We swaddle our chubby baby every night in spite of his protests. He looks like an adorable human burrito, with a dark furry head where rice and beans might otherwise be spilling out. It’s a sight that melts our hearts and brains into a lovey-dovey mush, as I imagine all parents must feel about the cocooned shape of their infant. Unfortunately, King Burrito doesn’t understand that swaddling is a part of the current protocol for safe infant sleeping; and instead believes he has been unjustly imprisoned and naturally fights until he drops into an exhausted, but safe, sleep.
Can you hear me yawning as I type from extreme sleep deprivation?
“Sleep when the baby sleeps,” everyone says while holding the sleeping baby which would be helpful if I could sleep on demand during the middle of the day. Or worse yet, they say, “Let me hold the baby so you can go and throw in a load of laundry or do the dishes.” If I wasn’t so tired, smoke would roll out of my ears. Alas, I have even lost the energy to be angry and maybe have a puff or two of smoke worth of irritation.
In any case, who has time for sleep or anger for that matter? I only have another four weeks before returning to work from maternity leave. With as fast as King Burrito is developing, I fear that I will miss a major milestone and he will start talking or walking if I’m off the clock napping. So, in the spirit of maximizing our time together, I have started to take time saving short cuts. I do all of my banking online, the groceries get delivered to our front door, and Amazon fills in all of other gaps.
Last week, an older woman with the usual Hoosier mom garb of high wasted jeans, a turtle neck and a fuzzy vest with an IU logo delivered diapers, cat litter and the random collection of provisions for the week.
“Someone has a baby…” she led with as I opened the door.
It was far from a lucky guess, the drool on my shirt and the screaming in the background were good clues for what she was able to deduce about the situation. “Do you mind if I take a peek?” she asked as she stepped a foot inside and then brought the rest of her body along with the groceries.
It was hard to say no, especially when she was bringing Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and was already in the house. She sighed as she gazed at the crying and red-faced infant.
“I remember these days, when it was just my babies and me. Now they’re all grown up and things are different. Instead of rocking them, we go to Pacer’s games and drink beer together. Enjoy this time,” she said with a knowing laugh and left for her car in the drive way.
I felt a profound sadness with her departure and the inevitability of her words. Soon our chubby baby will be too big to swaddle. He will sleep through the night and have friends other than his mommy and daddy and drink more than milk. He will wear pants with zippers and shoes with laces. And he will break his mommy’s heart as he grows up into a boy and then a man but for today, he will just be my sweet baby.