Friday, September 21, 2007

Please, don't lie to me

I get the feeling that some mommies out there are lying about their child's sleep habits or at least hiding the truth. Maybe they just don't want to admit that their child doesn't always sleep through the night. They cling to the notion of control, because after all, good parents are in control of the situation, right? Good parents put their feet down. They wont' be manipulated by their children. Some mommies will say "My son usually sleeps 10 hours a night." Judging by what happens in my house, usually must mean one week out of every month.

When my son was about 2 months old, my mom told me about a woman whose 2 month old was sleeping seven hours in a row. At the time, I was really angry at the woman. And by angry, I mean, hunt her down and smack-her-face angry (Sleep deprivation can make me very nasty.) I actually thought she had won some victory that had yet to be won on my battlefield. Seven months later, I realize that her so-called sleep victory probably lasted a week or less. She spoke too soon, a rookie mistake, one I seem to make over and over. Yes, I'm cackling at the idea that she's probably having the same struggles I am now and kicking herself for thinking she'd conquered the sleep monster at 2 months.

I'm also done with the books. You know, the ones that say by the age of nine months your child should be taking two 1 to 2 hour naps a day and sleeping 10 hours a night. Most are written by male doctors whose wives did all the nighttime (and daytime) parenting. Apparently, it's like a tree falling in the forest: if they don't hear it, it must not have made a noise. Just because they slept through the night doesn't mean the baby did. And my favorite category: the books written by moms who have not had an infant in 20 years. It's been 20 years since they sat on the top step listening to their child scream for the 10 minutes that seem like an eternity. I would sell the books, but I don't want to subject any other naive parent to these works of fiction. Maybe they'd make good kindling for the fire this winter.

In my favorite magazine this month, in an article completely unrelated to parenting, a woman recounted her bedtime ritual:

"I pray that tonight is the night my nine month old sleeps through the night."

Amen, sister. Thanks for keeping it real.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

THis is just too funny! I had this exact conversation with Doug about Katie. I felt that she was "behind", not doing things in order, etc. Also, that other moms had it more together. He promptly took ALL the baby reference books and threw them away! He wouldn't give them to goodwill as he says" No one needs THAT kind of pressure!" Jen