Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sisyphus' Baby

As soon as Firefly was born, he needed something to suck on. At first he would only sleep while he was sucking on my finger. If you've had a baby, you may remember that babies prefer to suck on fingers with the fingernail down, towards the tongue. Try this with your hand. It's moderately awkward. Eventually, you might want to get up, use the bathroom, feed yourself, or any of the other myriad activities that is surprisingly difficult to accomplish with one hand in such a position. Also, Firefly would take personal offense to any attempt I made to move. As soon as his father came to visit him, I dropped Firefly into his lap and took off to find a pacifier.

Now the Maternity Hospital does not sell pacifiers, out of some belief that they impede the initiation of breastfeeding. As I already knew from previous experience, initiating breastfeeding is not a problem for me. Weaning is a problem for me. Initiation? Definitely not. So I was quite comfortable giving my child a piece of plastic to suck on, and all the various physical and psychological issues attendant thereto. Nevertheless, because of the Maternity Hospital's position, I couldn't buy one at the gift shop.

No matter! An intrepid aged lady working at the gift shop directed me to the attached Children's Hospital. There, she said, they did stock pacifiers. In fact, pacifiers were often recommended by pediatricians, and so she regularly directed patients to the Children's Hospital to purchase them. Off I went, down the world's most depressing hallway (neonatal intensive care and pediatric cardiac), and into the Children's Hospital giftshop. Not fifteen minutes later, Firefly was sucking on his very own neon green plastic pacifier. It's the very same one you can see in his photo.

As soon as I popped it into his mouth, his entire tense little body relaxed. "You," I told him, "are never allowed to even approach a cigarette." When Freud described the oral fixation, he may have been on to something.

So why Sisyphus' baby? Well, when Firefly drifts to sleep, he relaxes even more. And the pacifier pops out of his mouth. He then realises he's lost his pacifier and begins flailing about, whimpering, and generally working himself into a lather. Unless someone is next to him to replace the pacifier, he will quickly get quite upset. When the pacifier is replaced, he must begin again the process of drifting to sleep. Drift-slip-wake, drift-slip-wake.

It is 12:58 in the morning. We are on cycle number 27 in a row.

Sisyphus' baby.

1 comment:

  1. My babies have all had that same drift-slip-wake problem. There has to be a way to tie the dumb thing in there without it being a health hazard. The person who figures it out will be a millionaire.