Daily Operation

No Need for Alarm(s)

Zombification complete. It’s Monday morning and Mom and Dad are soon to have possibly the very worst Monday anyone could ever imagine. Ellison, well, she’ll get plenty of sleep today as she got none last night.

My lovely wife was a sleepwalker last night. I remember two times. When I awoke to a babbling baby at 4:15 this morning, my lovely wife explained this was her fifth wake-up of the night. Like death warmed over.

The tricks of the past (past three to four months) have little effect anymore. The bear which is meant to replicate the sound of a womb has become Muzak for her in-crib exercise program which includes lateral jumping jacks, frog kicks and some sort of weird inverted centipede which she does on her back. Right now, she’s “resting” in the swing behind me which means babbling and kicking furiously. I think that thing’s about to fall apart. It’s meant for a sleeping baby, not a baby who is punching and kicking like Bruce Lee.

I think she might have just bingo’d in the diaper. What if adults put on such a production if they crapped their pants. That’d be like me grunting, going down and doing 50 push ups, 30 sit ups then standing up and proclaiming, “There. Much better. Now, who’s gonna change my pants for me?”

Checked the diaper. Must’ve just been gas. Gas is a muddah, man.

Nights of sleep can fall into three different classifications at this point.

MATTRESS COMMERCIAL SLEEP: This is the kinda sleep they talk about in, you guessed it, mattress commercials. You put the baby down at 8:00pm and you and your lovely wife enjoy a little Yahtzee, maybe a movie and dessert. Go to bed about 10:30 after the evening news. Maybe you get up in the middle of the night to pee because you had one too many mugs of that yummy wassail. Maybe you read a few chapters before bed. You feel good and tired when you fall asleep but not exhausted. When you awake, it’s 4:30am and that kiddo slept a good eight and a half hours. Yeah, 4:30am sucks, but that’s your new reality. If you ain’t a coffee drinker, I’d highly recommend you do some reading on the benefits and join the army of parents who have learned to deal with 4:30 wake ups. Can anyone confirm for me this: is that earlier than boot camp wake ups?

But you slept good. And long. Trust me, six hours is long. That’s like a sleeping competition.

WHOOPSIE SLEEP: You put her down at 8:00pm. You’re tucking in around 10:30 after your last mug of wassail and final time through that Kenny Burrell record. You read a couple of chapters. Probably more than you should’ve because you were thinking that sleep was a better idea around 9:30, but you’re committed to the text and wanted to sneak in some literary goodness before dreamscape befell you. Ah. The pillow hits the back of your head and sleep begins to creep in around you. You feel your legs lose all of their might. You shoulders and arms become Jell-O. Sleep has taken over. No more worries. Just an exhausted father enjoying some, wait. Hold on a sec. What’s that? Hear that? That’s the sound of a babbling baby in the other room. You check the clock. It’s fifteen minutes past midnight. Aw hell! You go into her room, pop the pacifier back in like you’re plugging the drain in the bathtub, turn around with one eye open, return to bed. In five minutes, you’ve hit a snore and you’re back to the dreamscape you were snatched from.

HELL NIGHT: The only way of explaining hell night, I think, is it’s like Night of the Twisters where, just moments after you enter a nice sound sleep, a tornado alarm goes off like it’s in the alley behind your house. You scatter throughout the house, gathering all of the necessities, dogs, baby, bottle, clean diapers, Dottie the Dog, your Gameboy. The twister passes with no destruction. You go back to sleep, but only for an hour and a half. Tornado siren starts blasting again. But you weren’t really asleep anyway because of the constant thunder and lightning of storms passing through the city all night. You go through the same motions again. You check the radar on the local news, gather all the necessities again. Make sure you get a flashlight. D batteries. Tornado siren then goes silent. Another false alarm. You go back to bed. Two hours later, tornado siren goes off again. Rinse and repeat. Ellison’s kicking and flailing in her sleep is the thunder and lightning. A word to the wise (PARENTAL ADVISORY): if you get a baby monitor, don’t ever have it full blast. Turn it down so that you only pick up the screams and cries. You don’t want to hear every word your baby says in her sleep. Take it to about half-power. Especially if it’s right next to your sleeping head. When Ellison shrieks or squeals in the middle of the night, that’d be the tornado siren. At first, you fly from the bed like there’s an F5 tornado in your freaking backyard. By the fifth or sixth time that night, you languidly slither out of bed like there’s a tornado, vortex or idle dustdevil somewhere in the northern hemisphere, but not really worth worrying about. You don’t set the alarm on nights like this because, chances are, you’ll be up long before it wakes up. And the days are bad as you imagine them being. But remember, always use the excuse that still hasn’t expired: you just had a baby. Or, probably better to hit it with a more descriptive qualification like, “I gotta four month-old at home.” It makes people shut up really fast.

We had HELL NIGHT last night. In fact, Ellison just didn’t have a solid 24 hours. She screamed and wee-wee’d all over a visit from Grandma and Grandpa before the sleepless night. Kinda rough 24. They didn’t even get to hold her without her going off. We’ll have to figure that one out. Felt bad for the two of them for coming up only to have Ellison “in a mood.” Dad was taking pictures of her from a distance like she was some sort of dangerous zoo animal. I don’t blame him. Anytime any of us got close, she began to scream wildly.

My lovely wife said that she looks a lot like me when she sleeps. Better than not at all, I suppose. She officially has more hair on her head than I do now.


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