If there’s anything in life that tells you that you’re an utter failure at parenting, it should be the time around 3am, when you and your infant are both crying because neither one of you has slept in days.  I, my friends, am doing everything wrong.

“I’ve done this before.  It’s not new to me.” I told myself.  So why doesn’t Smush want to sleep?  She’s been out of the proverbial water (maybe not really proverbial) for 3 weeks now and I can’t figure out why she’s not sleeping at all.  Let me rephrase that.  She sleeps during the day.  But, as soon as the moon rises and the lights are out, it’s a relentless grunt-a-thon.

Between the hours of midnight and 7 am, Smush turns into a sleep monster, eating up the slumber of her once loving parents.  Her viciously effective torture method is to squeak and snort often enough to scoop us out of our delicious dreams.  Once we flip on the bedroom light to discern the matter, she’s quiet as a mouse (and maniacally laughing inside).  Six minutes later, the cycle repeats itself…like every six minutes.

To limit Smush’s damage to just one parent at a time, Steph and I take turns sleeping with the enemy baby.  Meaning, the living room couch has recently become the best place to snooze and be snoozed.  As much as we’d both like to sleep on the couch, one of us has to comically karmically suffer for our life’s misdeeds (like the time when I was 10 and I put a frog on a railroad track during the summer time and watched it sizzle in the hot sun and then get run over by a freight train.  I’m sorry for doing that.  I really mean it this time!).  In the past couple of days, I’ve pulled the short straw.  That means grabbing an extra pillow and hunkering down in the trenches until sunrise.

I’ll be the first to tell you that Smush is not a sweet pea at 3am.  (She’s more like the pea under my mattress.)  During the witching hours, she dons horns and carries a pitchfork (or a spork.  I can’t tell.  My eyesight’s a bit blurry SINCE I HAVEN’T SLEPT IN DAYS!).  In the dark, I feel her cold, calculating stare.  If I fake like I’m sleeping, she knows.  She waits patiently until I really nod off and fills the air with “Ughhhhhh!”.  I bolt upright and curse in her general direction.  This series of events is looped until morning.

On the worst night, I was sans wits.  Wanting to do something to help Steph’s daughter (I’ve disowned her already), I thought that I could try a few things to help her (and I) get some much-needed rest.  They were a string of bad ideas.

Here’s a list of things that I did that are sure to help me win the “Parenting Failure of the Year” award.  I’ve set the bar, ladies and gentlemen.  So, if you’re wondering how NOT to get your newborn to sleep, read on.

  1. Massage the baby – Um, nope.  This is supposed to relax a person!  Since babies are not people, don’t try to do this at night.  You’ll only serve to wear out your hands and invigorate your child.  Trust me, I know.
  2. Stretch and exercise the baby – No again.  I thought that I could tire her out physically by making her do pushups and working her bicycle kicks.  About an hour in, I was both proud of my girl’s stamina and pissed by my girl’s stamina.  Still wide awake…
  3. Practice martial arts techniques while holding baby – With baby fully exercised, I strapped Smush to myself in hopes that my movement would fatigue her and myself.  I know, brilliant right?  Wrong.  I was worked up and so was she.  Wee hours of the morning….
  4. Burp the baby – Well, it works well for about 5 minutes after she eats, but something (a little voice in my head) told me that maybe my girl just needed to be burped again.  30 minutes of burping techniques and I could only manage to burp myself.  I’m 99% sure now that any air that makes its way past the stomach is only going to come out the other end.  Ah, the cock’s are crowing…
  5. Rum – For me, not for her.  A glass or two helped ease my pain, but not my hearing.  Nope.  Besides, who drinks at 7am?  The sun’s up and so is the rest of the house.  Yay…

I was just overstimulating the Smushie.  She would get more stressed and so would I.  The smoke from between her ears should have tipped me off, but I thought it was another devilish trick.

Yes, I’m irritated.  Yes, I’m frustrated.  Yes, I’m tired.  I’m thinking about returning her to the hospital and getting a new one.  This one may be broken.  It squeaks too much.

Don't Tell Me That's Your Eating Utensil, Smushie!!

Don’t Tell Me That’s Your Eating Utensil, Smushie!!