My six month-old is not sleeping well. You’d think that a five-time father would be an old pro at handling such exhaustion. I’m not.
This Good-Bad Dad struggles with proper decision-making at 2 P.M., so thinking straight in the middle of the night is not happening. I’m hoping others can learn from my nightly missteps.
In this week’s “Dad Duds”, I provide the playbook for what NOT to do or say when the baby is having a 2 A.M. meltdown.
All of these are, unfortunately, based on recent, real-life events:
10. “I think we need to start letting her cry-it-out.” Initiating a debate about the merits of a new baby-sleeping approach isn’t wise when your ears are ringing and the room is pitch black. No Dr. Oz-based data will be heard at such an hour.
9. Just say “No” to ignorance. There is no chance of not hearing the the crib-side shrieks, so skip the inclination to ask, “Is that the baby?”
8. Leave the other kids out of it. “I should go make sure the other kids are sleeping through this” is a poor and obvious attempt to “accidentally” find new shelter on the floor of your daughter’s room. Even though the rock-hard quiet seems like a better option, it will not be the next day.
7. “That 8 A.M. meeting is going to come early for me.” Claiming to have more important things to accomplish the next day which require more sleep than your spouse is a bad rookie mistake.
6. Creating throw-pillow earmuffs to drown out the noise. Very simply: never, ever use the throw-pillows. They, like the hanging towels in the guest bathroom, are for decoration only.
5. “I think the baby has gas. Did you eat anything strange today?” Linking the baby screams to something your breast-feeding spouse could control will be understood as middle-of-the-night finger pointing – never good.
4. Resist the urge to undo the swaddle. An upset infant’s arms act as a wind turbine after being un-swaddled after midnight. No wind-catcher I’ve ever seen is at rest for long.
3. Don’t be a pacifier-misplacer. The binky is your friend – maybe your best friend in the middle of the night. Failing to locate the baby’s plug right way with no back-up is poor execution. Keep a back-up handy and always check in the baby’s slimy neck-folds or near the now-kicking hips for lost items.
2. Think twice before using an adjacent bathroom. If you decide to go, go far away – turning on a nearby bathroom light or daring to pee standing up will be met with a very upset partner. Using the toilet near the nursery equals peeing sitting down, in the dark and not flushing – no exceptions.
1. “Honey, since we’re up anyway…you wanna make love?” If you go there, grab the throw-pillows as a shield and revert to Dad Dud #6 for unjust use of throw-pillow implications.
I hope you sleep well tonight.
While you snooze, rest assured that I’m adding to this list – or possibly trying out #1 one last time.