Tonight I was adding some dirty dishes to the ever increasing pile on the sink – I have no dishwasher – and looked out the window and saw the three-quarter full moon. It got me wondering if the moon shifts where it rises and sets like the sun does with different seasons. Science was never my strong point at school so if someone can confirm this I’d like to know.
Seeing the moon at this particular side of my house reminds me of winter and cold nights and of the time when my son was a newborn baby. It’s not winter right now but the nights are getting chillier and it’s time to start thinking about getting some firewood in for the winter.
JJ was born in late June which is pretty much the coldest time of year in Adelaide and I had all sorts of trouble with him sleeping (mostly not sleeping) at night. Of course he did sleep but he was sometimes hard to settle once he’d had a feed and the witching hours of late afternoon/early evening were a nightmare.
I lost all my pregnancy weight in the first couple of months of his life because every time I sat down to eat he would start crying and the crying stressed me out so much that I couldn’t just sit down and eat while he was carrying on. I remember sitting down in the evening with JJ hanging off a breast while I leaned over the table and tried to eat dinner. Feeding him was a pretty good guarantee of peace and quiet. I don’t think this was a good way of eating and it probably wasn’t good for him either but as he was so hard to settle, and I didn’t have any help, it was either do that or not eat until really late.
Anyway, some nights after the midnight or therabouts feed, and after I’d put him back down to sleep he would more often than not in those early months take a while to fall asleep. Rather than take all my warm layers off and go to bed and have to get up every five minutes to check on him while he was crying I would go outside and have a cigarette. I started smoking again during this period as it was a way of escaping from the noise for five minutes and getting a grip until I went back inside. Of course this was my excuse. This occurred a lot during the night when the moon was out so it was really peaceful standing or sitting outside having a cigarette and basking under the moonlight – even though it was really cold. The backyard is sufficiently far away from his bedroom that I couldn’t hear him cry and I had time to contemplate.
Eventually JJ would settle down and I could go and snatch a couple of hours sleep until the next hunger cries woke me up and they seemed to happen a lot those first eight weeks or so. One night I was outside basking under the moon and I felt this fog lift from me. JJ’s sleeping was starting to settle down, and I think I was starting to settle into the motherhood thing and get into a rhythm. The relentlessness of feeding him every couple of hours was slowing down and I was just learning that feeding him so much wasn’t necessarily the answer. The poor thing was probably tired which was why he cried so much. Nobody ever really told me that babies can get so overtired that they just will not settle and once I learnt this it made so much sense and more sleep worked. He was much happier, fed much more easily less often and a happier baby who sleeps more makes for a much happier mum.
JJ sleeping more meant that I didn’t have an excuse to go and stand outside and look up at the moon and soak in the quiet night peace. I have long since given up cigarettes again, apart from a very occasional rollie, but I still miss standing outside on the cold moonlit nights, or maybe I miss my son’s babyhood.