Friday, August 8, 2014

Make Room for Baby Pt. IV

What was that I said about this only being a two-part series? Yeah, well, forget that. More recent events have altered that plan and this time, it's not Mrs. Blackwell on the hot seat. 

Wednesday night served as a humbling reminder that the best plans are frequently laid to waste in the face of necessity, brevity and an angry two-year old. In the likely event that you aren't one of my regular readers, I'll bring you up to speed on the first three chapters of this little saga. 
Minute four on dad's shoulder. Crying subsided and sleep
was within sight. 

Distilled, the kid has awakened in the middle of the night a couple of times lately, crying loudly and waking Mrs. Blackwell and myself. With no other viable alternative in sight, Mrs. Blackwell (a sleep-deprived creature if there ever was one) has brought the boy back to our bed as it seems to provide him solace and he stops crying. 

But while he stops crying he starts talking, singing and contorting his body in ways that ensure neither Mrs. Blackwell nor myself will return to sleep anytime soon. 

The first three installments here put most of the blame for this trilogy at the feet of Mrs. Blackwell. Wednesday night, things changed. So, in keeping with the equitable treatment we like to dispense here at Blackwell's Mark, I must confess that I too have now succumbed to the pressure, though my offense might qualify as worse, I'll let you decide. 

Instead of the middle of the night, it was shortly before 9 pm. Mrs. Blackwell was out for the evening at work and I had just laid the boy to sleep after reading a couple books and some time in the rocking chair together. 

This is our routine. Each night we do this after a bath and each night he'll chatter in his crib for a while before slipping off to sleep. 

The boy followed the script for about ten minutes, silence enveloped the house and I started to read a book of my own for the first time since college. Then, with no preamble, the boy belted out a cry as sharp as a carpet tack. 

Minute ten on my shoulder. His eyes were still open,
but I swear he was snoring at this point.
Now, unlike our previous recent escapades I was already awake and not making decisions through a 2 a.m. fog.  So, with my mind present and accounted for I decided that I'd let the boy cry it out. I peaked in his room without him noticing me, and he was just lying there crying. No urgent needs to be addressed, the boy was fine. 

I cracked his door, retreated across the hall, looked at the clock and resolved to myself that I'd give him ten minutes to get over it and then re-evaluate. So, there I sat. Unable to read through the boy's steady crying and feeling awful about it. 

"But," I thought to myself, "it's for his own good. We can't keep going to get him every time he cries."

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. 

The minutes dragged and the crying trailed off, drew quieter, but never long before returning to a full roar. 

Finally ten minutes were up and I didn't need to re-evaluate. I knew what I was going to do — notwithstanding three previous blog posts chastising my wife for doing exactly what I was about to do — I went and got the boy. 

I opened the door and there he was sitting up in his crib, his face red and wet. I grabbed him and pulled him close. As he rested his head on my shoulder he continued to cry, though the tone changed to one that seemed to indicate displeasure in the past tense (or so I discerned). 

The well-deserved thanks I get from the boy.
We retreated to the bedroom where I lay on my back with the boy's head on my chest and shoulder. In little time, the crying turned to a whimper and in even less time the whimper turned to sleep. 

As I sat there with him sleeping on me, it occurred to me that, given how infrequently he wakes up, maybe it's not so bad to go and grab him when he does. 

And then it occurred to me that's exactly what Mrs. Blackwell has been thinking from the beginning. 

And with that, the last horse finally crossed the finish line. 

That realization now cemented in my brain, I slowly propped myself up, careful not to disturb the little guy and returned him to his crib. 

As he usually does, he slept through the night — until 7 a.m., about 30 minutes later than normal. 

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