>When I imagined being a mother, one of the things I pictured was rocking my baby to sleep at night. I imagined sitting in a rocker in the nursery with my daughter’s head on my shoulder, both of us softly illuminated by the glow of the moon through the window. Her cheeks are lightly flushed. Her mouth is slightly open, exhaling sweet little puffs of baby breath on to my neck. I am softly humming or singing a lullaby. In my imaginings I felt blissful and satisfied. I became so attached to this vision and convinced of its reality that I commented to my BFF, “Sleep deprivation can’t be that bad.” I think she had a 5 week old at the time. It was probably good we were on the phone and separated by 650 miles so she did not have the option of killing me with her bare hands.
I did not once imagine a squirmy, kicky baby who often has more than sweet baby breath coming out of her mouth. Sour spit up and sticky drool did not appear in my baby fantasies. And I did not imagine having to sing 4 songs (multiple verses) in an exact order to get my baby to sleep.
We start with Stars Shining and count up through number 12. Twice. Zoey picks at the sheets, squirms, kicks, whines, and tries to bite. Next we sing Simple Gifts. Both verses. Zoey cries and pulls at her hair. Then we move on to Rock a Bye Baby. We sing it 3 times through inserting her name for ‘baby’ the second and third times. Zoey calms a little and the biting becomes sucking. Last up is Oh Come All Ye Faithful — verses one and two and then verse one again in Latin. Yes, Latin. My Catholic school days finally paid off. Sometime during this Christmas song Zoey’s eyes will slip shut. If I’m lucky they stay shut and she sleeps:
If I’m not lucky, this happens:
If a time machine existed I would go back to the moment, pre-Zoey, when I uttered the words, “Sleep deprivation can’t be that bad”, and punch myself in the mouth.