Hi, my name is Paul (know elsewhere as StrugglingWriter) and I’m father to the most beautiful one year old little girl in the world. In addition to being a father, I like to think of myself as a fiction writer. I also like to think of myself as good looking as Brad Pitt, so take last bit with a grain of salt.
Anyhow, though my wife and I are blessed with a well-tempered joy of a daughter, up until a few weeks ago we hadn’t enjoyed a full night of sleep in a year. My wife said something funny the other day, just after we enjoyed an uninterrupted night of sleep. She remarked, “I actually had a dream last night.”
Once or twice a night, my daughter would wake in the night and we would let her cry for a while. Eventually we would check on her and my wife would feed her and I would wait with them ready to fulfill my official duty of baby lifter, which includes taking my daughter off my wife’s lap and placing her in her crib without my daughter waking up. At some point, I developed a technique. I also had a lot of time to think.
And think I have. In fact, I have thought up a whole new Olympic sport, a game so challenging it makes the marathon look like a jog to first base in a Tee Ball game. I propose “Placing a Sleeping Baby into a Crib without the Baby Waking Up” be the next Olympic Event. Obviously we’ll have to work on the name a little bit but I think the idea is a good one. Also, I’m 50% Greek (my Dad’s parents were from Greece and actually had an arranged marriage), which means I’m authorized to create Olympic Events on a whim.
There would naturally have to be a few challenges in our new Olympic event, of course. They don’t just give gold medals for anything. You have to earn it. For example, I live in an older house, remodeled but still built before we put a man on the moon. The floorboards squeak more in that house than Minnie Mouse on a bad ear day, not very conducive to keeping an infant asleep. So, the “playing field” for our new sport would have to contain some playing surface that made a little noise.
In the second round, participants would be required to sprint a mile (the equivalent of the energy it takes to care for a baby all day), get three hours sleep, and then rock the baby for half an hour, testing just how durable the human back really is.
Since I love you all, dear blog readers, I’ll describe for you the proper technique to get a baby from Mother to Crib without and wakeage (I create words in my spare time, too). First of all, you have to gently lift the baby off of the Mother’s lap, making sure to support the head and importantly not pinch the Mom (they hate that). Next, you gently walk to the crib, moving your legs while keeping your upper body totally motionless. Any sudden movements will wake the baby, jeopardizing your sanity and quite possibly your marriage. Also, make sure you follow the quietest path possible, any squeaks from the floor will make that little one wake up faster than a sleeping Wookie at the Barber Shop
Even if you manage to make it to the crib, your journey isn’t complete. Oh no. Now you have to get the baby off your arm without moving her in any way. That tiny little head drifts back just a little bit, and you have a tiny little crying bundle of joy on your hands. I suggest you hold your breath, lean on the crib rail, lift the baby over the rail and gently lower the baby onto the mattress, all the while saying a prayer. You’ll know right away if you are successful. The baby will either roll gently to her side, or start crying hysterically at which point you are allowed to join them.
Well, that’s my idea for a new Olympic Event. I think it contains just enough skill, patience, strength and drama that would make it a compelling sport.
In all seriousness, fatherhood has been a challenge but also very rewarding. Would I trade it for anything? Surely not, just don’t ask me at 3:00 AM.
[Paul is the author of The Struggling Writer - One person’s attempt to defeat writer’s block.]