Sunday, August 8, 2010

the sidewinder sleeps tonight...

Here is a little known fact about newlyborns.  Shortly after their Apgar test, they are whisked away to an Intensive Training Course.  This course teaches them, in an accelerated learning style, to use up as much bed space as is infantly possible.  The class top achiever is the infant who has been able to “train” their parents to sleep on a section of bed not wider than a gymnasts balancing beam.  The infant that manages to hoof a parent completely off the bed, will graduate maxima cum laude.

There are quite a few tactics that they’re taught.  The fist one, which I’m sure was the inspiration behind the song “the sidewinder sleeps tonight”, is where the infant wriggles, and squirms so much that it is impossible for any co-bedders (note, I did NOT use the word co-sleepers…) to get any sleep at all.  And if they do get some shuteye, it is just that.  No REM, No deep restorative sleep.  Just 40 winks la la Churchill style.  BTW: the person who wrote “the sidewinder sleeps tonight” did not actually stick to the theme, if you read the lyrics.  They went totally off track, probably because they were so tired, having shared their bed with an infant or small child the night before.

The other tactic is called “Rugby-Posting” (if you have two parents in bed), or “T-Baring” (if there is only one parent left).  Here, the infant it taught to lie parallel to the headboard, stretch back with their head till it hits one parent in the stomach and kick their legs out sharply, until it connects with the other parents sternum.  They have to continue doing that all night regardless of the parents moving further and further away from the head and/or foot end.  Many parents have tried to thwart this strategy by maneuvering themselves to sleep parallel to the infant again, but this has proven unsuccessful as they invariably set off the infant’s sleep-to-move alarm and then they end up having to reposition themselves all over again into the H or T bar position. They also end up with no blanket.

Probably the most effective tactic is one called the “Rotating Starfish”.  Here, they are taught to first kick off all bedding, then find their way to the middle of the bed, where they will spread out like a star fish and rotate round and round pretty much all night. This is highly effective because it means that the parent has to continually adjust their position.  Once is never enough.  Don’t underestimate newborns and infants. They are born with their game-face on.

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