Its 4:45…in the morning and M is awake, crying. Nothing new about that, but a month ago my wife would be the one getting up to feed him and we would all return to happy sleep land for another two hours. But now, we are in the final stages of weaning M, so no more midnight or early morning snacks for him. This also means that I have to get up and work with M and hope that I can sooth him back to sleep.
The weaning process is a difficult transition for many babies. K had a very difficult time giving up his nighttime feedings from momma. Luckily, M has been doing an awesome job at it, even doing away with some of the feedings himself. But this morning, at 4:45, I am not feeling optimistic about my chances to get M back to sleep. But this is what a dad has gotta do, which really pales in comparison to how long and often momma has had to drag herself out of bed to sooth a hungry child in the middle of the night.
Its 5:00, and I have been rocking M for a solid 15 minutes, which feels like an hour to me, but it ain’t happening. He has quieted down, but has not fallen asleep. We rock some more and listen to the snowplows push their heavy metal blades over frozen asphalt.
Its 5:05, another grueling 20 minutes has slipped by. M is still awake, but quiet…do I dare to place him back in his crib? I do. He screams. I am now on the floor next to his crib softly mumbling something that might resemble ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’, but honestly I have no idea what is coming out of my mouth.
Its 5:12 and M is clearly communicating his desire to be out of the crib and that my sporadic mumbling of a potential lullaby has not produced the desired results. I lift him out, cradle him on my shoulder and start to rock some more. He slaps me and pulls my beard. This is getting dirty.
You might be asking yourself, “Why the hell does he not just feed the kid and get on with it?” Well, if I start feeding M at 5:00am, I am setting myself up to be up every morning at 5:00am feeding M; which might not be all that bad if I was the type of responsible parent who goes to bed at 8pm, but I’m not. Once we get K finally down for the count by around 9:30pm my wife and I like to have at least an hour or two of grown up time. So, my typical bedtime is around 11:30, which means that I have had only about five hours of sleep and am not too entertained by having my near one-year-old slap me across the face, pull my beard, and call me all sorts of unsavory names in his baby dialect.
Its 5:20, nearly two hours has gone by since this process has started, and I have momentarily hypnotized M by having him watch the flashing yellow lights from the snowplow clearing out the parking lot across from our apartment. He might not be going back to sleep, but he is quiet. Being quiet is key. With his brother just next door…or did he manage to slip into my bed already…to wake him at this hour would mean that everyone in our cozy little home will be up, grumpy, and the day would be off to a very rocky start.
Its 5:30 and M has broken free from the hypnotic spell the snowplow was casting and is once again demanding his food. I can no longer keep him quiet in his room. I go for the risky maneuver of walking him through the apartment, hoping that the change of scenery will keep him quiet. Somehow M manipulates the walk to end in the kitchen, I am doomed; his request for food reaches a new fevered pitch. I call to my wife for backup, she replies, “You know what will happen if I come out, he will just demand that I feed him.” But she comes out to help sooth him, sans feeding, while I prepare the hot water and applegrott (a baby porridge here in Sweden).
Its 5:45, I have lost track of the hours I have been awake, M is happily devouring his food. His momma has returned to bed and I have at least another hour in front of me playing with a content and happy baby before he might possibly be ready for another nap, which will be right around the time that his older brother will be getting up for his food so he can trudge through snow to school. The larger question looming in my hazy mind…”Will this all repeat itself tomorrow morning again?”