Since the day we brought Tripp home from the hospital, he has been a great sleeper. He naps twice a day and he goes to bed at 7:45 every night. Of course, I’ve had a little trouble getting him to sleep sometimes, even to the point of having to physically hold him down until he gave up and closed his eyes. But the point is he always goes to sleep within thirty minutes.
Last night, though, I tried to put down some baby who was not my child at all. He kicked and screamed, bit and pinched, hit me in the face and tried to push my arm away from him. I tried to give him his bottle and he threw it. I tried to give him his pacifier and it flew off the bed.
I stuck it out for forty-five minutes and then decided to walk away. I left him on the bed and I went to the living room. Thomas could hear Tripp screaming still, so he asked me what I was doing. I told him that on nights like this I leave him in the alone while I have a cigarette. By the time I go back in there, he’s much more willing to go to sleep. (Just so you know, I feel bad about doing that. I worry that he’s scared. But at some point he’s going to have to start going to sleep on his own anyway, so he might as well get used to it.) So I had a cigarette and took a few deep breaths and went back into the bedroom.
Tripp was crying at the bedroom door by that point, and when I picked him up he stopped. I gave myself a mental high five and carried him to the bed to lie down with him again. As soon as his head touched the bed he started screaming again. After several minutes of it, I decided he must not have been tired. Even though he missed his second nap for the day. Or possibly he was too tired. So we both got up and came into the living room.
He was glad to get a break from me and went straight to the play room while Thomas and I started a movie. He played quietly and sat on the old couch and looked at some toys. By 10:00, he came back into the living room fussing and rubbing his eyes. This time, I knew he was sleepy, so I happily scooped him up and went back to the bedroom with him. I was sure it would only take a few minutes because he was surely so tired by then he wouldn’t be able to fight sleep. I was thinking about cuddling up next to Thomas on the couch to finish watching the movie as I laid him down on the bed. And my pretty little daydream was shattered by his shrill screaming.
Thomas came into the room and I told him to lie down with the baby, too. Maybe the problem was that he wanted his daddy. Thomas got into bed and stroked and cuddled and cooed. In return he was bitten, scratched, and punched. He tried to give him his bottle, but that only elicited louder screaming. Same thing with the pacifier.
Then I remembered that Thomas had put Tripp’s blanket in the dirty clothes. I had given him a different one, but he wasn’t interested in it. So I fetched the blanket and brought it back to bed. I shook it out and fluffed it up in the air over Tripp. As soon as it touched him, Tripp grabbed it and stopped screaming. And by the time it had settled completely, he was fast asleep and snoring softly.