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That phrase, “He sleeps like a baby,” is cruel. Most babies don’t sleep very well, and I envy those who do. Do you remember when you couldn’t get your baby to sleep at night, and then he slept during the day?

When my baby first came home, I tried to sing her to sleep. I rocked her in my arms for hours. I crooned the old ballad, “Hush little baby, don’t say a word, Mama’s going to buy you a mockingbird. If that mockingbird won’t sing, Mama’s going to buy you a diamond ring.”

Did singing the song work?

No way.

And bribing her with a diamond ring didn’t work at all.

She would not sleep. Her nights and days were so mixed up that she could have lived in Australia.

I wrote and sang a special song, just for my little girl.

Rebecca, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm

Rebecca, Rebecca, so clean and warm,

Something something something. 

After singing it about a million times, I thought I would never forget the lyrics. But I have, thank goodness.

She cried and fussed for hours each night. We tried putting the baby in her car seat on top of the dryer. I prayed the jiggle during the extra-dry cycle would put her to sleep. No dice.

We drove around for hours many nights hoping she’d eventually fall asleep. We spent a lot of money on gas. Everyone slept except me, my husband and our baby.

At least, that’s how it felt. We were desperate to get some rest.

Experienced parents told us not to keep the house extra-quiet. They told us to go on with our daily activities. They advised us not to tiptoe, turn off the phone or detach the front door bell ringer.

Of course, the minute our baby girl did fall asleep, we ignored the well-meant advice. We rushed to turn off the phone and we tiptoed as if we had grown cat paws. We hung a sign on the front door for the UPS and post office workers, asking them not to ring the doorbell.

Keeping the house quiet didn’t work. We should have listened to those experienced parents. As she entered elementary school, she finally did get her days and nights straightened out.

Our sleepless little baby became a teenager. Her number one favorite activity was sleeping all day. It should have felt like a victory. At that point, I wanted her to wake up and participate in family life. We seldom want what we have.

Then our son was born. This time around, we didn’t bother to keep things quiet. We couldn’t. The roofers came the first week he was home from the hospital.

While the hammering went on all day, he slept like a rock. Those experienced people were right. Don’t keep it quiet.

Talk to Karen

Follow Karen on Twitter @KarenLeeGamble.

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