We bought our baby an expensive, high tech robot bed. Whenever Carson is fussy, his bed is programmed to soothe him by rocking him and playing white noise to simulate his time in the womb. I purchased it from a friend who called it a miracle bed, saying it saved her marriage and sanity. It’s supposed to quiet a crying baby within a minute, and it got rave reviews online, with everyone claiming it stretched their sleeping hours longer and longer. Andy and I were so excited. Finally, at baby three, we’d be the most well rested parents on the planet.
Carson hates his robot bed. He spends his one minute in the bed screaming, and then the app on our phones tells us, “Carson needs your care.” Stupid lazy robot bed. I hold him all day, and it gives up after a minute. Incidentally, the swing also sits unused in the corner of our room. All of our expensive baby soothing devices are just extra things for me to dust every week.
Poor Andy, who believes in the robot revolution, and now the robots have let him down. But maybe it’s not the bed’s fault. Carson likes to be held, all the time, day and night. We keep trying to set him down, but the moment his little baby back hits the bed, he startles and starts to scream, even if he’s in a deep, eyelid fluttering, dream filled sleep. Sometimes I try to put him on his play mat. So fun! Baby play time! But Carson calls it his orphan mat. No playing happens there. Ever.
You can imagine how fun our car rides are. “How long can he do that for?” Colin asked one day when we were trapped in the car and Carson had been at max volume for the last fifteen minutes. “It sounds like it hurts his throat.”
Funny Colin should ask. I ran that experiment with him (not by choice). It turns out their little baby throats are surprisingly resilient.
We shouldn’t be surprised that we can’t put little Carson down. Our daughter Annabelle was the same way, screaming the minute her little body left our arms. I can’t help but see this as a compliment. I must have a particularly warm and comforting womb, if no baby can adjust to life outside of it.
Unfortunately, Annabelle and I had thrush, so I sometimes had to set her down to pump. Annabelle, talented thing that she was, could amp up to full volume in just under five minutes. I know because there was a timer on my pump. FYI, it takes longer than five minutes to pump milk.
And those baby cries. There’s just no getting used to them. Annabelle’s crying weapon was the red faced, silent cry. We knew that when the silent cry came, the next one would not be silent, and, oh, would we be sorry.
Colin had colic, which meant he cried for hours in the middle of the night. Andy was so patient with him, rocking him to sleep for thirty minutes, then trying to set him down gently—so, so gently—while I prayed to every deity I could think of, “Please, please let this baby stop screaming.” But, then, no. The screams would echo around the room again, and Andy, with his endless well of patience, would start rocking him again.
I was not like Andy. After about ten minutes of the wailing, I cracked like an iPhone meeting the cement. Note to my friends and family: If ever I become an international spy and am captured and tortured with baby cries, I will sell out all of you. Probably in under five minutes. Why drag it out when I already know how it will end?
Meanwhile, Annabelle, buckled right next to her screaming baby brother, can—get this—fall asleep. I am beside myself with admiration and envy. She makes me believe in unicorns.
Despite his vocal chords of steel, I am lucky with Carson—because there is no thrush and no colic, just a baby who wants to be held. Carson is my last baby, so I enjoy the cuddles and watching him sleep. The third time ‘round is definitely the easiest because I’ve learned that everything ends. I can relax, knowing that in six months I’ll get to do all those little things I can’t do now—like eating, sleeping, and using the restroom. Until then, I’ll enjoy my baby, snuggling him with one hand and listing his bed on eBay with the other.