Monday, July 28, 2008


Readers, I sit before you with a black cat on my lap, calmly typing away on my laptop, while inside our bedroom a baby sleeps.

We may have cracked the code. Of course I know writing about it in this way guarantees it will be thrown back in our faces, but for tonight, or at least for now, I am a happy man.

We bought Stella yet another swaddler, and that made all the difference.

It's all too coincidental. Stella outgrew her last swaddler right after her first round of shots. We bought her a new one, and it was and is too big. She wriggles out of it like a damned Houdini, no matter how we try to bind her. She cries, as a result, ALL THE TIME.

I can rock her, I can sing to her, I can talk to her in a low voice, none of it matters. She wriggles free, one arm held high like Queen Elizabeth, the other bound, loosely to her side, in a sort of oddly Roman fashion. Repeat ad nauseum.

Today, though, we changed the game on her ass.

Randi bought yet another swaddler, this one for $30. Yes, folks, we have now spent over $75 on swaddlers, but this one might be our last one. It wraps the baby so snuggly, over and over, that she can't escape. It's the perfect baby straight jacket.

So entombed she wriggles less in her sleep, so she sleeps more deeply. When she does cry and wake herself up I was able to rock her back to sleep in just a matter of minutes as compared with hours. It is what it should be, she is happier, her eyes droopier, and this poor, exhausted child might finally get some sleep. I just realized with that last sentence I could also be describing Randi, too. God willing, she too will finally get some rest. I don't even think when they tried to smoke out Manuel Noriega he went this long without rest.

I keep my fingers crossed, but tonight I sit in stately BBD Manor a happy man. May it last at least another three-to-five hours.


Rosewood said...

Yay! There is a light at the end of the tunnel. I'm so happy for the three of you.

David Serchuk said...

Thanks Rosewood. I think we've discovered that Stella is a "high-needs" baby, with all that entails. Very alert, very aware, and with a very, very active mind. As a result she has a hard time transitioning to sleep, just in case my last three posts didn't alert you to this!


alexlady said...

i'M SO GLAD to hear that!!! wow. there are so many little secrets to having a happy baby!!!

booklaw said...

My then-pregnant wife and I moved to the Slope in 1976 so that we would have a second bedroom in which to put our expected newborn. My wife was a children's librarian, and I worked in a book publishing house.

We did not experience sleep deprivation issues like yours until the birth of our second baby, three and one-half years after our first was born.

The second baby was incredibly social, and would not sleep more than 20 minutes at a time. Once we picked her up, she was happy as a clam, but if we tried to ignore her cries, she would work herself into a screaming fit that simply would not stop.

Since we had only the one bedroom for both of our daughters, we could not let the baby scream herself to sleep. Her older sister would wake up, and she would be very, very cranky.

That situation persisted until the second baby was one year old. (We were zombies for the entire year.) On her first birthday, we left the two-bedroom apartment and moved into our own brownstone. We immediately stashed the baby in a room by herself, closed the door, and let her scream. She fell asleep after about half an hour, slept through the entire night, and we were then able to sleep ourselves and to enjoy the rest of our lives.

Annie K. Nodes said...

Fingers crossed for you guys!

We also slept in the same room as Walt until recently. A white noise machine helped drown us out when we were in there. And Walt found the static noise soothing. He's outgrown it, so if you want it, just email me. (

It's a fancy Brookstone number that also plays lullabies, a car engine and "in the womb" which sounds like the Blob coming to eat you.

David Serchuk said...

Hi Booklaw, first I wanted to thank you for reading this blog. We have often wondered why our child is so supersensitive, and can't sleep through the night. But then we see, as you saw, that it's not all that uncommon to have the problems we have.

Currently we all share a bedroom. Mainly because we have a one bedroom apartment. When we have more space ("if" we have more space?) we look forward to letting the little one get her own room. I am not sure about the crying it out issue, though. I know that the BBM is very much against it. But I am glad it worked so well for you. And at the very least it's good to hear stories about the successes people have had with cry-prone kids. It gives us hope!

Also, Anne, thanks so much for the generous offer of your white noise machine! Right now we have the famed Sleep Sheep, which makes a heartbeat sound, the ocean, rain and copulating humbacked whales. Stella doesn't settle down when we put it on, but she does start to cry like crazy when it automatically shuts off, which it does at 45 minute intervals.

Also, I would like to thank both of you for your helpful suggestions. It must get old reading about our ongoing sleep issues. But as Neil Hamburger likes to say, "That's my life!"


Annie K. Nodes said...

Hey Dave-

The White Noise thingy we have can either play in intervals (30, 60 or 90 minutes) OR you can set it to play indefinitely.

The offer is open, so if you change your mind, let me know. It's just sitting in a closet now.


booklaw said...

David, there will be times when you simply don't know why you chose to have a kid, or whether you can stand another minute of parental responsibility.

Have faith that having that child is the smartest and best decision you've ever made. Although being a parent exposes you to fear and worry and potential heartbreak, it also brings warmth and love and astonishment that will turn a black-and-white life into Technicolor. As your child grows older, she will become your favorite entertainment in the entire world, and, with your wife, your very favorite companion (except maybe during her teens!).

My only regret about my kids is that my older daughter has created a fine career for herself in Washington, DC, so we don't see her as frequently as we would like. My younger lives and works in Manhattan, so we often have dinner together. In a few weeks she is having a barbecue for a bunch of her friends at our house, and I will be the short order cook.

I ski with my kids, and scuba with the older. We all occasionally go on vacations together.

Success in life is when your grown kids still enjoy your company enough to share their time with you!

Enjoy the journey... it will prove richly rewarding.


David Serchuk said...

Hi Anne,
Thank you for the offer, again. I will ask Randi what she thinks. But that is so very generous of you, and I am grateful.

Thank you for your beautiful comment in praise of raising a great family. It sounds like you and your wife did it right, and I hope we can have the success and happiness you have had.

I am lucky in that I love spending time with my Mom, even now, and we all had a great time together last weekend. I can't wait to take Stella places, and spend time with her in as many different places as we can. (Not that we don't love Brooklyn!)