My daughter is almost four months old, and my wife and I have been working hard to get her into some kind of routine. We have been building a structure around what works best to get her to sleep as much as possible during the night, for fairly obvious reasons.
So most of the mornings, are pretty free flow with the baby's schedule. Once the afternoon hits though, that's when things can get critical. She ideally should be going down for a nap between 1 pm and 2 pm with us waking her up by 3:30 pm.
This is important because we want her to be awake from 3:30 pm until it is time for us to settle down for dinner at about 6 pm. It is at this time that the baby gets her "dinner-time" feeding and ideally drifts off to sleep. And we have been getting lucky because when she goes to sleep around this time with this setup, she will "normally" stay down until at least midnight.
It is around midnight to 2 am when she will wake for a diaper change and a feeding and will go right back to sleep if we play our cards right again until at least 5-6 am. Now if you have ever been a parent to a young baby or just ever been sleep deprived for weeks on end, you will understand the plight of losing sleep because of a miscalculation and the utter joy of getting anywhere close to your "normal" amount of sleep.
So, my wife was nursing our daughter during dinner like we have been doing, and the little one was drifting off to sleep when dad (me) got hit with some of the spices from the popcorn.
I got up as quickly as I could to try and create distance from my wife, who was at this moment carrying our peacefully sleeping daughter, who had just had her fill with dinner and had drifted off to sleep.
I thought I had it under control. I thought I was moving quickly enough without making too much noise. I thought wrong.
A sneeze that shattered the peace of the evening rudely awoke my sleeping baby. When I turned around I could see her lying there, face all scrunched up scared, angry, sad, all of the emotions one might go through when having your sleep taken from you.
And I could see my wife's face, let's just say she wasn't happy. Disappointed? For starters, I would say yes.
I had to make this right. My dumbass woke her up because of my stupid loud "dad" sneeze. In defense of other dads, I have had a stupid loud sneeze for as long as I can remember, but that doesn't excuse what I did.
It was careless and selfish in a small way. A bit like how I woke my baby up before by opening a door the wrong way, or by moving the wrong item in my backpack that happened to have velcro.
So I took the little one from my wife after she had settled her down a bit and I had quickly scarfed down the rest of my food. I took her into my arms and into the small restroom to utilize the ventilation fan to calm her down. I began to sing through the different lullabies that seem to relax her to coax her back to slumber.
I ended up landing on the ABCs and sorta stuck there, as her reaction to this one was most preferred. I sang the ABCs over and over for about fifteen minutes as she struggled against me trying to keep her head lying down while also devouring which-ever of her hands that were closest to her at the time (she's in the early stages of teething so yeah, she needs to chew on something). Once she finally fell asleep, I tried putting her down on the couch where we let her sleep next to us while we finish dinner, and she was awake again within five minutes.
Rinse and repeat. Return to the room with built-in white noise, and sing the ABCs. Only this time she let out a significant burp, which is probably what woke her up from the most recent sleep.
Another twenty minutes or so of rocking and swaying while patting her back and fighting against her newfound neck and back muscle control, struggling to get free of me, while I am singing the ABCs like a broken record gently holding her head to my chest in the tiny bathroom with the vent running full blast.
R & R
Finally back asleep, and it only took about thirty-five minutes. Stupid sneeze. At least now I feel like I have made it up to my wife and daughter by doing my best to right my wrong in returning things to order.
So note to any fathers or any parental figure who may be less experienced than I, if you are gonna sneeze, and you need to and can't get out of the room or the house to do so, it is better to hold that shit in and explode your brain rather than wake your sleeping child. Parenthood ain't no joke!