nap time


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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.
Glorious.
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.

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Words cannot describe how much I hate it when a certain doctor turns on the radio and makes a racket in the kitchen minutes after I’ve put a congested and cranky baby to sleep, insisting that he’ll sleep through it, knowing full well that if and when said baby does wake up, he will not be the one who has to deal with him.


I’ve been back for three days and I’m already scheduled until November. I really don’t know what they did while I was I gone.
I got home late Monday night and then slept in and bummed around all Tuesday. Wednesday afternoon I was eating my delicious veggie sub when I got an unexpected call from Dr. Doormat. He was desperate. Mrs. Winifred, formerly Mrs. Pinochet, had left Buddha napping and he had woken up moments after she left the driveway. Meanwhile he was on a deadline and the baby wouldn’t go back to sleep so could I come over? Hell yes! I grabbed my bag, my lunch and my keys and I was out the door. I don’t think the six minute drive over there has ever felt so long. Buddha stared at me for a few moments as I walked in the door, sort of looking me over. As I walked to the counter to put my stuff away, I saw him following me with his eyes. And when I smiled at him, he gave me a little grin and buried his face in his daddy’s shoulder, playing shy. He grinned wider as I approached him and my heart just about melted. I was so worried he wouldn’t remember me. Afterall, I have been gone for a little over a month. When I reached out my arms to him, he clung to his daddy and when I took him he started to cry. I cradled him and immediately started singing his special song that I’ve been singing to him since the day he was born – Everything Possible by Fred Small. It was like magic. He stopped crying! He looked up at me with his big blue eyes and I could see the recongnition on his face. He remembered! He settled down, snuggled against my breast, clutched at my shirt and drifted off to sleep as I walked around singing. I couldn’t bear to put him down so I laid down on the couch, and he slept peacefully on my chest for over an hour, just like we used to when he was a newborn. It feels so good to be home.
And what a homecoming it was! When Bunny got home from school he strode over to me with a huge grin on his face and an enormous bouquet of flowers in his hand. Apparently, he had insisted to Winifred that they buy me flowers at the store while they were out. I was so touched! He gave me such a huge hug and immediately took me to his room and introduced me to all the new toys that he had gotten for his birthday last month. Dr. Doormat and Mrs. Winifred invited me to stay for dinner and it was wonderful. If that ordeal taught me anything, it was appreciation for this family and for our relationship. I know we have our moments and our disagreements but there is mutual respect and appreciation between us all and I’m so grateful to have them back and to be back.

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Cherub and I went to the Science Center today and had a blast. We had lunch, laughed and looked at lots of science-y stuff but what he was really looking foward to was a Star program at the planetarium. All day long, he kept asking when we could see the “star movie.” Not in a pestering way, but wondering how much closer we were to the highlight of the afternoon. Finally it was time and we hurried to the planetarium and managed to get second in line for the show. Fortunately we got the best seats in the house. Unfortunately we had to wait for 20 minutes while everybody else got situated. Bless him, Cherub was incredibly patient. Finally, it started and our “star guide” while enthusiastic was a bit on the overly chipper side and even though he had a microphone, insisted on yelling everything. In any case, our star tour was off to a great start except for the nauseau and spinning part. So, I leaned over to ask Cherub if he was okay. Because I so was not. He nodded and stared in fascination at the huge domed ceiling. Satisfied, I closed my eyes, unable to keep staring at the spinning and twirling and vomit-inuducing spectacle. During a lull, a few minutes later, I heard snoring. Yep, asleep. Not even ten minutes into the highly anticipated show and he was fast asleep. The swirling lights and the yelling guide and the oohing and aaahhing were not enough to keep him awake. He was totally passed out but I just couldn’t wake him. Not if he was that tired. Eventually the movie ended, the people filed out, graciously stepping over his little sleeping legs. And the enthusiastic guide? “You can’t stay here ma’am. We need to set up for the next show.” Uhg. First off, do NOT call me ma’am. And secondly? Does he have no heart? What kind of human being could resist such a beautiful sleeping angel? So, I reluctantly flung my purse over my shoulder and lifted him into my arms. For a moment I thought he was going to stay asleep. But just as we got to the EXIT door, his head shot up.
“Where … where …. where are the people?” He asked, very confused.
“What about the movie?” He continued absolutely bewildered.
“You fell asleep, buddy. You missed it.” I winced, hoping he wouldn’t be too disappointed.
“Oh.” And suddenly very awake, he slid out of my arms and onto the floor pulling me out of the planetarium.
“That was such a great movie.” He murmured as we continued walking.
“Wasn’t it?” He asked me, cheerfully.
I grinned and nodded in agreement.
Oh, Cherub. You crack me up. I don’t know what you were dreaming about buddy, but it must have been good.

Bunny’s Mom whom we’ll kindly call Pinochet has very strict rules regarding pretty much every aspect of her sons’ lives. She basically attempts to control how they get dressed (no. really) what, and how they eat, and yes, how long they sleep. This sounds like a nomal concerned parent? Wait and see. I don’t kid when I say that the hardest part about working for Dr. Doormat and Mrs. P is keeping in line with all the freaking rules. One of my least favorite rules is the rule that states. “Bunny must get up from his nap at two regardless of when he went to sleep.” She leaves me notes, continually, reminding me of this fact. I may take one to scan it for disbelievers. Now, this rule doesn’t sound so bad. Especially not considering the fact that his (attempted) bedtime is seven pm. However, the lack of any leniency whatsoever is what distresses me. 2:00 means 2:00. Not 2:05. (though I like to stretch those five minutes out. shhh.) Not 2:15. She went APESHIT on Dr. Doormat one day when he “undermined” her by allowing me to let Bunny sleep an extra fifteen minutes. Now, there are several problems with this rule but my biggest issue with this rule is the whole “regladless of when he went to sleep” part. I HATE that part. Mrs. P insists that we are always on time and on (her) schedule however she has no issues continually changing that schedule without notice so long as SHE’S the one making the changes. So, if she says she’s going to be home with Bunny at noon and wants me to have lunch ready so I can get him down for his nap before one so he can get up by two, then by golly, I will have lunch ready to go a 11:55 sharp. However, Mrs. P is like clockwork in the sense that she is almost always never on time. That of course, doesn’t preclude us from always having to be on time. It just means that we have to be on her time. So, when she gets home at a quarter to one with a cranky, hungry four year old who decides that he no longer wants pizza for lunch but mac and cheese the whole “up by two regarldess …” rule should logically amend itself to her being late, correct? No. Absolutely not. I’m supposed to make up for the lost 45 minutes. And if he doesn’t actually fall asleep until 1:49 can I give him an extra 15 mintues of sleep, so that he can have a total of 26 minutes of naptime? Hell, no! And when she asks why he’s in such a foul mood and I tell her it’s because she only allowed him 11 minutes to sleep and why the hell can’t she loosen the fuck up? She comes to her senses and apologizes for being such an anal control-freak and offers me a raise in repentance … right? Wrong. Instead I just mutter that he’s tired and she nods and says something about an early bed time tonight as I ponder ways that I could grow, steal or buy marijuana to slip into her tea because I fear that that is the only way that she could ever relax.