Last week at my moms’ group a fellow mom asked me the ever-so-popular-but-extremely-annoying question, “So, how’s he sleeping?” How many of us when in the trenches of carrying for a newborn are asked this if not on a day to day, then an hour to hour basis? It isn’t that there is anything wrong with the question, it’s more of what it does to the mom who has to respond. You see the truth is that babies, those warm and squishy fresh new little people we take care of, do not sleep well. Wait, what? Yes, yes, shocking I know. But let’s be honest, especially for the sake of those out there who have not yet become mothers, about what it really means to “sleep like a baby.” Babies eat a lot and poop a lot, with digestive systems that still have to get the kinks out, and therefore wake up A LOT. Sure when they are truly asleep they could probably sleep through the what not that occurred in films like “Deep Impact” and “Independence Day,” but at 1 to 3 hour stretches it leaves much to be desired. Through A LOT of hard work and consistency babies can actually learn to sleep in a way that a sane adult might actually enjoy, but it takes time. And that time cannot include things like illness, teething, learning to crawl/pull up/walk, or travel. Personally, I think the phrase should be corrected to say something more to the effect of “sleeps like a teenager.” 12 to 13 hour stretches on the weekend with a wake-up time of around noon…um yes. Yes please.
So that was my answer today, by the way. I smiled at her, wiped the fresh spit up off my shoulder, and simply said, “Well, he sleeps like a baby.” Years from now I will be threatening things like, “You cannot fly your hovercraft tonight with your friends if you don’t get your booty out of bed and beam yourself to school.” Today, however, I am rejoicing in the small victories like right now when he is all swaddled up, belly full of milk (all still in his belly without the usual spit up eruptions), diaper at a comfortable fullness level, and cute little kissable cheeks resting soundly in his bassinet. As Sara Groves sings in the song Fast Asleep,
“Nothing in this world is quite as sweet, as a tiny baby fast asleep. I could watch you to the end of time, especially when that baby is mine.”
Nothing does compare to the beauty and sweetness of my baby boy sound asleep, dreaming. I am reminded of how blessed I am that he is warm, well fed, safe, and here. That he is breathing all on his own. (someday I’ll post about our rocky start). So many around the world care for babies just as sweet, just as beloved, and just as lovely without the means to provide for their basic needs. Many others face empty bassinets and empty arms as they grieve for the little ones they have lost or never had. My baby is no more valuable, no more treasured and no more deserving than any other one. So I remain grateful, and pray that as he sleeps like the baby that he is, that I would remember how much we do have, even if sleep is lacking.