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.