Fatherhood Adventures

As is the case with adults, some babies sleep on their backs, some on their stomachs and some on their sides. Beckett is now doing it all, and it’s freaking me out.

Up until the last couple weeks, our little boy has always been a back sleeper with his favorite position being the one with his arms curled up around his head, his legs spread wide apart and his mouth slightly agape. It’s a sight to behold and there’s something about the purity and innocence that touches my heart whenever I find him in his crib in this position. It confirms for me all is well in his world, which essentially revolves around eating, sleeping, jumping, screaming, giggling and playing. I’m jealous.

Unfortunately, what’s putting the fear of you know what in me these days is the fact he is tossing and turning in his sleep and seems to prefer his stomach to his back. He does not seem to have much interest in sleeping on his side. It’s either the back or the stomach for our son, and we are still trying to overcome the anxiety associated with the facedown sleeping, which has become the norm.

The problem here is we have read too much, specifically about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the rate of which can be severely diminished by having your child sleep on his or her back. Additionally, we have come across too many horror stories about babies suffocating in their cribs because they were placed on their stomach and were not strong enough to roll over on their own.

Consequently, my wife and I have been over-educated and become a tad neurotic. I fully admit I have a tendency to be compulsive when it comes to certain things, but my wife has me beaten on the obsessive front, particularly when it comes to our child. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this, it’s just a sign of overwhelming love and a natural instinct of wanting to protect. That’s a good thing, so long as one of us maintains a grip on reality and keeps some sanity in the house.

It’s for this reason the baby video monitor stays on my side of the bed at night. After a few nights of letting my wife keep it on her side, we soon realized that would not work. She was unable to refrain from staring at the monitor incessantly, listening for the reassurance of breathing sounds and watching to ensure his chest was moving up and down. Therefore, we keep the monitor on my side of the bed.

What’s happening these days is Beckett has transitioned into an active sleeper. One night last week I woke up and looked over at the monitor to get a status update and he was gone. There was nothing to see but an empty mattress, resulting in pure panic on my end and a quick leap out of bed to see what he was up to in there. I knew better than to think he had gotten out of his crib, reminding myself he’s just now sitting up by himself and beginning to crawl.

I had to explore what the little guy was up to and I was shocked at what I saw. He had somehow managed to get to the end of the bed and was sleeping sideways with a leg propped up on a side of the crib, a pacifier in his right hand and a railing in the other. The good news was he was sleeping on his back, but he had managed to get himself to the end of the crib and arranged so that he was taking up the entire width of the crib. None of this could be seen on the video monitor, leaving a lot to the imagination.

On another occasion, around 4 a.m., I checked out the video monitor to see only a little butt in the air and two legs kicking with vigor. Again, it goes without saying that I needed a look. When I walked into the room, I discovered Beckett sticking his little arm out through the opening of the side of his crib in an effort to reach his trusty pacifier that had fallen to the floor. It seems his depth perception is a little off because he was a good two feet away and did not stand a chance of getting a mitt on it, but I admire his tenacity.

There he was butt up in the air, feet kicking, arm through the railing and head perched against the side of the crib in the wee hours trying with all his might to reach the pacifier he had probably thrown on the floor minutes earlier. It was a strange and funny scene, to say the least. Once I came to his rescue, he rolled over on to his back, opened his mouth for the bink and fell back asleep immediately.

By the time I had gotten back to bed, I looked at the video monitor and found he had rolled over to his stomach, bringing me back to his room, on my knees, peeking through the crib to make sure his nose was not flat down on the mattress and determining if I could put a finger between his nose and the mattress. I feel at peace when I can slip my finger between his nose and the mattress It’s silly, yes, but necessary, absolutely. Did I say my wife was a bit obsessive? Obviously, the same goes for me.

All in all, slowly but surely, I have become comfortable, or at ease as much as I ever will be, with his new sleeping habits. It took some getting used to, but once I realized he was able to breath just fine on his stomach I was okay. It sounds crazy, I know, but it’s a lot to deal with at first. My wife, on the other hand, is still struggling with it. It’s that whole neuroses thing flaring up again, but she will soon be fine and adapt.

The best news out of all this is he’s sleeping better than ever, most nights 12-plus hours. That’s another adjustment, but Pam and I have come to terms with this change immediately. That was not difficult to accept, but no surprise there.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.