It’s my party and I’ll nap where I want to

There is an art form to putting a sleeping baby into his cradle without waking him up. Unfortunately, it is an impressionist art form, so it is hard to see it the same way twice. Not only is it different for every baby, it is different for a single baby each time you try to put him down.

In many ways, art exists solely in the mind of the beholder, and so does the belief that you have any say over whether Baby keeps sleeping. This is not within your sphere of control – unless you dropped the baby head-first into the cradle – then it might have been under your control, and chances are you blew it. But if you are relatively gentle in depositing the baby into his bed, you’ve done all you can do. The baby will decide your success, and he will do it on a whim.

There are two places where our babies have preferred to fall asleep: in the car seat and in our arms. There is one general category of places where they preferred not to sleep; that category includes any cradle, crib, or other bed specifically designated as the baby’s sleeping area.

Getting a well-deserved nap and driving Mommy and Daddy crazy with the old rubber neck. You can’t get nearly that much accomplished in a bed.

Removing the baby from the car seat involves some unharnessing. Unharnessing is the type of act that is meant to wake up sleeping creatures. I believe unharnessing was invented for no other reason than to annoy people out of peaceful slumber.

What makes it worse is that we have a pacifier clipped to the harness. I can’t tell how many times I thought I’d liberated the baby from his car seat fetters, only to be thwarted by the pacifier strap wrapped around his wrist. The first indication of this little snag is the car seat hovering off the ground when I lift the baby. The second indication is the baby screaming at me for waking him so rudely.

It’s hard to resist rocking the baby to sleep in my arms. It is a nice moment, until it becomes a long afternoon. I adore the child, but I really can’t be without the use of my arms for hours on end. At some point, we need to find a new arrangement.

Getting up from a rocking chair with a sleeping baby is a singular feat of agility. It’s kind of like a limbo dance that culminates in a vault as you slide yourself to the edge of the seat before hurling your torso forward as you try to stick the landing. It’s something to be proud of for sure, if you are the type to take pride in tasks half done.

You’ve still got to get the baby away from your warm, snuggly body and lower him into his bed. Here are a few popular strategies to accomplish that.

  • The Spine Snap: you try to double yourself up and lower your chest right down into the cradle with him.
  • The Forklift: you separate the child from your body first and then lower him with only your hands.
  • The Roll the Dice: you put the baby down in one swift motion and let the chips fall where they may.

The forklift. Notice that the baby’s eyes are open. This attempt failed as soon as it began. I’d like to have shown a successful cradle landing, but the odds of capturing such an event are infinitesimal.

Try whatever method you like; they are all destined to fail. Once in a blue moon, you might be tricked into believing you were successful. This is the rare occasion when the baby would rather sleep than mock Daddy’s feeble efforts. It almost never happens.


8 comments on “It’s my party and I’ll nap where I want to

  1. There have been many times my children would only go to sleep if we loaded them up in the car and took them for a drive. Sometimes we had to go to the extreme and take them out of town to find a dirt road. Thank goodness gas was $3 a gallon cheaper then. Love the post! :o)

    • Scott Nagele says:

      This one falls asleep in the car half the time and screams to high heaven the other half. He really keeps us on our toes, for which I heartily thank him. A predictable baby would be no fun, right?

  2. stacybuckeye says:

    This made me smile. Jason has always had success with the forklift and since he’s the one who puts him to bed at night I only have to worry when I have to take him out in the middle of the night. I usually go with the spine snap, but it’s not infallible.
    I miss the days of the infant car seat. I’d bring the whole thing in the house and let him nap in it.

    • Scott Nagele says:

      I think dads might be more inclined toward the forklift than anything else. It seems to make most sense to us, but we end up being fools for trying to make sense of a baby’s whims.

  3. Peter Briele says:

    Our son is 19 now, but that definitely brought back some great memories. When we were first married Rhonda and I had full time jobs and both attended college part time. Then Pete was born. I stopped night classes and watched our son while Rhonda went on to get her paralegal degree. I can’t tell you how many times the forklift failed me. We then both fell back asleep in the rocking recliner until Mommy came home and woke us both up. Thanks for the memories!

  4. yearstricken says:

    You need to write an owner’s manual for fathers. Put it in the form of a car manual. 🙂

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