2010.06.30 Sleeping like a baby?

Written by David Green.

Guest column by Carly Van Thomme


One of the most misused clichés is “sleeping like a baby.” When someone uses this expression, he or she typically means to say that someone is sleeping deeply and peacefully. In my experience, that is not at all how babies sleep. I think John McCain nailed it when he told Jay Leno on “The Tonight Show,” just days after losing the 2008 Presidential election, “Well, I’ve been sleeping like a baby. I sleep two hours, wake up, and cry. Sleep two hours, wake up, and cry.” Yes, folks, as many of you surely know—that is what “sleeping like a baby” really is much of the time.

Babies also fight sleep like it’s a matter of life and death. We have all seen a movie with a scene in which the actor tries desperately to remain conscious while stranded in some frigid location, knowing that if he succumbs to that overwhelming sleepy sensation that he’s experiencing, he surely will die of hypothermia. Though safe and warm in bed or in the arms of their mothers, babies are fond of mimicking these dramatic efforts. Apparently they’ve seen the movies, too.

It seems that babies are big fans of scary movies as well. Sometimes when fighting sleep, they act just like a horror movie monster. Older babies will stumble around zombie-like, arms outstretched, bleary-eyed but determined. It wouldn’t be surprising at all to hear them utter, “Brains… brains…,” when they have that look about them. Then, just when you think they’re sound asleep and down for the count, they pop right back up like Jason Voorhees coming up out of the lake in “Friday the 13th.” To be fair, babies generally will give you a big smile at this point rather than try to murder you, so that’s where the similarities end.

On many occasions, I have poured myself a glass of wine (or made myself a nice, icy martini with three jalapeño-stuffed olives) after my baby finally went to sleep. I congratulated myself and sat down to enjoy my drink with a big smile on my face. As soon as I took that first, pleasurable sip, the voice-activated baby monitor clicked on. She was awake again. Sigh. That drink would have to wait.

Before I had my baby, I thought that parents got up in the middle of the night with their babies because babies needed to eat, needed a clean diaper, or needed some other identifiable thing. The reality is that, while that is sometimes why babies wake up, sometimes they wake up just because they wake up. Sometimes babies sleep great, but often they’re going through some developmental spurt—or maybe they’re getting all four of their first-year molars at once (ouch!). Sometimes they’re upset, but we don’t know for sure why. What I’ve learned more than anything is that it isn’t easy being a baby.

However, it’s easier being a parent than I imagined it would be. A little humor goes a long way. A little patience goes a long way. But, it’s our love as mothers and fathers (be it biological, adoptive, step, or foster) that gets us through the tough nights—a love bigger than we knew possible before we were parents. The next thing we know, the difficult phase has passed, and baby is no longer acting like a character in a B-movie—until the next phase at least. We look back at pictures, sigh, and say, “She’s going to grow up so fast.” (I am famous for saying this through a mist of tears when my daughter was nine days old. Now she’s 17 months old. I just know that I’m going to wake up tomorrow and it will be her wedding day.)

The next time you hear someone use the expression “sleeping like a baby,” smile to yourself and remember to enjoy the day for what it has to offer, because life does go by way too fast.


Bio: Carly (Pummell) Van Thomme is a 1992 graduate of Morenci High School, currently living in Guadalajara, Mexico, with her husband, daughter, and two cats. In addition to writing, she is an attorney with Chapman And Associates, P.C. in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

  • Front.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.pokemon
    LATEST CRAZE—David Cortes (left) and Ty Kruse, along with Jerred Heselschwerdt (standing), consult their smartphones while engaging in the game of Pokémon Go. The virtual scavenger hunt comes to life when players are in the vicinity of gyms, such as Stair District Library, and PokéStops such as the fire station across the street. The boys had spent time Monday morning searching for Pokémon at Wakefield Park.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Girls.on.ride
    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016