Sunday, June 5, 2011
To Sleep or Not To Sleep
We had to go a lot of places when he first came home from the hospital. Four times a week back to the pediatrician to monitor his weight gain and recovery from recent hernia surgery; a cardiac surgeon; an ophthalmologist; other specialists. And they were all very far from my house, like near the hospital where Bar Mitzvahzilla had been born. Could he have fallen asleep one time?
Instead I'd be driving along the interminable mountain passes of Phoenix on a thirty-minute ride downtown with a squalling by then four-pound baby sunk into a rear-facing car seat facing away from me in my car. Do you know how this drove me nuts? Can you imagine how many times I had to stop to make sure he wasn't strangling on something in the sunken tunnel of his car seat? Because he couldn't really fill the thing up.
Now Bar Mitzvahzilla is nearly sixteen. A big clunk, really, and thank goodness for it considering his beginning. I pick him up at school and he is irritable. Everyday. I guess he doesn't remember those heartbreaking scenes from next to his incubator. Finally, we descend into silence after he realizes that, whether he likes it or not, one particular day I'm bringing him to our store to work. Then it gets too quiet. He's sleeping.
A kid who could never even close his eyes as a tiny newborn now finds that the motion of the car lulls him tranquilly to sleep, in bright daylight and at nearly sixteen-years-old.
I shake my head at the contradictions of parenthood, happy for the silence from my teenager, wondering if every time he fights with me I could just somehow trick him into the car and make him falls asleep. Then I drive on, towards our store.
Did you have a kid who fell asleep in cars or stayed alarmingly awake? Any annoying sleep tales of teenagers?
Author of Looking Up: A Memoir of Sisters, Survivors and Skokie
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