What Happened to My Budha Baby?


Sebastian is seven and a half months old, but has entered a new phase, which is a total regression. He sleeps like a newborn—nursing every three hours. Victoria’s been bringing him to the bed, if he sleeps in his crib at all, and sleeping with a giant, 21 pound baby who thrashes all night, is not cozy like one might imagine. We’re exhausted.

I’m starting to think he’s taking advantage of us. I would have scoffed at this idea a month ago, as if a baby can be conniving. But this baby seems to know what he wants and knows how to get it.

Yesterday Tashi and I were reading a book and Sebastian grabbed it. Tashi said, “No Sebastian, that’s mine,” and pulled it away. Sebastian cried like he’d been dropped on his head.

Tashi then said, “I’ll give you this book when you turn two, but if you rip it, you can’t have it.”

I thought that was so sweet, but it did nothing to pacify Sebastian.

What happened to my budha baby?

Last night, Pipa and Elsa came to dinner and we made the mistake of complaining about being tired and telling them how Sebastian’s been sleeping with us. Elsa told us about a show she watched where all the pediatric experts of the world have proven that letting your baby cry himself to sleep will make him a confident and self-sufficient. “Sleeping with your baby,” Elsa said, “makes him dependent forever.”

Two days before Victoria brought me an article she printed from the Internet reporting how all the leading pediatric experts had proven that sleeping with your baby creates life-long confidence and self-sufficiency.

I tell Elsa that there’s evidence on both sides.

My dad says, “Let him cry.”

I say, “How long do you think you could let him cry?”

“I could outlast him, I’m sure I could,” he says, like he’s so tough, and I realize my dad is the absolute perfect person to sleep through a baby crying.

“Well, you’re not normal,” I say.

But last night I was hardened, having nothing to do with what Elsa told us. I know the theories, I just haven’t wanted to let my baby cry without going to him. And Victoria is the same way. Last night though, we needed a break. And Sebastian was on my last nerve.

“Let’s let him cry,” I said. “I think we’ll be better parents if we sleep.”

“Okay.”

I put him in his crib. He was on his hands and knees squawking. He looked at me with love in his eyes and smiled that funny smile of his where his cheeks look like marshmallows and his lips turn into a squiggly line and his chin pokes out. But I did’t fall for it. I said, “Goodnight sweety,” and patted his butt.

I got into bed with Victoria and turned off the light. Sebastian started to cry.

“How long do you think we can last?”

“Ten minutes?” Victoria said.

“Ten minutes?! I’m thinking forty-five.”

After ten minutes Victoria went in to tell Sebastian that she is there. That he is safe and that he should go to sleep now. This is what one of the theories suggests—reassure the screaming child.
His cries got louder and more desperate.

“At least he feels reassured,” I said.

We listened for fifteen more minutes. “Should I reassure this time?” I said.

“No way, that backfired,” Victoria said.

Victoria suggested we make love. 
“Music’s too distracting,” I said.

Victoria started to pray. I caught a few words, “Maria…mujer…Jesus…”

We lay next to each other without talking for who knows how long until the cries diminished. Then built up again. Then diminished. Then stopped.

“Goodnight sweet darling,” I said.

“We did it.”

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