Sunday, January 1, 2012

Walk, baby. So we can sleep.

The baby, she can almost walk. She can cruise the couches, the train table, the walls and doors of the house. She can stand unsupported, and step forward with one foot. But then ... a careful lowering into a squat ... forward dive aaaaand ... supercrawl! It's faster.

You know what's not faster, though?


Her feet walk sideways through space, legs extended off the side of my lap while I nurse her. Her arm rockets rhythmically through the air: pumping up and down, or shaking side to side, or spinning small circles; it seems beyond her control, almost. There's so much potential energy bound up inside that little body, it's spilling kinetic all over everything she does.

You know what else isn't faster? In fact, it's so much slower. Endlessly longer. Longer than it's ever been, it seems.

The night.

She woke up six times last night. Every time, standing up, still half-sleeping, gripping the crib bars and marching in place while she cries out for relief from this endless obsession her body has with walking. Each time I had to soothe her back to sleep while her fingers and feet continued to pulse energy out into space, like a metronome or a padded fingertip callused by years of drumming the same beat, a sound that will never leave your poor mind be.

Her body is exhausted, and yet it can't. stop. moving.

She slept only an hour today, and took multiple tries to fall asleep at night, hours late, though she was rubbing her heavy-lidded eyes and weepy for so long before finally -mercifully- giving in to slumber.

I've been sleeping in the futon on the floor of her room; navigating the stairs up and down from our attic bedroom is too much six times in a night. I feel weepy and exhausted myself, parenting round the clock for a one-year old who won't ever sleep, and needs to act out her overflow of motor activity at all times. I've been head-butted and hair-pulled, palm taps pick up speed and become slaps on my shoulder, she kneads the top of one breast while nursing from the other, walks up my torso and steps on my face when I hold her standing on my thighs.

Sleep, baby, please, sleep. I beg her as we rock. Click, click, click, the recliner ticks and tocks an endless song, all day and all night. I stare at the corner of her room, where the chocolate brown of the east wall meets the soft pink of the north one. I imagine a contraption, half-hamster-wheel, half-treadmill. She climbs on with a giant grin, two bottom teeth jutting from the gums with irrepressible relish, and suddenly her legs know how to walk, to run, to sprint in place, until the energy is finally spent. I look down and her eyes are still open. They meet mine, both of us requesting relief. Neither of us knows how to give it. Sleep, baby, please, sleep.

I hope she learns to walk soon.


  1. A great number of mother and father like yourself often are fatigued, discouraged,and questioning if their infant will ever rest through the evening.

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  2. Oh dearest...I hope you get some rest soon!