Friday, August 20, 2010

doing strange things

Abe and I have found ourselves engaged in strange behaviors since Genghis came into the world.

I composed this blog post entirely in my head at 3:30 am while nursing. At the time, I thought it was good practice in the event that I am ever kidnapped. While nursing earlier the day before, I listened to a "This American Life" episode about hostages, during which a kidnapping survival expert offered the following advice to victims:

1) bring along or ask for a book so you have something to stave off boredom - if in Central or South America, request a Bible because they'll sympathize with your religious fervor
2) don't try to bargain for yourself because it only increases expectations for the eventual payout later on
3) find ways to exercise your mind and body rather than falling into a lethargic daytime routine

Memorizing this blog post while nursing was practice in #3. Although, now that I think about it, all three tips seem applicable to surviving nursing a baby. I've kept Jeff Shaara's Gods & Generals propped up on the zebra next to the rocking chair (on page 300-something). Genghis is thus far unresponsive to my incentive structures for him to stay awake through his feeding or sleeping longer in between. And lethargic doesn't begin to describe how I spend my waking moments.

But Genghis holds Abe and I hostage not just in body but also in mind.

Three scenarios from the past 2 weeks.

First, Genghis wakes in the middle of the night. He is performing his "freak out" cry, as we have called it, in the other room. Abe sits bolt upright in bed, eyes closed, completely asleep, and loudly goes "Shhhhhuuuuuushhhh!" I gently pat Abe's arm and tell him that Mom is already tending to Genghis and that his well-meaning shush-ing probably isn't doing much good anyway.

Second, I wake up in the early morning hours groping my pillow, convinced that I can feel Genghis's chubby legs in there. He is trapped, and I have been sleeping on him for the last 2 hours. I scare myself into consciousness and do the only reasonable thing, which is to stick my arm down my pillow case and feel around in all the corners just to make sure there isn't really a baby hidden inside.

Third, Genghis starts crying again in the middle of the night. Abe and I both start to stir. Abe slides one hand under my neck and lays the other across my stomach and starts rocking me gently back and forth. I'm pretty sure he is also shush-ing. I turn to him and say, "I'm not the baby", to which he responds, "Oh, well, where's the baby?" I tell him to go back to sleep and I go console Genghis in the other room.

After reflecting on these events, I'm not sure if cosleeping would be a better or worse option for our family life.


Kristin McElderry said...

i laughed out loud the whole time. Sounds like being a new parent really is an adventure :)

Janssen said...

I like how new parenthood makes your whole life about sleep.

Elizabeth Downie said...

Haha, those scenarios are really funny!

Angela Noelle of SK said...

1. My baby daughter is crying in bed next to me. I rub her chest and whisper, "It's okay, it's only a dream," and then sincerely wonder if I am awake, or dreaming saying this.

2. One night we left a book at the end of the bed. Sometime during the sleeping hours, our shifting under the blankets eventually caused the book to fall to the floor. My husband sprang up to a 90 degrees "alert" position instantaneously and went white. Our daughter was still safely nestled between my arm and middle. Oh, the panic.

We never made plans to cosleep. But after surviving those first few weeks doing what we had to, and accepting in the waking hours that it was alright to do has turned out to be the best way to get some sleep...for US.

Your post is sweet. ;)

- One of Sherry's friends from NZ

Dawn said...

I see the makings of a pretty good book here...

Laughing out loud...and I never HAD kids! I think other parents would laugh even louder.

Erin said...

Yes, I live life in 3-hr blocks determined by Genghis' sleeping/waking/eating.

Angela, always nice to meet a friend of Sherry's - she talks very highly of NZ folks. :)