Privilege Blog

Baby Nights, Or, Saturday Morning at 10:05am


Good morning everyone.

I took care of my nephew from 10pm to 7am last night. Well my goodness. All you new moms, I salute you.

That’s the little guy above. Don’t worry, he’s well supervised. Turns out that’s his new slumber position of choice. I’m not questioning.

Oh how interrupted nights tortured me as a young mother. I remember when my second child could finally sleep 8 hours straight. After about 6 weeks of this new situation I woke up one morning and thought, “Wait! I feel normal! I am in fact an optimistic person!”

Sleep training is by now a part of our culture. I tried it, back when, on my son. Mistake. A practice unsuited to my temperament, and perhaps to his as well. I tried once, and the minute he started waking up again, I resigned my self to nighttime crib visits.

He sleeps fine now, I hear, in his apartment in Brooklyn.

23 years later I am sure that the correct parenting choices, assuming you face yourself squarely and honestly, are those that feel right. People told me that back when, but it sounded like propaganda. Like an easy dictum. Hand waving.

Last night with Mr. B. reminded me of how hard and yet how lovely it is to have a baby. When he woke, after a bottle, I’d hold him upright and pat his back until he fell asleep again. But at 2:30am, or maybe it was 3, during one of those restless periods babies insist upon, he lifted his round head off my shoulder. I tried very hard to look straight ahead, offering him no reason to remain awake, but could tell he was staring at my jaw and cheek.

I couldn’t resist a little peek. I turned my face to see his round eyes, open, looking. The gaze of a baby, even when you’d give anything to be asleep in your bed, is more than a privilege.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone. I think I’ll take a very long nap.

29 Responses

  1. Oh, what wonderful memories this brings back! As a mother of three, I had my share of sleepless nights in the early days. Worth every minute of lost sleep.

  2. I’m sure his family are so grateful for your help! He’s adorable–what I can see!

    1. Oh I come with all sorts of annoying opinions, so my help isn’t an unmitigated blessing:).

  3. Oh how precious he must be. You are spot on about doing what feels right, and what helps everyone get a good night of sleep. Don’t you wonder what he was thinking while studying your face?

    1. So so precious! I just had the pleasure of taking care of MY nephew! My nephew is a goat and chewed up all my father’s Sulka boxers and my mother’s portrait by Tina Barney!!! Yikes!!!

      When I was younger, I would skip all day — even in the elevator at Barney’s. Then one day, Cheryl P. from Bard, told me I was not skipping BUT “Pipping”!! I said, “wha wha what?”

      She explained: ‘Pipping’ is an old southern expression for skipping without under garments IF you’re over 50 and you have spent at least 12 – 15 summers in Southampton.

      Cheers and giggles and goos goos and gah gahs!


  4. That looks like fun! I’m reminded of the bumper sticker that reads, “if I’d known Grandchildren were so much fun I would have had them first.”

  5. What a beautiful moment the two of you shared! I’m in the middle of the new mum thing myself and appreciate your hindsight and reassurance that doing what feels right is best, and that your son sleeps perfectly well on his own now!

    SSG xxx

  6. Oh, those nights. I had two non-sleepers and honestly thought I wasn’t going to make it for a while. One time I fell asleep at a red light woke up as the car went into the gravel. Thankfully, no one was hurt. But I do think sleep deprivation for new parents can be a serious problem if they never get any relief.

    Good for you for giving them a break.

  7. So precious. Can hardly wait for the first time I can have my granddaughter for the night – will gladly give up some sleep. It says a lot that your brother and sister-in-law entrusted their baby to you, I would consider it quite a compliment. I stayed with my daughter last week after she had her first baby and it was heaven.

    1. Congratulations Kathy-grandmother! Wonderful!
      I have yet to experience what you already have ; )!

    2. Kathy,many,many congratulations on your new granddaughter,also to the Mum.
      So many happy fun filled days ahead.

  8. Your post brought up my own memories as a young mother.
    I literally stayed c. three years without a break ( a night off ) with my babies.
    And yes, the first year was exhausting, though I realized it only after many years.

  9. Thank you for that reminder of how a baby can look up at you during those wee hours of the morning. So often I only tend to remember the sleep deprivation, but this reminded me of some sweet moments with my kiddos that we shared during the earliest days of their lives. :)

    1. I think the sweet memories resurface as the distance from sleep deprivation increases:).

  10. How this brings back memories for me with my 3! There is nothing like sleep deprivation. Some babies are better sleepers than others. But they are built to be curious and most are intelligent enough to know they should be asleep but can’t resist looking either! Your nephew sounds and looks adorable! It’s wonderful he’s shared around his family :-)

  11. Funny how those periods of sleep deprivation seemed infinite in their duration at the time and now are faint memories displaced by a parade of joys. As a new mom, I developed a coping mechanism whereby I believed that everything lasted about 2weeks. It seemed that most disrupting infant/toddler/preschooler/school-age/teenager behavior bothered me for about a 2-week period—at which point I guess I would have adjusted to or resolved the problem sufficiently to let it drop from a prominent place on my radar…only, of course, to be replaced by another issue. ; )

    I bet there’s a real cherub under that blanket!

  12. I was a lucky Mum from the time my daughter was born she slept through the night,use to wake up to check on her.
    Great to look after babies, have heard G/mothers’ say also nice to be able to hand back to their parents!

  13. Spending time with new babies is just lovely. I’ve been spending as much time as I can lately with my own new nephew and even though he mostly still just eats, sleeps and poops those little smiles and all the attention is so rewarding.

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