This morning, The Baby wouldn’t go down to sleep at her normal nap time of 10am. She was awake and fumbling around the crib at 10:15, at 10:38, at 10:47, and at 10:56. I tried to edit my novel, tried to ignore the squeals and chatter and frustrated heys! emitting from the baby monitor across the room. I went in and gave her back the pacifier she’d thrown to the floor. I went in and rubbed her back and explained in a soothing voice why napping in the morning was important and why she would feel much better after some rest. I went in, changed her diaper, and told her in a stern voice, finger wagging above her, that this kind of behavior was unacceptable, that she was failing to live up to the terms of the agreement we’d signed off on.
After what I knew would be my final attempt to get her to sleep, now that it was 11am on the dot, closer to when she normally wakes up from her nap, I texted my at-work wife. I complained about the unfairness of the situation, how it wouldn’t work like this, wasn’t supposed to work like this, that I needed at least, at the bare minimum, an hour a day to get some semblance of work done.
I also complained about the humidity level in the house.
In the course of my hitting the pressure release valve, The Baby, of course, fell asleep. I got some work done. My wife knew not to even respond to my complaints about The Baby.
She did, however, advise me to turn on the AC.
So what’s important here? What’s the advice? For me, it was the moment when I realized that I had forgotten my own advice:
Imagine if you were expected to establish one set of rules and expectations that governed every aspect of your day—and never stray?
Being home with a baby, raising a child, it isn’t a linear act. There are regressions, mistakes, bad days, pockets of desperation. The trick is learning to accept and/or believe that encountering them isn’t the failure. The trick is realizing that the real failure is if you are unable to realize that you’ve been tripped up, and even more so if you don’t let it go, move on, and look to turn it all around after lunch.
Dispatches From The Baby’s Room are paragraph-long(ish) tips on how to maybe make the act of raising a child easier. Or maybe just slightly less insane. Or, in twenty years from now, a guide on how to mess a kid up real good. DFTBR are easily digestible, hand-held, and best of all, free. They are the things Joe Stracci thinks about while putting all of the Mega Bloks back in the bag, making the sound the duck makes, and changing diapers in the dark.