Sunday, December 11, 2005

marathon nursing nights

And on the 263rd day, God (and the Woman) didst bring forth a Baby. And God said to Woman, 'You are on Your Own with this One - I'm going to Bed.' And it was Good.
And Baby found the Breast, and it was Good. And Woman didst invest in bottled water stock options, for she didst Thirst.

Some nights, usually at about 3 am, I think of my uncle, running the marathon past the women of Wellesley, who cheer him on, offering kisses and water. I could do without the kissing, but a little cheering would be nice - and definitely some cold water or juice. Because there you are, and it's three am and you are up for the millionth time, nursing the baby who has decided that a stuffed nose means that he does not intend to sleep well, and therefore requires much comfort and warm liquids to soothe him. And, when one is giving away that much of one's personal liquid allotment, a dry throat is laughable compared to the Saharan experience that comes to occupy one's mouth, driving even the exhausted mother out of bed and to the bathroom sink. Over and over and over. Feed the baby, get a drink, pee. Return to bed, sleep for an hour or so, repeat process.

It is important that you understand that, in the normal course of things, I can barely wake up enough to help the baby latch on, curl around him and fall asleep while he's nursing, waking up hours later, when he's ready for round two. Or three. No biggie - I can do that on auto-pilot. But make it an hourly business and I'm thirsty, which means I have to wake up enough to find the bottle of water on my bedside table, remember how to open it, and then toss some water back. Major difference, major interruption to the pale imitation of sleep that I usually get. One sniffle equals one exhausted parent. A nice tidy one to one ratio, eh, jgfellow?

So if mine is not a maternal marathon, I don't know what is. But instead of the Wellesley girls, I have the silent, equally exhausted figure of the baby's father looming over me, as the poor dear has recently selected himself as the protector of my sleep, and insists on carrying the baby from bassinet to my bed and back again. Which means that for the past week, his sleep is as interrupted as mine. If the baby's cold goes on much longer, I'll have to relieve my man of his post, under the general premise that we need at least one functioning adult per household...not to mention that the silent, looming thing is just a little freaky in the dead of night.


jgfellow said...

What evil lurks in the hearts of over tired men? Only the daddy knows.

Joy said...

Since I already have a rather tedious case of dry mouth, I am, as you might say, sore afraid.

sil-ly said...

Eh, you know, it's nice if the daddy's sleep can be protected, but if for some reason the daddy can't sleep anyway... Then it's pretty nice of him to try to help the mama get a little more sleep.

mama o' the matrices said...

Oh, you betcha, Sil. But there's one cardinal rule: only one parent can be tired to the point of incoherence at a time.