When I first had Herr Meow and I would struggle to get him to sleep –first whenever I could and later struggling toward maintaining some semblance of a schedule that seemed to shift effortlessly from under me– the same bittersweet feeling would wash over me, no matter how tired I was. Actually, the more tired I found myself, the more I would think the same thing over and over:
"Ooh…. baby’s asleep. He’s so cute! I miss him! I wish I could wake him up and play!"
Now, I know that sounds like the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard. And while I am there with you on the stupid (or possibly just insane), I am not so sure it’s the stupidEST. I think "stupidest" would have to sound something like,
"Sure Kevin! Let’s make a show with all the bad footage we filmed while you were cheating with me on your pregnant babymama!"
See? Stupid, but not that stupid.
Sleeping babies and toddlers are so beautiful and precious and stationary that you almost forget how much they kick your ass and make you scream "UNCLE!!!!" at all times of day with their quick little chubby hands pinching your hands and arms and belly, and stomping painfully on your breasts with those adorable little tamale feet, and stabbing you in the eye with those dirty little fingers and then saying "Soh-ee" and smiling their sweet innocent smiles.
This reminds me of one of my favorite Talking Head songs, "Stay Up Late"— which I always found puzzling and kind of creepy until I realized that yes: it is just like that. Why not wake him up?
Baby, baby, please let me hold him
I wanna make him stay up all night
Sister, sister, he’s just a plaything
We wanna make him stay up all night
Yeah we do
But there is always that compulsion to feel like you should enjoy your children even more than you do. Like you should wake them up and start the same sadomasochistic ritual to prove that you do love your children as much as you think you do– like cutting yourself to feel some pain.
Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way–though the song proves otherwise– or maybe it’s just the leisure you have when you only have one kid and are still naïve to the ways of the world.
But as time goes on and you’re losing sleep and plans are thwarted by the little person, you start snapping out of the little "wake up the sleeping baby" fantasy. You realize that the baby won’t stop doing things for your consideration –least of all, let you sleep.
You become a little hardened, and that’s probably a good thing.
Although I’m thinking this is just a very roundabout way of rationalizing why, lately, every time Herr Meow drifts away for a nap I feel like throwing a party or taking a nap. Or maybe throwing a napping party is the way to go.
Welcome to my napping party! Would you like a blanket? Slippers? Stuffed animal? Shot of NyQuil?