I am also reminded that I am a foolish woman indeed to imagine a good night of sleep will happen anytime before Christmas.
Here is an example of how a typical night might go down as my well-intentioned plans crumble to a billion pieces of sleepless inefficiency.
1100pm: Little Monkey gets a bottle from Daddy so
Mama Monkey can pump. This strategy allows for empty/comfortable boobies and fresh milk for the early morning meal time. Things seem to be off to a deceivingly respectable start.
1120pm: I crawl gratefully onto my luxurious, heavenly pillow-top mattress under my fluffy down comforter with naive hopes of catching a few quality hours of slumber. The hubs is cradling the littlest dude on his side of the bed watching Colbert Report on the DVR. I am charmed by the sight.
1125pm: The charming sight is short-lived and baby duty is officially passed to me...Both literally and figuratively.
1130pm: I decide that our cuddle time can end as the credits roll on ol' Stephen. TV off and baby relinquished to the bassinet.
1131pm: After a full minute of sweet silence, baby monkey squawks begin and soothie pacifier is quickly engaged ... and re-engaged ... again and again.
1141pm: About ten minutes into the pacifier showdown, baby squawks elevate to baby squeals, pacifier is re-engaged yet again and hand is draped into bassinet to provide gentle pressure and reassurance with admittedly half-assed effort.
1146pm: Squawks and squeals return at heightened frequency and volume. Baby is clearly unimpressed by half-assed parenting efforts. Vibrate feature on bassinet is attempted as the parenting equivalent to a Hail Mary pass at the buzzer.
1147pm: Hail Mary pass falls flat, game lost, squeals persist and morph seamlessly into full-on baby cries with an impressive magnitude for a person weighing only 5lbs, 5oz. My child, if you're curious, sounds like a banshee when fully pissed off.
1148pm: You win, baby. He comes out of his bed and into my arms. Clearly this has been his goal all along. The maneuver is easily preformed with only one hand and not much effort, given his size and the proximity of the bassinet.
1155pm: I am lulled into a false sense of security resulting from Baby Monkey silence and even breathing pattern. Frankly, I am also exhausted (this being only one in a seemingly endless string of nights short on sleep and long on futile efforts). I carefully extract his tiny bundled body from mine and place him cautiously back into the bassinet. This time, I move slowly and smoothly, using both hands and letting them linger briefly; presumably to trick the little guy into thinking he is still cradled in my arms.
1158pm: Just as I have returned to a reclined position and achieved sufficient cervical spine support by fluffing and arranging my pillows just so -- thus settling into blissful comfort -- two quick squawks emerge from my right and I realize I am defeated yet again.
1159pm: I have waited a full minute (seems like ten) during which time the agitation has only worsened and become louder; again achieving a surprising volume and earning both of us a trip to the nursery at the end of the hall so hubs can get some shut eye.
1203am: I am on my feet and rolling the bassinet down the hallway, observing with vague humor how Little Bit seems to really appreciate the ride. I briefly muse over the idea of running the little guy and his bed up and down the hallway until dawn.
1204am: Settling the bassinet snug next to the love seat in his nursery, I re-insert the binkie, re-swaddle the baby burrito, and re-administer vibrate mode. Hoping that by unleashing my full arsenal of comfort measures, I can finally get re-acquainted with the backs of my eyelids.
1205am: I stretch out onto the love seat, arranging pillows and blankets and cautiously finding a level of comfort which feels nice but that I am not entirely attached to. This proves to be a good plan, because the chirping and squawking resumes momentarily.
1206am: We repeat the pacifier showdown and I recall once being horrified by a written warning against adhering the soothing device to an infant's face. Suddenly the warning seems totally valid as the practice of duct taping the damn thing in place seems like a very real temptation.
1213am: My patience is wearing thin and I know what the little guy is after, so I cave and sit up intending collect him up from that decidedly unsatisfactory bassinet
1214am: Baby monkey is suddenly and mysteriously quiet. He is either anticipating the impending cuddle or he is toying with me. I wait.
1216am: Yup, he's messing with me. Squawks resume and I succumb to his demands because I am a sucker.
A mother sucker.
I am also delirious enough to think that joke is worthy of out loud laughter. Excuse me while I get ahold of myself.
1217am: We settle into the reclining mode on one end of the love seat. I sink back and peruse my phone, first checking my email. There, I find an invite to a birthday party that tells me 'cocktail attire is appreciated.' This also makes me laugh out loud as I try to remember when I wore something other than cotton stretch pants and sneakers.
Next, I open up my Netflix app and decide to brush up on the last season of Breaking Bad in anticipation of watching the first episode of this season which is waiting patiently on my DVR. I also take a moment to wonder what women did to keep themselves sane during these moments prior to the glorious advent of smartphones. I also wonder if my life will ever again amount to anything beyond diapers, nursing, toddler chasing, and television; when the notion of 'cocktail attire' is anything but laughable.
Sometime during all that wondering, I fall asleep. Thus committing (in the eyes of medical professionals) the cardinal sin of parenting. I don't know how long the slumber lasted, but eventually I wake with a start, confirm my child has not been smothered to death, and carefully return him to the safety (and apparently extreme discomfort) of his bassinet.
The early morning hours roll on with some variation of the events described above with the addition of an eventual meal and diaper change (for him, not me...but who can fault you for asking?)
Eventually, the light behind the blinds announces the onset of a new day; Toddler Monkey wakes up refreshed and ready to kick some mommy ass in a game of toddler tag; and I resolve to find beauty and meaning in the days that are happening between these sleepless nights.