It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Sleep, baby, sleep

I am soothing a reluctant sleeper as he lies in his crib, protesting. He’s on his tummy, his wee butt in the air, his face flushed with the vigour of his indignation, his eyes closed. He really is tired. He just needs to let go. And so I pat his back (not something I do all that routinely, really), and speak words of comfort and consolation.

Want to hear? Want to hear ‘comfort and consolation’, Mary-style? My voice is soft and crooning, pitched a little lower than normal, a steady thread of soothing white noise. And the words?

“I know, I KNOW! It’s just awful, what we adults do to you. The abuse! Insisting that you get enough sleep to be healthy and happy. Awful! Outrageous, even. How dare we? It would be much better to run around miserable and exhausted all day long, I’m sure. I don’t know HOW you put up with it, I really don’t. I should be ashamed of myself, putting you to sleep in a comfy bed in a quiet room.”

I can keep it up as long as I need to.

It amuses me and, as it’s all said in warm and soothing tones, he relaxes to the cadence, rather than the content, of my words. Because really, the point is that I’m here, right? I don’t have to think he’s being reasonable or sensible. Because he’s not. Not at all. Fight a nap? Is he INSANE? Some days I would kill for a nap. Truly.

Well, okay, I guess I really wouldn’t, since I haven’t yet, and lord knows I’ve had opportunity and motivation.

But when I have a kid who is fighting tooth and nail to resist the very thing I’m craving … pearls before swine, I tell you. Pearls before swine. So no, I’m not particularly sympatico with his position on the matter.

“Oh, the inhumanity! How can we treat you in such a terrible fashion? How do you manage to suffer the cruelty? A nap! How dare I?”

Aaaaand… he’s asleep. And I’m amused, rather than exasperated out of my mind.

I’d call that a win-win.

August 22, 2011 - Posted by | sleep | , , ,


  1. “Go to sleep, go to sleep. You are driving me crazy. If you won’t sleep, if you won’t sleep, I will go out of my mind.” I had all kinds of great songs!

    Heh. I used to do that! Wonder when I stopped? I suspect now that you’ve reminded me I’ll be doing it again. (And so much better than dropping the f-bomb on every page… That book, I’m sure you know which one, amuses me in a mild sort of way, but I’m rather appalled that some parents out there view it as appropriate bedtime reading for their wee ones!)

    Comment by Jill in Atlanta | August 22, 2011 | Reply

    • I sing songs like that too.

      Keeps you sane!

      Comment by Bridgett | August 22, 2011 | Reply

  2. […] today, when a friend sent me this link, I read with interest the soothing and comforting way this mother put her son to sleep. But it […]

    Pingback by » Blog Archive » Boarding school at home | August 22, 2011 | Reply

  3. Hee hee! That’s exactly the ‘conversation’ I’ve had with all my babies when they get cranky. I walk around, baby on my hip, and I entertain myself with this monologue. I’m sure it has prevented any of them being ejected from the window so far… definitely a sanity saver!

    Don’t think I haven’t thought about window ejection… but only as a passing fantasy, never as a viable option!!! (sigh…)

    Comment by Oompa Loompa Burps | August 22, 2011 | Reply

  4. I always assumed this was a defense mechanism built to avoid getting angry at the offending child. I always do this with my children. In fact this morning, I talked that way with the cat who had the great misfortune of having to wait for me to be clothed before being fed. Poor thing. 🙂

    That’s exactly what it is, and yes, the dogs get it, too. Particularly Daisy, who, at five months, is particularly prone to doing particularly silly things. Poor thing. 🙂

    Comment by Dani | August 22, 2011 | Reply

  5. How do you keep them from pushing up and sitting up? MY little recalcitrant sleeper keeps STANDING UP!

    Bundle them. Wrap them up, snug-snug-snug, from neck to ankles, like a wee little baby burrito.

    Comment by IfByYes | August 22, 2011 | Reply

    • On bundling: what do you do if it’s too bleeding hot for anything more than a light onesie? My Boy is a sweaty little creature. Lately he has taken to rolling over and rocking on his hands and knees instead of going back to sleep. Wait until the weather improves, I suppose.

      Comment by Grace Goldragon | August 23, 2011 | Reply

  6. Yup! Mine usually includes, “Can you believe your parents pay for this kind of treatment? I think you should complain to management! Oh, that’s what you’re doing… okay then.”

    Heh. I like it.

    Comment by daycaregirl | August 24, 2011 | Reply

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