When Buddha was a newborn there was only one place where he was guaranteed to sleep: My Chest. His mother, for all her attributes, is not a calm person. Nervous energy just courses through her. And little Buddha felt it. Even now, he rarely sleeps for her and then only if she nurses him into a comatose state. So, in order to lessen the already heightened state of anxiety that Winifred is a permanent resident of, I would, during the first post-partum months, work my somnolent magic on the babe and he would sleep on me.

I happen to have an abnormally comfy bosom. No, really. I say this in all seriousness, because it is both a blessing and a curse. It is not purely a result of their size either, for they were used as pillows long before I graduated from my B and then C cups. They just happen to be insanely cozy. Bunny described it so eloquently one day when he told that if his pillows ever got stolen, he’d be okay, so long as my breasts were availabe for him to sleep on.

Initially, my amazing soporific powers were envied and coveted by one and all in Calamitous Casa for I was the only one who could assuredly put the wee fat one to sleep. So grateful for this supernatural ability was Winifred that she would actually schedule me to come over purely for napping purposes. I would put the baby to sleep, go climb in the spare bed and quite literally get paid to nap.
Not only was I living the American Dream but I was actually helping people in the process. Good times.

It was a win-win situation, for the most part. Buddha’s sleeping gave Winifred a chance to sleep and that made her a remarkably more bearable mama which in turn created lovely ripples in the rest of the house for life is much more pleasant for everyone when Winifred is rested and (relatively) calm. Plus, a rested Buddha is a much more pleasant Buddha to be around. And less crying is really good for everyone involved. And me, well I of course, got paid to sleep which is the sweetest deal there ever was.

Unfortunately we hit a snag. My inimitably comfy breasts caused us quite a conundrum, for whenever my chest was an option, Buddha would simply refuse to sleep anywhere else. He acquired rather remarkable super baby radar capability that warned him whenever we so much as thought about putting him down in his crib. To make matters worse, his fastidious sleep aversion worsened to the point that on days when I was not there, he would just not sleep. And no good can come from an infant on a sleep strike.

So slowly, things began to change. I would rock him and sing him to sleep just like before but once he was in his REM cycle I would very carefully, put him in his crib. This precarious game of sleep training was not a fun task, for me or for Buddha. If I transferred him too soon after his eyelids drooped shut, he would not be deep enough asleep and he would wake up, incredibly angry and intent on not falling asleep so as not to be duped into his crib. But if I waited too long, a similar scene would occur. A very delicate game it was and it lasted for months, but we finally got into a rhythym and now Buddha very rarely wakes upon being transferred to his crib. Of course, he is still dependant on me to put him to sleep but I’m still reeling from our last sleep training and am hesitant to force him to self soothe. That and I not-so-secretly love our pre-nap snuggle time.

Yesterday, Buddha came down with a nasty fever and cough. He’s congested and miserable and he refused to sleep last night except for three hours between five and eight in the morning. He began to stir shortly after I got there at eight this morning. Winifred nursed him while I readied Bunny for the day. He didn’t go to school since he too was feeling under the weather so Winifred took him shopping with her. At nine thirty, Winifred and Bunny left the building. I fed Buddha a few bites of oatmeal and yogurt but even that wasn’t doing anything for him. So I went outside to the backyard, sat in the swing and at nine fifty he was out. Twice he nearly woke himself up when he choked on his own phlegm, but I was able to soothe him back to sleep before he fully awoke.

Then the damn gardeners showed up and rudely decided to do their jobs so we were forced inside rather than sit and have mowed grass and gas emissions flung in our faces. The head gardener’s loud voice, referring to me as “Honey” and asking me to go inside woke Buddha from his slumber and for the next fifteen minutes I cursed Ricky under breath as I rocked him back to sleep. Literally, not two minutes after I was convinced he was out, did Winifred call my cell phone to say she was on her way home with Bunny and groceries. I said okay and that I was going to seclude us in the bedroom, so Buddha wouldn’t wake up.

Calamitous Casa is a fortress. Winifred lovingly calls it “the compound.” Not only do they have a very sophisticated alarm system but every window has a shield. This comes in handy for nap time because with just the flick of a switch, the shields for a room can be lowered and we have instant night time. Well what’s a girl to do in a pitch dark room, a warm little baby in her arms and the nice lulling noise of an air purifier for company?

Naturally, I climbed in bed, adjusted Buddha on my chest and fell right to sleep, breathing in the scent of his soft little head. Only hours later when his weight on my bladder became unbearable did I shift him out of my arms and hurried to the bathroom. It nearly roused him but I very deftly managed to croon back to sleep.

Four hours. For four hours he slept in my arms. Just the two of us, cuddled close, his hot little forehead close to mine, his chubby little fingers tangled in my hair and wrapped around my neck, his head against my heart. It felt so good, so lovely to be back there. And I felt a little longing for the times we had when he was just a wee, new little guy. The nostalgia bubbled inside as I cradled the not-so-little-anymore baby in my arms. My arm went in and out of numbness as I lay there but I didn’t really care. He’s so active and energetic now; our cuddle time has greatly diminished. It was nice to be able to just hold him. To be. And even though, he’s older now, more independent, it was nice to know that I’m still his favorite place to sleep.