Becoming a parent has made me keenly aware, for the first time in my life, that I am an animal. I have mentioned before that my love for The Olive feels like more than love; it feels like the greatest love plus a biological need to protect and nurture, plus a total sweeping away of my heart from the tremendous cuteness of a naked, chubby baby whose cheeks I want to suck all day long.
But beyond that, I also feel like an animal when I am leaning over the baby to do something and she grabs my swinging nipple in her mouth and it suddenly becomes clear: I am a cow, and these are my udders.
So when she cries at night and doesn't want to fall asleep, I feel the need to go to her. I am Mama and my young is sad. I must care for young. And then go shake out my loincloths or something. I am not philosophically opposed to crying it out, for other people's children. But for my own? It just feels wrong. I don't mean to imply that sleeping for two-hour increments feels "right" or anything, but I think I choose to sleep in two-hour increments rather than listen to my baby cry. The sound cuts me to the very core of my being and I feel like I might turn into liquid and melt, like The Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz.
Also? I don't think it's quite fair to expect that I should be able to set the baby down and have her drift into a lovely dreamy place when it takes me a Benadryl and an hour of reading to fall asleep, on a good night. Maybe we could blame my mom for that, though, since she never let me cry it out.
I actually think she may be periodically sleeping in longer increments now, although my entire nights are so blurry that I can't really keep track. All I know is that today I feel fairly well-rested, and that is enough to keep me going for now.