Years ago, long before the thought of having children was anything less than distantly ludicrous to me, a friend told me how much she enjoyed it when her little boy had a low-grade fever. It sounded vaguely cruel to me until she explained why: “Because then he lets me hold him.”
Ahh, the un-cuddle-able child. Now I can identify. Having a baby who doesn’t enjoy being held is one of the most difficult things I’ve had to come to terms with as a new mom. In the first few weeks of C’s little life, I heard complaints from other moms along the lines of, “My arms are going to fall off” or, “If I put the baby down, she cries until I pick her up again.” Hearing this aroused an insane jealousy in me. Maybe it’s my fault, I thought. Maybe Seabass just doesn’t like me. His own mother.
Why would I think such crazy thoughts? Because more often than not, when Seabass cries it’s because he wants desperately to be put down, not picked up. But he doesn’t want to be put down into something motionless. No, no, it has to be moving, always moving, majorly moving, gotta move, let’s move move MOVE OR ELSE I’LL SCREAM AND YELL AND SHRIEK AND MAKE ONLOOKERS THINK IT’S JUST A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES KNOCKS ON YOUR DOOR, LADY.
So, to keep Mr. C happy and moving up until the last moments of consciousness every night, I swaddle him up like a mummy, nurse him, and then place him in a cradle swing made by Fisher-Price called the “Starlight Papasan” (whose name kind of creeps me out, but I’ll leave Fisher-Price to deal with any vernacular confusion on that one). Sure, I’d rather cuddle and rock him to sleep in my arms, but that just ain’t in the cards.
Pre-baby, I’d heard many of the so-called experts preach that swings are evil machines because they lull babies to sleep unnaturally. Well, after unnaturally lulling Seabass to sleep with success for 12 weeks now, all I have to say is bring on the evil machines. (I swear, if we discovered that feeding Dran-o to Seabass was even marginally safe for calming him down, we’d give it some thought.)
Thank goodness that despite his irrational colicky craziness, our precious boy is actually a very good sleeper once he’s down. There have been mornings into afternoons into evenings of constant struggle and pain, but they always end with little C asleep and at peace with the world, at least for three hours at a time. In fact, for the last two nights the little tyke has slept seven and a half hours straight. Glory be! (I can hear the mocking laughter of you parents out there who know this will not last. But please, allow me my moment of vain hope.)
Good question: What happens when the motor can no longer support Seabass’ heft? The manual says the Starlight Papasan can handle anything up to 22 lbs, but it’s already creaking along with a good amount of effort at 15+ lbs. Better question: What happens when Seabass decides he doesn’t like the swing anymore? I literally do not know what I’ll do when and if that happens.
Panic, I guess. And probably cry a lot.