The first year with our first child was incredibly challenging. We never slept. Ever. And we were far from family or friends who might have been able to occasionally lend a hand. Gabriella worked full-time, and I was home with the baby. I had no idea which way was up after sleepless night after sleepless night, and I recall walking around town arriving at a destination having absolutely no idea how I ended up there.
I insisted we sleep-train our baby because I was losing my mind. Gabriella was unconvinced. She could not stand hearing our baby cry, not for one minute. And when I tried to let him cry for a few minutes at a time, following Ferber’s instructions to the letter, she would stare at me with contempt and with furrowed brow and quaking lip, she’d think, “How could you be so cold?” And I would hear her thoughts and second guess myself and surrender. I had to sleep train him when she was out of town, unable to sabotage my efforts with her accusing eyes.
When he finally slept through the night and I stopped seeing double, I suggested we get a babysitter and go out – just the two of us. We could put on clean clothes and lipstick and have a glass of wine in a restaurant and look at each other instead of the baby! We could have a conversation about current events or the weather or anything, ANYTHING but the baby!
Gabriella was horrified. A babysitter? How could we leave our baby with a stranger? Who out there would ever come close to providing the same kind of care that our baby’s parents could? How would we ever know what kind of criminal or deviant we were allowing in our home?
None of my answers satisfied her. We couldn’t trust anyone who wasn’t family, and I was a heartless animal who would leave her own child with anyone with a heartbeat, which frankly was not far from the truth at that point. I was desperate to get out and not be a mom for a couple of hours.
Eventually, Gabriella came around after I had received recommendations from friends and after we had checked all their references. She probably would have gone through their bags before we left if she had had the opportunity. But she never would have agreed to leave our child alone with someone else had she watched Terrible Babysitters on Stage17. We can look back and laugh now, but we would not have found the humor then. Nothing is funny when you haven’t slept in days – not even cray cray babysitters with a fear of seahorses. I mean water ponies.