blank screen, blank brain: television and the zen of sleep training

We’ve been sans cable for three days now. Three whole days of television silence, broken only by the occasional DVD of Aladdin or Chicken Little, and can I just say I would not be sad if I never had to watch either of those movies again, ever? I may leave them down where the baby can get them by “accident” just so the option’s closed. Guh.

I think I miss the cable more than the baby does. He seems mildly put out that I haven’t offered to put on Jack’s Big Music Show lately, but other than that he doesn’t seem to even notice that there’s nothing on the TV screen. Mama, on the other hand? Feels like a crack addict. I haven’t had my Scrubs fix in days, and yes, I am aware that Zach Braff does the voice of Chicken Little, and no, that does not make it better. (Though I did keep expecting Chicken Little to yell “Banana hammock!” at several points during the movie.)

The lack of television coupled with the sleep training thing is all blessing and curse, and I will tell you why. First, it is good, because much of the reason the baby was staying up so late was because it was so easy for mama to hang out with him while she watched Adult Swim and crocheted. Now there is nothing to distract the baby from sleeping or the mama from letting him. Then, it is bad, because there is nothing to distract the mama from the myriad worries flitting in and out of her head like a swarm of moths. Related note: I have a moth phobia. Also spiders, but that’s neither here nor there. Again, the not having TV thing is good because I am not parking said kidlet in front of it during the day while I work or do school. Likewise, it is a nightmare because I get NOTHING done, oh my god, the nothing I get done is STAGGERING in its nothingness, especially on days like today when I have a deadline and an article I have to write and a child who is just bored and does not want to play quietly while mama compiles data.

But, yes. It evens out. << I typed that, and then the baby began to wail. He’d been asleep for all of 30 minutes, and I have spent the last hour upstairs with him while he alternately screamed inconsolably and clung to me like a barnacle while refusing to fall back asleep. I sang. I told stories. I rocked. I nursed. But the baby is so freaked out by the idea of sleeping alone that he will literally startle himself awake every time he drifts off, just so I won’t leave. It’s heartbreakingly sweet and desperately frustrating all at the same time.

I know what you’re saying. You’re saying what a horrible mother, and then you’re holding that thought because baby, awake. Again.

Okay. Where was I? Oh yes: What a horrible mother. Why make the poor child sleep alone? Why not just go to bed when he does? And I have no good reason, except that I don’t want to go to bed at 9pm every night, and also? I like being able to finish a thought every once in a while. I like being able to get stuff done. I like not having to divide my attention. Because did I mention the nothing I got done earlier?

The other half of you are probably saying Well why isn’t your husband helping? and the answer to that is that he is, just not tonight. We’ve been tag-teaming the bedtime routine, which is great (if somewhat less of a break for me than originally planned) but tonight I’m solo and he’s out gaming. The theory, I guess, is that Happy Fun Baby will not notice the lack of Dada as long as the schedule’s the same. Which is a lovely theory.

I have other theories. Many of them involve Tahiti, and the running away thereto. I hear it’s nice this time of year. Also? I bet they have cable.

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One thought on “blank screen, blank brain: television and the zen of sleep training”

  1. Ha, my little guy is still like that, not what you want to hear, but eventually they fall asleep on the floor ;). Also, I’ve now mastered the art of working on the laptop with the wireless mouse on a pillow while my little guy sleeps on my chest. Now that is mommyhood ;).


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