So, one of the reasons I keep falling asleep with Tankbaby these days is because we've been breaking the nursing-to-sleep habit (obviously, with MOTH he's been doing this forever, since MOTH simply refuses to lactate for fear of it ruining his figure). It's not something I've been worried about particularly, since I am and always have been very Malcolm X by-any-means-necessary about getting him to sleep (and thus, being able to sleep myself), but lately, more and more, he's not nursing to sleep but nursing himself awake. He gets drowsy, but wakes to keep nursing. Or, worse, doesn't get drowsy and just hangs out, tethered by the mouth, but with flailing hands and legs akimbo. (I have friend who will happily tell you that Legs Akimbo is her name in the Boom-Boom Room. For the record, my Boom-Boom Room name is Dutch Babycakes.)
The unexpected boost in this particular sea change is that Tank has decided that my pillow is da bomb (that's right, folks, you can always count on Falling for the hippest, newest street lingo). So as long as he wants to nurse, he has to stay on his pillow (the Boppy cushion). And I give him a one-minute warning and then put away the sweater cows (tm Stewie) and offer up the chance to share my pillow. This has been working pretty well at defusing any protests that may arise. He crawls up and nestles in, and we cuddle until he falls asleep. The only problem is that I used to use my smartphone to read; since Tankbaby was facing me, I'd simply extend my arm behind him and scroll away, thus keeping myself awake. Now that he's not nursing, however, there's not a way to do the sneaky reading thing, so I end up just lying quietly, miming sleep. Until I'm not so much "miming" as "actually in a dead sleep until MOTH comes in and asks, 'Have you blogged yet today?'"
Some nights, the boy has a harder time falling asleep. In order to keep him in the drowsy (and, most importantly, STILL) state while he snuggles, I've been telling him stories, long, rambly stories in a whispered monotone, creating a background of white noise. These stories are all about a little boy named Tankbaby and his three friends: a fox, a zebra, and a dinosaur. (The zebra and the dinosaur live in the backyard. The fox is more of a wandering soul and lives in the general neighborhood, but the dinosaur can call him when needed.) They don't have names yet (suggestions currently being taken).
In case any of you are having trouble sleeping, here was tonight's story,written as exactly as I can remember it. Have someone read it to you in a boring whisper...works like a charm.
Once upon a time, there was a boy named Tankbaby. He had three friends: a fox, a zebra, and a dinosaur. One day, the fox came to Tankbaby's house and said, "There's a princess who needs your help!" Tankbaby climbed on the 's back and they started--wait. First he packed a lunch: apples, bread, and cheese. Then he climbed on the--no, wait, then the zebra asked for a lunch, so they packed some leftover curry for him. Then the dinosaur said, "What about me?" and they asked him, "What do dinosaurs eat?" and he said "Leaves from trees" and they said, "How about you just watch for trees on the way and eat when you want?" and he said, "OK." Then Tankbaby turned politely to the fox and asked, "Should I pack a lunch for you, too?" and the fox sighed with exasperation and said, "I'll eat leftovers. Let's just get going! That princess needs your help!"
So Tankbaby climbed on the dinosaur's back and they started down the road. After a while they came to a big castle, surrounded by a moat. And at one end, there was a turret, which is like a big round room with a cap on top. And looking out of the window of the turret was a princess with long brown hair named Natalie. Wait, the hair wasn't named Natalie, that was the princess' name. Anyway, Tankbaby called up, "We're here to rescue you!"
Natalie replied, "I don't need rescuing. I just need help."
"Oh," said Tankbaby. "OK, well, how can I help?"
"I have this heavy table, and it needs moving and I can't do it all by myself," she said. "Can you help?"
"Sure," said Tankbaby. "Open the door, and I'll come right up."
"That's the problem," said Natalie. "I can't open the door. The key is under the table. And I can't move the table until you come help me move it."
"I can't help you move the table until you open the door!"
"Well, I can't open the door until you get the key!"
"Well, I can't get the key until you help me move the table!"
"WELL, I CAN'T HELP YOU MOVE THE TABLE UNTIL YOU OPEN THE DOOR!!" Tankbaby shouted.
Finally, the fox raised a paw. "Can I interject? What about the window?"
Tankbaby said, "Yes! The window! Only...how will I get up there?"
The dinosaur shrugged and said, "I dunno, but all this thinking is making me hungry," and he stretched his long neck up to get some leaves off the tree...the tree right next to the princess' window.
"That's it!" shouted the fox. "Climb up the dinosaur!"
So that's what they did. Tankbaby climbed right up onto the dinosaur's head and the dinosaur stretched his neck up until his head was at the level of the window. Tankbaby climbed in through the window and said, "So, where's that table?" He and Natalie moved the table and found the key. They ran downstairs and opened the door.
Tankbaby asked Natalie to come home with him, but she said, "No thanks. I've got my mommy and daddy here, and I'm working on that big block tower over there, and later we're getting ice cream and I just have a very full day. Thanks anyway. Can we still be friends?" and Tankbaby said, "Sure," and they exchanged e-mails. And then Tankbaby climbed back on the dinosaur and headed home...and then the fox...fell out of the nest and...the wings were growing on the mushrooms...and they drove for a while...and the...frog took off the grass skirt and....she said, "wear the brown belt," and...they kissed and...then the plates started dancing....and...desk lamp...penguins...Morgan Freeman...The End."
It's possible that I might have been falling asleep at the end, there.