Thursday, October 9, 2008


I was so happy to read the new study which show that having a fan on in an infant's room decreases the risk for SIDS. I feel vindicated that the fact that my children require a fan on in their rooms to cover noises from the outside world is simply a marker of their intuitive intelligence, their heightened sense of survival and large brain capacity. Until now, I saw it as a failure on my part to produce children with the normal capability of falling asleep despite household noise. My friend Cam has a three-year-old son, Andrew, who is capable of sleeping through noises which, in my opinion, should signal a need for significant hearing testing. When he was about nine months old, she threw a Super Bowl party that he slept through despite the fact that the large screen TV and whooping fans were in the room right next door. My children awaken to the sound of butterflies gently flapping their gauzy wings. We have become a household where we think twice about whether to flush the toilet. Is it worth possibly awakening the children? No, if it's yellow let it mellow. And I don't even think about unloading the dishwasher. Are you crazy? Frankie is sleeping upstairs! I can't tell you the number of times I have called down curses on garbage trucks, braying hounds, neighbor's leaf blowers.
They get it from me, unfortunately. My husband can fall asleep anywhere anytime. I have actually timed him and he can fall asleep within seven seconds of his head hitting the pillow. His breathing gets all regular and deep and he lies like an angel the rest of the night, never moving except to occasionally cross his arms like he is sitting quietly in a board meeting. I, meanwhile, am tossing and turning, pillow between my knees, fan running, ear plugs snug, retainer in place, sleeping pill nearby. It's an alluring sight. I have not yet resorted to the eye mask, but I do have black out shades and pillows strategically propped up where there might be a crack of light shining through.
My sister has succumbed to the eye mask as well as all the above accoutrements. But if I would be classified as a "light sleeper", Molly would be classified as a "zero gravity sleeper". She not only wakes up to external noises, she wakes to the slightest movement in her bed, as well as her own internal noises. A typical phone conversation with her goes like this:
"Molly, how did you sleep last night?"
"Well, I got to sleep OK but I woke up like fifty times."
"That stinks. Why?"
"Well, my mouth was whistling. I would fall asleep and then hear my mouth whistling and wake up. We tried everything to get it to stop. Matt even had me smear my teeth with peanut butter."
"Interesting. So I assume custody of Sylvie will go to me when you both check in to the insane asylum?"

And yes, yes she did wake up when the shutter clicked.

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