Sometimes babies simply don't want to sleep. Or they want to - desperately - but don't know how (read: are too stoopid to just close their eyes!). Anyone who has ever had a baby - or been stuck in the grocery store line behind a crying one - knows this (my apologies to the folks at Thrifty Foods today).
Of course, babies need a lot of sleep. More than us. And if they don't get it, they get cranky and make it their red-eyed, whining mission to make all those around them cranky as well.
I don't get it! If someone said to me "Hey friend, you look tired. Why don't you take a load off and go have a nap?" . . . I'd be like "F---ing awesome! Thanks!! And hey, when I get up could you have some warm milk on tap for me? And maybe give my ass a quick wipe 'cause I'm pretty sure I just wet myself with delight." But no. Babies don't appreciate just how precious sleep is. And how much they will miss it when they grow up and have children of their own.
I don't know if it's because they have immature central nervous systems, or because now that they realize there is an exciting world around them they're worried they'll miss something . . . but it can be really difficult to convince these little rugrats to go to sleep. Especially for those elusive daytime naps.
Oh, the lengths we'll go to to facilitate naps. We'll sing (even if we can't), rock, bounce, walk, drive, stroll, shove our boobs in their mouths, beg . . . the strategies are endless! Note the picture of Sam sleeping on his dad in the baby b.jorn, because our no-fail fallback sleep technique is throwing Sam in the carrier and heading outside - there is something about fresh air that knocks him right out.
And once you get that baby to sleep you do not disturb him for love nor money. Note in that picture that dad is back home from the walk and lying on the bed with Sam still in situ because we do not dare remove him from the b.jorn lest we face the fury of the baby whose nap has been cut short. It's why some parents will walk or drive for hours in fear that stopping the motion will wake the baby. It's why some parents have threatened murder when their unsuspecting partners have made some noise louder than a whisper in the presence of the finally-sleeping baby. It's the same reason that I typed the first half of this post one-handed while the other hand supported Sam in a cuddle until I was certain he was deeply asleep enough that I could prop him in my lap on pillows without stirring the beast.
And like many of you, before I had a baby, I swore that I would never engage in these pathetic activities just to get the kid to sleep or stay asleep. "They've got to learn to just sleep where ever they are" I probably said. I probably thought that catering to a baby's sleep needs would spoil them. Boy was I an idiot! While I do believe that Sam needs to be able to sleep with noise around, I also strictly subscribe to at least two naps a day in order to avoid the late afternoon, pre-bedtime meltdown. And I will do - or force my husband to do - anything to encourage those Zzz.
-- please feel free to comment with your sure-fire nap-inducing techniques --