Bedtime

Putting the kids to bed has always been a sticky situation for our family.  There’s a wonderful book entitled, Go the Fuck to Sleep, which aptly portrays the rage and dismay I feel sometimes in the dark bedrooms of my children waiting for them to drift off to dreamland.  Our oldest son has always had a devil of a time trying to get to sleep.  When he was a young one the only sure way for him to go to sleep was to plop him in the car.  Then I noticed the stroller often put him to sleep as well, so not wanting to waste gas money and lose my parking spot (we lived in NYC at the time)  I used to take him on walks in the stroller and wait for him to go to sleep.  Mostly I’d walk to a large armory as big as a city block near where we used to live on Kingsbridge Road in the Bronx.  Usually one spin around that building and Aurelio was out.  Occasionally he made it twice around the building and once he made it three times around.  Sounds like a piece of cake, right, just take him outside on a walk?  Well, sometimes it was too late to go out and walk around the Bronx and many times it was much too cold for me to go out there, so instead I brought the stroller inside and used to walk him around the apartment.  At the beginning of these walks I would weave my way around the apartment, in between the kitchen chair, circling the couch.  But this proved too stimulating and Aurelio would still be wide-awake, on the lookout for his scattered toys or mommy working at her desk.  Soon I figured out that I better narrow down our route down to one hallway, and I just went back and forth.  This was effective in that he did not scream or cry or yell about going to bed if he was in the stroller.  I would pace up and down the hallway in our apartment.  Sometimes I paced so much that I got dizzy.  I used to sing too while I was pacing, mostly Old McDonald had a farm.   Sometimes I would be pacing there for up to an hour.  I got tired of singing about the same old animals over and over so I had to make up new stuff and Old Macdonald had the most eclectic farm ever known to man, including dolphins, hawks and jellyfish.  Once Aurelio was asleep I just rolled the stroller into his bedroom and closed his door.   He would wake up later during the night but he was too tired and dazed to complain about being set down in a proper bed.  Of course, one of us would have to lay with him in the bed while he went to sleep but this usually didn’t take more than a couple minutes.  Sometimes this was just long enough for one of us parents to fall asleep too, and many times I found my wife rather incredibly curled up in the crib beside my son!  How did she fit?  Of course many times Aurelio would wake up and make it over to our bed as well if we didn’t want to deal with him in the night, but mostly Patricia would go over to his room, breastfeed him and go to sleep beside him.  She was a real angel that way, I would have never managed to wake up and not scream at somebody in those early days because Aurelio was waking up three or four times a night.  Luckily it was never hard to put him back to sleep as much as it was when you first put him to bed.  Even today when he’s 8 years old he has a lot of trouble getting to sleep, but I’m too tired to write about that now…  until next time…

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