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Babies and G Strings: An Inquiry

February 16, 2010

Sleeping habits are like drug habits. You don’t think much about it until the supply runs dry and you’re left trying to appropriate anything, no matter how small or at what time during the day.

Our sleeping habits are obviously focused around the little one. We’re yet to impose our schedule, but rather adapt to her needs – for the time being. Alika feeds once every few hours, then gives us a respite for one or two hours, if lucky.

This pattern continues day and night and we are at her beck and call. It is what Oprah calls “self-empowerment”. All normal.

Sleep and I have never been close, even during university when it was de rigour. Sure, some nights we had our intimate moments together, but generally when sleep came beckoning, I wasn’t ready for its entrapment. When I really needed its warm comfort and embrace, sleep became aloof and distant. Even when we found a mutual encampment that worked for both of us, sleep would sneak out at first light like a besmirched lover, leaving me wide awake.

What is interesting is that with the disrupted night, you remember your REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, which is generally forgotten by the morning if you have the luxury of a continuous slumber. This is actually more disturbing than enlightening. I still want to know why during one session of REM I was showing Tom Cruise around our flat while I was naked from the waist down.

Also of interest is how lack of sleep affects day-to-day chores. I have stood in the middle of a supermarket wondering why I was; dropped shopping baskets for no apparent reason; walking aimlessly around the flat trying to remember where I last saw myself; and even looking blankly at a shop assistant when she asked me the date of birth of my recently born daughter.

My wife even noticed this change, cautioning me to be careful on the bike to the shops, worried I may get run over and she becomes a single mother – the wimp. Though I do know friends who do all this too without the excuse of a baby.

My wife has taken a greater beating in the lack of sleep, and has faced it stronger and in a more stoic manner than myself. Alika and I are both very proud of what she is doing, though Alika tends to show it less.

Interestingly, with all the extra hours awake, the day actually seems to pass faster compared to the pre-child days.

Babies cry for profuse reasons:

1)   They’re tired

2)   They’re dirty

3)   They’re hungry

4)   They’ve realised who their parents are or some other ontological inquiry

5)   All of the reasons above at the same time.

Each requires its own intervention, such as changing her, feeding her, calling the adoption agency or leaving her outside.

Parents discover their own tactics for helping a baby sleep (which surprisingly does not come easily no matter how tired). A friend mentioned to me once that her child would only calm down in the bathroom when the taps where flowing at a particular rate.

We found Alkia enjoys, nay relishes, classical music, particularly airs on open G strings, such as from Bach’s Orchestral Suites BWV 1066 – 1069, or Adagio in G Minor by Albinoni/Giazotto. The former piece best touches Alika when interpreted by Sarah Chang. Julian Lloyd Webber’s version she feels is too “wahh blaa agghie huh gittt eeee.” Generally the pieces should be simple with long held notes. Multiple canons or fugues in a complex overlay are frowned upon.

She’s not a complete musical snob. AC/DC’s “It’s a Long way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll) cuts it for her, albeit only when performed by The Wiggles, which can be found on YouTube here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suOvS0oJTrU

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. ella permalink
    February 16, 2010 5:03 pm

    hahahaha totally hilarious.

    although when I saw the title I did think it was about G strings, the underwear kind !

  2. federay permalink
    February 17, 2010 7:42 am

    Exactly – I thought “… whose? Mum’s? or is alika out of nappies already?”

    Forget sleep. It’s now an indulgence… like facials, pedicures and er… getting dressed properly before leaving the house. (That was not a dream, bytheway.)

  3. mandy permalink
    February 18, 2010 8:19 am

    …brilliant. I used to say I could be the best mother in the world if I got some sleep. I didn’t ever get enough sleep. And so there lie my parenting skills.

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