We all know that becoming a parent changes you in many ways. However, one thing they don’t tell you during the parenthood preparation course is that becoming a parent triggers an innate ability to go full on Navy SEAL at any given moment. Like animals who evolve and adapt to avoid being captured by predators, parents evolve and adapt too.
Only instead of avoiding capture, we learn to avoid detection.
Getting a baby to fall asleep is not always easy. It sometimes involves a lot of effort on your part…be it rocking or cuddling…soothing or shushing. Sometimes all you need to do is stand, statue-like, by their cot, avoiding eye contact and hoping they’ll just get so bored of you that sleep would be a more entertaining option.
Although it doesn’t sound like it, this whole process can be exhausting. However, the scariest bit is when you realise that getting them to sleep is the easy part…compared to escaping.
Your elation after having won bed/nap-time is overrun by the sheer panic that settles in when you realise you are actually trapped. Trapped beneath your sleeping baby, or trapped in the same room as her.
Why is this scary? Well, as luck might have it, babies have the magical ability of going from very asleep to very awake within seconds. All it takes is the creak of one floorboard, and you’re back at square one; with a wide-eyed babe staring at you, whilst the chance of you getting any rest moves further away from you.
You hold your breath and scan the room. You briefly mull over what approach you’ll take. If she’s on you, you might try the hug and roll. Or the swift soft-toy stand in to replace your arms. If she’s in her cot beside you, you might try the tip-toe. Or the carpet-crawl. Or the bum-shuffle if you’re feeling daring. Whichever you choose, you put all your energy into it and pray to God that you don’t drop the TV remote off the sofa or hit an electronic toy on your way out.
As a parent, there will be (many) times in your life where you are faced with the challenge of soothing your child to sleep. During the early months most babies frequently need this kind of assistance. As they grow, they’ll need it less…but there’s always something that can bring you right back to the rocking/holding/soothing stage, be it sickness, night terrors, teething…the list goes on and on.
Yes, the time you spend soothing your child is beautiful in its own right, your little one needs the comfort that only you can provide. But we have already discussed the importance of rest in a parent’s life, so you are not a bad mum or dad for not wanting to stay pinned under your child or sat by their bedside forever.
You’re not a bad parent. You’re a cool one. Because you’re also a ninja now.