Monday, June 20, 2011

manly monday: the moo edition

Hello, all! It's Manly Monday again, and this week I'm turning the floor over to my sweet Moo. If you've been reading for a while, you know that he's been my go-to guest-poster since pretty much the start of this whole blogging adventure, so it's no surprise that I just had to get him officially on board for Manly Mondays. When I asked him to write a little something, he, of course, said yes. Then we had one of the worst nights of sleep with Natalie that we've had in months, and he turned to me around 3am and said grimly, "I know what I'm writing for my post."

It's a good 'un. Enjoy!


“It will get better.”

Those four little words have been spoken in a million tongues by a trillion parents and grandparents to new moms and dads since antediluvian days gone by. When your baby is new and caterwauling at 2:37am, those words repeat in your head, over and over. They don’t seem possible. When you haven’t slept in days, weeks, months; when there is no apparent light at the end of the proverbial tunnel; when you can’t remember what “rested” feels like, you can’t imagine that it will get better.

And then it does.

At first, you’re resigned that it’s a fluke. Then, you slowly, ever so slowly, start to let yourself do something that you haven’t done in a very long time: You hope. You start to see yourself in the mirror again, rather than an exhausted, etiolated doppelganger that has replaced your reflection. And finally, softly, as if you’re afraid the words themselves will somehow jinx this newfound bliss, you whisper to your partner, “My God, I think our child learned how to sleep.”
It took Hilary and me weeks of Natalie's improved sleep habits to even utter these words. Natalie hadn’t slept through the night, or even close to it, in her first year of life (except maybe one night that remains an inexplicable, six-month-old anomaly). That first year was beautiful, magical, and all those other nice words people use, but it was also the most draining, exhausting twelve months that I’ve ever experienced. I believed that I’d never really sleep again, other than in two-hour fits and starts. Then Natalie’s first birthday came and went. And then she slept eight hours. Then nine. Then seven. Then eight.

Hilary and I really didn’t know if this would last or not. We just enjoyed it while we could, or so we told ourselves. But, deep down, we relished it. We drank it up. We slept and slept and woke up smiling. What a feeling! I no longer dreaded my nights, so I could much more fully enjoy my days. And days had become so much more fun! With Natalie walking, talking, half-running, climbing, laughing, smiling, every waking moment with her is fun, but after a good night’s rest? It’s bliss.

With one major blip on the sleeping radar (when Fussy-face had a double ear infection about six weeks ago), Natalie has spent her post-first-birthday nights sleeping like a relatively normal person. Because of this, I was wholly unprepared and horrified to be woken up once again by a howling, uncontrollably and inconsolably crying baby girl.

To give my little girl her due, it certainly isn’t her fault, and as bad as I feel for Hilary and me, I feel worse for her. I know she has a big, monstrous molar carving its way through her precious little tender gums. That has to hurt like a bastard. I sympathize. But when a pacifier doesn’t work; when rocking doesn’t work; when getting into bed with to snuggle with us doesn’t work; when singing garbled and half-forgotten lines of “Down by the Bay” and “Baby Beluga” doesn’t work; when even the glorious white noise of a vacuum doesn’t work…that’s when you start to panic.

That’s what I did at 2:37am last week. I panicked. I thought, “Good Lord, it’s been over an hour, nothing is helping; it’s only getting worse. In three little hours, I need to get up, shower, and drive an hour to work; how is that possible, when I haven’t slept? How will I stay on the road? How will Hilary manage to be home alone with our poor, miserable daughter? How will Natalie’s larynx survive this much screaming? It will never end…”

But then she snuggled in. And then she slept. First fitfully, then peacefully, but always sweetly. And as I drifted off to sleep around three, I thought of the title of this blog post. Because even if tonight is as bad as that night, even if another damn molar moves at a glacial, excruciating pace, even if tomorrow I’m more exhausted than I was making that drive to work last week, I know one thing for absolute, proven, wonderful certainty: It will get better.


Got a man in your life who would love to get in on the baby blog action? Convince him to guest post on your blog (or, heck, mine!) and link up for Manly Mondays.


Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks for some guest posts from my favorite daddy bloggers! I'm super-dee-duper excited about it!


Post a Comment