Like in all marriages, Sean and I have different roles. We each have some things we do very well and some things not so much, but between the two of us, we pretty much have all the bases covered. We do tend to fall into traditional male/female roles. For example, Sean takes care of the finances and the cars, scoops the litter box, and takes out the garbage. I cook, clean the house, and feed the pets. Where the girls are concerned, I’m the disciplinarian. Sean is the fun one.
When we have a baby, I am the milk lady and Sean is the sleep bringer. We fell into these roles with Samantha, repeated them with Ella, and are now experiencing them with Penny. When they are tiny babies, the milk lady has the power of sleep as well. I nurse, baby falls asleep, no problem. At about 6 months old, however, they stop falling asleep nursing. That’s where Sean comes in. He puts the baby in the Bjorn and in 15 minutes, she’s asleep.
They won’t sleep for me at this point in their lives. They see me and all they can think about is milk. They’re full, but as soon as I pick them up, they start trying to nurse. I always offer, thinking maybe they’re still hungry, and am usually bit, which quickly stops the feeding attempt. I then pass the baby on to Sean who puts her to sleep in record time. It works for us. Although it’s sad that my baby no longer falls asleep contentedly nursing, it’s a natural progression for them to learn to go to sleep on their own without a boob in their mouth. Definitely a necessary development as I really don’t want a teenager needing the boob to go to sleep.
Most of the time, this works out just fine. But on nights, like last night, when Sean isn’t home at bedtime, things do not go well. We went to my mother-in-law’s house for Father’s Day dinner tonight. We have discovered if we stay until 8 o’clock bedtime, bathe the girls and get them in their jammies at mom-in-law’s house, then pop them in the car, they all fall asleep on the way home. All we have to do is get them out of the car and lay them in their beds. We magically have bedtime with no fighting.
We did the same last night and all three were asleep in their beds. Penny started crying a little, but I thought she’d go back to sleep pretty easily, so Sean headed out to the grocery store to pick up a few things. I don’t know why I never learn.
As soon as I entered her room to quiet her, her crying caused my milk to let down. I was already in my pajamas. I have to wear a nursing bra with nursing pads overnight because otherwise I leak and wake up soaking wet. Tonight, however, my one night time nursing bra was in the wash. (I used to have two, but one got too stretched out after 2 kids so I threw it. I figure I don’t have too much longer nursing since I wean right after a year, so it’s really not worth it to buy a new one.)
So, there I am, in my pajamas sans bra when my milk lets down leaving me in a wet shirt. Crap. I really hate that. I pick up the baby, who smells the milk and immediately throws herself sideways and starts rooting around. Sigh. I know she’s not hungry since she just ate 45 minutes earlier, but stupidly, I give it a try. She bites me.
Now, I have a wet shirt and a wet, crying baby since I got milk on her too. I try putting her in her bouncy seat. Sometimes the vibrations work. No luck. So I pick her up and start walking and bouncing. She keeps crying and trying to root around. You guessed it, I try to feed her again. Surprise, she bites me, again.
More walking and bouncing and shushing and singing. More rooting around and screaming (I did not try to feed her again). Finally, after 45 minutes, she fell asleep. My arms hurt and my back was sore from bouncing my 18 pound baby around for that long. I have bite marks where there shouldn’t be bite marks. And, my shirt is wet and cold.
I have decided the sleep bringer is no longer allowed to go anywhere until all the girls have been asleep in their own beds for at least 30 minutes. Unfortunately, last night that would have meant he wouldn’t have made it to the grocery store before it closed. He wouldn’t have been able to perform one of his most important roles: chocolate ice cream bringer.