(Exactly when did my kid get so big?)
As for me and my house, we are devoted to the Miracle Blanket. Amen. When new parents ask what our must-have baby items are, Mike and I trip over each other to sing its praises and the praises of swaddling in general. Atticus was definitely a baby who liked being swaddled and we wrapped him up for much longer than the experts recommend. He had to be held tight in order to sleep in the afternoons. There was an incident with an ace bandage. He wedged his body against the side of the crib. Something about him is drawn to the edge and, paradoxically, to being contained.
Or maybe it’s not so paradoxical. Maybe it’s plain old human nature to need boundaries while also needing to test them. I don’t sleep with my face pressed against my nightstand, but I sure do like to stir the pot and I sometimes need Mike to raise an eyebrow at me to let me know when I have gone too far (or, best case scenario, before that actually happens). When he does that for me I understand all those teacher trainings about kids acting out because they want someone to tell them what the boundaries are. It feels good to know that someone cares about you enough to help you do the right thing.
We recently moved Atticus to a full-size bed and we have had no problems with him falling out or sleeping well. At night, he mostly settles down without too much complaint. Naps, though, are a completely different story. The only thing that works is for me to be in there as he falls asleep, and I usually have to pin him down. Let’s put a positive spin on that and call it the Human Miracle Blanket. On Monday I put my Human Miracle Blanket on him and he fell asleep in two minutes. Literally two minutes. I had no transition time for my “let me sneak my arm out from under him” slick moves, so I was stuck with him for a while. I smelled his hair and was thankful that I gave him a bath the night before. He breathed that one last sigh before I felt him move from restless jerky sleep into a deeper contentment.
Let us now sing the praises of boundaries. Every thought shouldn’t be shared. All opinions are not created equal (especially my own ragey opinions on a particularly bad day). Some people are just like oil and water. I don’t think there are as many rules as I used to, but parenting has taught me that boundaries are a beautiful thing and I would do well to employ them a little bit more often in most areas of my life because boundaries and freedom go hand-in-hand. My faith is in a God who is in the business of setting people free, and that freedom helps me see how good it is to know how far you should go. Part of our job as parents is to teach Atticus how to find that out for himself, and those days will be here soon enough. Meanwhile, there are times and places for swaddling and for crib rails and maybe even for ace bandages. There are times to let things go and times to stand your ground and times to let that kid cry for a few minutes so that both of you get a chance to breathe. These are the days of the Human Miracle Blanket and I am content to hold his body close to me as he succumbs to sleep.