It started as a tiny whimper, then a gasp, and finally a loud grunt. The baby monitor vibrated on my nightstand as she heaved a perturbed cry. I heard a thump and another cry. In the dark, I reach for the monitor and pressed the video button without looking. A blast of white light hit my eyelids and I gently peaked through tiny slits to see her standing in her crib, attached like a barnacle to the railing. Standing, oh heavens why is she standing? A quick glance at the clock tells me that 2:45 am is too early for the baby to be standing.
Without thinking, my body rushes through the “Plan A” motions; robe on, walk down hall, pick up baby, rock baby back to sleep, return baby to crib, return myself to bed. As predicted, she plops her head on my shoulder and immediately settles but not for long. She is awake and will not follow Plan A procedures. Tonight is a “Plan B” night, which includes; nightlight on, diaper change, bottle, rock baby back to sleep, return baby to crib, return myself to bed. I dread Plan B because it never goes accordingly.
She is satiated after the bottle and settles back to a closed eye, cradled position but she is not asleep. Approximately 30 minutes of soothing seems to do the trick and I prepare my unique side-slanted-baby-hold. With a step and rock, step and rock, tactic I move across the room until my gut reaches the baby’s crib. I rise up on my tip-toes, hold my breath, and lean into the crib as far as I can without dumping myself over in order to lay her down as gently as possible. My arm cradling her head inevitability gets stuck under her neck and she twists toward me immediately and whines. She sits up and grabs my sleeves with her hands and holds on for dear life as if to say “NO, Mama, don’t leave me!”. I can’t see in the dark, but I know her knuckles are white from the grip she has on me. I pick her back up and start Plan B procedure again starting with the “rock baby back to sleep” step. “Return baby back to crib” is successful on the third try.
I return myself to bed at 4:15 am which wakes up the cat. The cat bellows an aggressive, “let me outside” meow until I initiate “Plan A” procedures for shushing the cat. Plan A never works and so tonight is a “Plan B” night which begins with robe on.