The green light on the monitor flares. My eyes pop open.
Aw, shit. I pull the covers over my face and pray Baby-Ko is just talking in his sleep….
Yeah, not so much. He is officially “talking” in the form of crying. I will give it 2 more minutes (like the book said) until I go in and check on him.
Maybe I should go in now… No, no, no. Just wait. 59, 58, 57, 56….
I jump out of bed. The sooner I go in, the sooner he (and I) will go back to sleep… I think. The question is: do I give him the pacifier or just reassure him from the doorway (like the book said). I tiptoe across my bedroom towards the door- CREAAAAAAAK. Baby-Ko cries out. He knows I’m coming. Fucking floors.
I stand over the crib. He already has the pacifier in his mouth and his blankie in his hand. GREAT. Now what? Maybe he’s hungry… I will go make a bottle. I dart out to the kitchen. My feet are freezing. Why the hell did I stop breastfeeding? Sooo much easier.
The bottle warmer is taking forever. Screw it. I’ll give it to him chilled. That’ll teach him a lesson. I assemble the 900 pieces required for the bottle (I swear, if I find out there is toxic plastic in this bottle too, I’m going to be pissed), and head back toward the baby’s room. SILENCE. He fell back asleep. Son of a– NO. This is a good thing. That’ll teach ME a lesson. From now on, I’m letting him cry. He’s not hungry. He just wanted my attention.
I place the wasted bottle on the nightstand and tell myself the cost of formula is not that bad and at least I can go back to sleep. Sleep… Sleep… Mommy needs-
WHAHHH. Monitor light FLARES. Crap. Okay, okay, he IS hungry after all. Some babies do need to eat once during the night (like the book said). If I feed him now, maybe he’ll sleep longer instead of getting up for the day at 6AM, which in my opinion is worse than this.
I stare at Baby-Ko as he gingerly sucks away. What is the matter with me? This is my fault. How is it that he’s 7 months old and I haven’t figured out whether or not he actually needs to be eating at night? It’s me that’s causing him to wake up. I’m pretty much encouraging this habit (like the book said). I really need to stop this. Tonight’s the last night. I swear. He will have to learn to “tank up” during the day (like the book said). Night time is for sleeping.
He is still sucking but seems to be asleep. I try to gently pry the empty bottle away and swiftly replace it with the pacifier. SUCCESS. Now, using every inner and outer thigh muscle I have, I stand up out of the glider. I carefully lower sleeping Baby-Ko into crib. WHAHH! His eyes OPEN! He is wide awake. Defeated, I pick him up and carry him back to the glider and start all over. I have officially broken every rule in the book.
Bottle finished and Baby-Ko asleep. I slightly lean forward to stand, he OPENS his eyes. SERIOUSLY?! Forget it. I’m putting him into the crib awake (like the book said). He needs to learn how to self-sooth. He kicks playfully and erupts into a big smile the SECOND I put him down. Don’t smile back, don’t smile back. You will only provoke this behavior further (like the book said). I dash out of the room.
I press the pillow against my ears trying to drown out the cooing coming from the monitor.
T-Ko turns over and sits up. “What’s the matter?”
Oh, How nice of you to join us. “Nothing. He won’t go back to sleep.”
“Let him cry.” Thank you, oh wise one.
Monitor light still flares. My mind starts to race: By 7 months, he should be sleeping through the night (like the book said). His sleep should be organized and he should be waking at 7am, napping at 9, 1 and maybe in the afternoon and asleep at 7pm (like the book said). He should be feeding every 4 hours and not grazing all day long (like the book said) …
He let’s out a CRY. UGH. I am just going to give him his pacifier. After that, I’m done. I swear.
Jesus Christ, is there an iceberg under my bedroom floor that the previous homeowners didn’t disclose?! OKAY, BACK IN BED. Mommy must sleep. The monitor FLARES, but this time, I turn OFF the monitor (like the book said). There’s nothing I can do anymore.
T-Ko turns over. “What’s he doing?”
“He’s playing. He’s completely playing…” We listen to him make his screetchy funny sounds.
“Unbelievable.” I say, “I feel clueless. It’s been 7 months, and I literally have no idea what to do. I mean, this is ridiculous.”
“You want me to ground him?” He jokes as he throws his arms around me.
“I don’t know. What does the book say?” I say sarcastically.
“Fuck the book.”
Baby-Ko is wide awake. T-Ko gets him from his crib, changes his diaper and gives him a bottle before handing him off to me.
“Good morning, Mommy!” T-Ko says as he carries Baby-Ko into our bedroom and lays him down next to me.
“Hi, my love,” I say half asleep. Baby-Ko smiles from cheek to cheek and rolls over and pats my face. “Wake up, mommy,” I say kissing his forehead. He rolls in closer and grabs a big chunk of my hair. “Owww!” I say trying to undo his grip. He giggles.
He let’s go of my hair but he’s looking at me, waiting for me to say it again… “OWW. OWW!”
He’s bursts out laughing again. “Your mommy is so funny!” I tell him. “Owww!”
He continues to laugh as we play all morning. What does the book to say about THAT?