Redefining sleep-training

I have a confession to make.

Last night when my husband was asleep, I put my crying newborn within millimeters of his face, just to see how he would respond.

The response?  Nothing.  Not even a flutter of an eyelid.

Isn’t that amazing?

I don’t consider myself a light sleeper.  I used to think I was pretty average when it came to being woken up by unusual noises in the middle of the night.  However, when I became a mother, it’s as if some “super-hearing” gene got switched on.  Nowadays, my ears are trained to detect the  smallest of whimpers, the slightest cough or snort, the high-pitched giggle of preschoolers resisting their naps, the scamper of little toddler feet sneaking out of bed.

Meanwhile, my husband sleeps soundly.  Peacefully unaware.

I used to get so mad.  During that dreadful stage when we were training our 6 month old to sleep through the night, I remember waking up one bleary morning wishing that I could hook up coffee intravenously, and my husband cheerfully beaming at me, “Good morning!  That was a pretty awesome night of sleep, huh?  C didn’t wake up at all!  I think the sleep-training is finally working!!!”  while I shot daggers at him with my blood-shot sleep-deprived eyes.

I used to think he was pretending not to hear it.  Because how could he immediately respond to the barely audible vibrating buzz of his pager and not possibly hear A SCREAMING BABY?   There were nights when I accidentally tripped on his cell phone or knocked over his glasses from the nightstand on my way to get the screaming baby and he would suddenly sit straight up in the bed, yell out,  “Be careful, don’t step on my glasses!”  and then immediately fall back into deep sleep.

So last night, when I came out of the bathroom to find my husband softly snoring on our bed while our newborn was red-faced howling in the crib.  I picked up baby J, climbed into bed and inched closer and closer to my husband.   As both the volume of the baby and the proximity to my dear husband increased, I started to feel a little bit guilty, thinking about how mean I was being, trying to purposely wake up my husband. I got to the point where if I had gotten any closer, the baby probably would’ve started suckling my husband’s nose.  And yet my husband remained completely blissfully asleep, softly snoring.

Then, I finally realized, that Yes, his sleep-training has indeed been very successful.


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