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#4 months and 3 weeks old
The little critter is now out of his crib and on my bed. He looks around the room inquisitively, hands outstretched and legs high up in the air. Finally, his gaze meets mine and immediately, bebe beams a big one at me, breaking into his toothless, gummy smile.
This is the moment when people would rush to envelope the cute little tyke in a bear hug, and smother him with kisses aplenty. I would too, but I know better than that. Bebe is flashing his baby weapon – I recognize the signs. Babies and their guileless smiles ensnare adults many times their size almost immediately, almost all the time. Undoubtedly a high hit rate. One has to be very careful not to get caught in that baby web.
I resist the urge to smile back, to kiss, to hug. Not one to admit defeat easily, he reaches out for my face with his short, cherubic arms and initiates a conversation, “MMM beh. Ahh ahh ummmm rarrr”. This is his latest acquired talent by the way. Nonstop babbling, with increasing loudness if he senses that you’re not paying attention to him. It works for him because he can babble so loudly you’re running to pick him up and shush him so he doesn’t wake the entire neighbourhood up. Just look at the youtube video in this post to know what I mean. That, plus the fact that the crafty little munchkin is beguiling me with his cuteness, inviting me to engage in an active interaction with him.
My heart melts at the inquisitiveness and wide-eyed wonder of this little 4.5mth old baby boy before me. It’s a good thing my heart can melt even as my eyelids are somewhat drooping, functioning at a mere 50% of their power. It’s 5 in the morning, and today is one of many, many recent nights that Rayray has woken up for the 10th gadzillion time from his sleep.
I try my best not to look at him, I want him to sleep. I NEED him to sleep. By not playing with him, I am telling him, “baby, it’s not playtime, it’s sleepy time”, or so I think. It’s 5 in the morning for pete’s sake. Ever since I graduated from secondary school, I don’t think I’ve woken up at all these godforsaken hours of 5 or 6am except for my wedding, a momentous enough occasion to get my butt off the bed.
Heck, back in my university days when I stayed in Pasir Ris and had an NTU lecture in Pulau Nanyang at 8.30am, I wouldn’t even wake up before 7am. Of course, that made me terribly late for my morning lectures, but it was immediately obvious which was more important – sleep or more sleep.
BUT NOW, this little boss has shuffled himself awake, decided the day has started, and expects me to keep to his schedule. Unreasonable. I toy with the idea of reporting him to MOM for overworking his employee and smile wryly to myself. I must be going crazy, and I don’t blame myself, because I probably am, what with the chronic lack of sleep and all.
I pick the little munchkin up and he gives this excited squeal and flails his arms. He thinks it’s playtime but I think otherwise. Boy, do I think otherwise. I hold him tight and try to rock him to sleep. As if suddenly realizing that I’m rebelling against his playtime orders, bebe stretches himself till he’s red in the face, grunts, struggles and squirms. Ok, this is not working.
I try to calm him down by putting him on my bed once again, and he registers his displeasure with me immediately with a loud note of disdain and unhappiness. “BEH BEH EHHHHHHHHHH”
What can I do with this little boy who fights sleep so vehemently at 5 bloody AM in the morning? When he was even littler, from right about 3 weeks old, he would sleep for long stretches at night without stirring, thanks to some nifty newborn sleep tricks that I employed. 4h, 5h, 6h stretches at night, easily. Ahh, those sweet days of pure blissful sleep, long gone, dusted over in a shade of sepia. Sighs.
Back then, I, being the overachieving, anxious, first-time mom, would consciously try to wake him up every 3-4h even at night, so that he didn’t go too long without eating. When I was ready to let him sleep longer without constantly waking him up to eat, bebe was about 3 months old by then. That was also right about the time we introduced the bottle to him as I was about to start work.
Oh the bottle. Many of you have heard of my adventures with the bottle. Bebe HATED THE BOTTLE with a vengeance and refused to drink. He raised hell each and every time the bottle was flashed before his eyes and ended up reverse cycling to catch up for missed feeds. Thus began a new nighttime routine where he woke frequently to nurse at night. These days, he would wake up every 1 – 3h at night. Sometimes, it would take many minutes and up to 2 hours before he would fall back asleep. Horrors. Did I jinx myself by saying he was such an easy baby to care for and I genuinely lucked out?
These days, I feel like I have just punched myself in the face. The eyebags I am sporting of late, hang like a new, unwelcome fashion statement gone horribly wrong. What I can’t figure out is, both Pips and I LOOOOOOOOOVE to Sleep. I used to require 8hrs of sleep before I could function properly, save for crazy work days when I survived on the sugar rush of adrenaline. So I can’t, for the life of me, figure out why this little boy, OUR SON carrying OUR GENES, fights sleep so much.
Every now and then, I surprise myself with my ability to sustain on little sleep for what has been a pretty long-term arrangement thus far. One day with multiple night wakings is an occasional affair. Two such days is a long-term arrangement. 1.5mths and counting is pure sleep-deprivation hell.
To get him to sleep as quickly as possible, I try to nurse the li’l sleep monster, but he wouldn’t take the boob and wants to play. Shoving the boob used to be my secret weapon, a surefire way to get him to close his eyes and drift to lalaland. Now, it’s more backfire than surefire. Story of my life. Sad.
After an hour of song and dance (all his), I offer the boob again and manage to trick him into wanting it by expressing abit of milk, putting it on my finger and letting him taste that sweet goodness. Actually BM tastes pretty yucky (have you tried it? It’s gross, but he loves it, so I ain’t complaining) but it’s MAGIC to them, and MAGIC to us when it gets excitable babies to sleep.
So after twenty minutes of suckling, bebe closed his eyes and is on auto sucking milk mode. I’ve finally managed to nurse him to sleep (to hell with sleep training and bad sleep habits man. What gets me extra sleep now can only be a good thing.) Gingerly, carefully, I place him back in his crib, hovering for a few moments in case he stirs and opens his eyes. Ok, he seems to have settled. I make a dash for my bed, which I’ve reclaimed. Yay, small victory! The new lows I’ve sunken into, haha…
6.30am. That was one and a half hour of song and dance. I plop onto my bed and try my darndest to sleep, which I quickly ease into. In my semi-asleep mode, I also sleepily realized that I keep hearing sounds of Rayray shuffling and stirring. Each and every time I hear those sounds, tiny bits of fear claw at my heart and threaten to jolt me awake. I would instinctively turn to look in his direction with my half opened eyes, and seeing him settled I’m bed, would go back to sleep. Bring the 犯溅person that I am, I would also feel cheated, because I could have slept earlier and more restfully had I not imagine those sounds. #seriouslywhatamithinking #idiotmax
Eventually, and thankfully though, sleep won.
The above scenario has played out for the past week. I pray that this is a One Week phase, and not his new morning routine. 5am on the dot, as if I got sent to some horrible mommy boot camp for the uninitiated mom. Alright, enough grousing, sleep for now. Oh precious sleep, how I love thee so!
“Mmm Beh. EH EH EH” 7.10am. Say what? The little guy is up again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The little guy did NOT just keep me up for an hour and a half just to tease me with 40mins of fitful sleep. Sob, that is just plain cruel. And this time, it’s time to wake up cuz Mommy has to get ready for work too.
I miss those days when bebe would readily take the boob and sleep almost immediately, instead of wanting to stand up and do his baby standup exercises, baby babble and whatnots at 5 in the morning. Don’t get me wrong. I’m excited about Ray’s baby babble and all, and I do find them very adorable. But when one is forcibly awoken from a deep slumber, think of a bedraggled Aurora here, those baby babbles are very uncute.
oh well. This is life.
I’m such an awesome, sleep-sacrificial mom I wanna hug and pat myself on the back ten times over. Also, because he’s my son and when he wakes up and demands attention, I gotta get right off my ass and wake right up before he wakes the entire house up. Bebe has been excellent in learning how to project his voice and can even do fab tricks like raising his voice continually to a crescendo. Amazing talent, I know.
Welcome to parenthood huh. Just when you think you’ve got things figured out, your kid schools you, and you realize you’ve got nothing on them. I hope I haven’t scared anyone into wanting to stay celibate and not have kids, because when you have kids, there’s one more day you can celebrate (every little joy counts)
Happy Mother’s Day. Also, welcome to (lack-of) Sleep Boot Camp 101
Mrs Sleep deprived
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