Friday, August 26, 2011

The Most Important Parenting Skill EVER

There is one skill I have found indispensable in my role as a parent. I know it's indispensable because I do not have this skill. If I did, it would be indispensable.

The Most Important Parenting Skill EVER: Putting a sleeping baby down into a sleeping container other than your arms. And having them STAY ASLEEP.

The books, baby newsletters and righteous mothers I'd like to kick in the head will tell you to put your baby into their crib while they are drowsy so they learn how to go to sleep on their own.

For the four people who can make that work; bully for you. The rest of us know this idea is crap.

My child has no interest in learning to get to sleep on her own. In fact, everything she does suggests this particular idea might be the stupidest thing she's ever heard.

Our sleep routine looks something like this:

After playing, nursing or washing the floors, The Bean is ready for some shut eye. You can tell because her eyes roll back into her head and she does a spot on Linda Blair impression.

As she's falling asleep in my arms, I'll get up to move toward her crib.

Tactical error number one.

Through a combination of poor quad/glute muscles and an overeagerness to do something productive, I stand up too quickly. The Bean pops awake convinced she is being catapulted to the moon. Which apparently is not conducive to sleeping and definitely pisses her off since this results in her glaring at me for at least three minutes.

To make up for my mishap, I walk around the house rocking The Bean back to slumber land. Except I've now given away my moves. She knows it's about to be nap/bed time and the end result is her in a crib without mama. So every 10 seconds she opens one of her eyes to make sure I'm still there and haven't snuck out to the bar for nachos and beer.

Somehow she's also managed to wrap her fingers around a body part or piece of clothing as a secondary line of defense should she actually fall asleep. She knows full well I am completely incapable of undoing her death grip without waking her.

But still, I try.

The actual "putting child into crib" phase is reminiscent of the scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indiana Jones is trying to swap out the idol head with a bag of sand.

You need to be exactly perfect or you will end up with another hour of baby entertaining duty.

Naturally, I stumble right out of the gate.

Usually I am unable to successfully detach the child from my body. A foot is stuck in my shirt (I don't know why either), the death grip on my finger was never loosened or she sensed she was more than an inch from my body. Whatever the reason, within three seconds she is wide awake and ready to party like a rockstar.

The only thing to do at this point is try to rock The Bean back to sleep without drawing her back into my body. Dead weight arm lifts with a baby. Yippee...

Eventually this works and we are ready to progress with Operation Baby Drop.

Around this time in the process, I begin to crack under the pressure. I am so close, yet so far away from a half hour of freedom.

No matter what speed I use to lower The Bean into her crib, she clearly feels like she's in free fall. For safety reasons (I guess she thinks she is one of those flying squirrels), she assumes the startled starfish position.

If, by some stroke of luck, I make it all the way to getting The Bean in the crib, I invariably get my arms stuck underneath the child.

Sometimes I just stay there because I have yet to disentangle myself from her without the outcome being The Bean staring straight into my eyes wondering "Hey, is it time to be up again? OK!"

Operation Baby Drop takes roughly 1 hour and 38 minutes from start to finish.

Average Bean nap time? 1 hour and 43 minutes.

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