My wife recently asked me what stage of babyhood that I liked the best. I thought about the question and replied that they all had their charm. For example, I can remember all of those nights when we would be sitting in bed and she would tell me that the baby was kicking around, the excitement that I felt the first time when I felt my baby kick in her tummy. Later on, I would read to her or even play music to her and feel her kicking around, one night when we were playing her the new Cradle of Filth cd in the womb and she started going nuts. I said to my wife “Either she hates it or she loves it. Maybe she is making a mosh pit in the womb.”
This is not too mention that you are wondering what the little tyke will look like. Will she look like me or my wife? And then there is the anticipation of the eventual birth. So as you can see, even the pre-natal time of childhood can be fun.
And then comes the time when the big moment comes; the drive to the hospital, the anxious wait to go in the delivery room and the unforgettable experience of witnessing childbirth. My dad once told me that that would be the greatest day in my life and he was right. I can still remember vividly how awe experiencing it was, and how I finally was able to see what the little baby looked like who I spent the last 9 months of my life dreaming about, talking to and feeling her little kicks, punches and movements inside of my wife.
So the newborn stage has its own charm; you finally get to interact with your baby; her gaze is constant on you as you give her a bottle or hold you. During this stage you see the precursor to crib rage: when every three hours or so a baby will awake and scream until her little tummies are filled with milk and their terrible pangs of hunger are extinguished.
Around three months is when the “I don’t want to sleep” syndrome appears. For us, our baby started to sleep through the night at three months; she would sleep for about 8 or 9 hours straight and then we would put her down for naps during the day. Sounds simple right? Well with our baby, these daytime naps would sometimes be easier said than done.
I mean in theory, whenever a baby gets tired, she should just take a nap, right? Well if we were lucky, this is what would happen, but most of the time we would put her down to sleep and she would start to scream, yell and kick in a fit of terrible rage; or what I call crib rage. What is crib rage? Well it is sort of like road rage or even ‘roid rage: it is angry behavior that is caused by a specific situation, in this case it is when a baby is in a crib and she either wants to get out of the crib, be fed or perhaps a dirty diaper is the culprit. As time goes by, the crib rage just gets worse. What used to be tiny little kicks coming from tiny little legs against the sides of her crib or music box now turn into bellowing booms emanating from the bedroom; toys located in her crib become projectiles, and the screams become louder and more piercing. Sometimes, there are even victims of crib rage.
One of our cats likes to sleep in her room. There was one time when we put her down for a nap at about three months or so we heard her screams and the sound of scratching at her door. We opened up the door and the cat burst out full speed. I guess that our cat didn’t like her screaming. Another time, this time at six months of age, my wife heard the sound of scratching at the door along with the sounds of our cat crying. When my wife opened the door, she caught our baby in a fit of terrible crib rage throwing her toys at our cat. Of course in between yelling she was mischievously smiling as her toys hit their furry target. Once when my wife put her down for a nap, the baby screamed and even threw a toy at her; as the toy raced by her head my wife turned around and looked at her; a devilish grin formed at her mouth “Thththth” came from her mouth as she smiled. My wife left the room and she heard a thud as another projectile toy hit the door.
A few weeks ago we put her down for bed and we heard this loud, booming noise. “Is that her?” we wondered, so we muted the television and heard it again. We went upstairs and there she was kicking the side of her crib adjacent to the wall, with her little feet going between the spaces of the crib rail and hitting the wall. We turned the lights on and she stood up, smiling away as she gnawed at the top her crib railings. As soon as the door closed, the screams and booming noise continued.
I theorize that my baby doesn’t like to sleep because she is afraid that she will miss something. This is what I call the “I don’t want to sleep syndrome” which is often the cause of this crib rage. As she gets older, this becomes more acute; if we have some company over then she really doesn’t want to sleep because she will really miss something.
Ironically enough, as I write this now, I can hear the cries, yells and kicks of my baby in a fit of crib rage. My favorite is when she goes “Da da da da da da da da” between yelling and kicking the sides of the crib. So I go down the checklist: she has just been fed, just pooh-ed before she went down and had a nap, so most likely it is just the “I don’t want to sleep syndrome” so I know that I will have to resist the cute calls for my name and the rest and stand my ground for the greater good of having a well rested baby.