Thursday, August 21, 2008

Outsource the night

In the New York Times, an article about the increasing use of 'night nannies' to get up in the middle of the night for young babies. Apparently, they are better than you are at calming a baby and allow you to be a sane person during the day. Of course, it costs money.

If you have a dual career and lots of money this makes glaring sense to me. However, given that we did not do this for our three children, I will go through the standard rationalisations for why we wouldn't have made this choice even if we had thought of it wanted to spend the money.

First, consider this a generic expression of indignation and disgust based on no logical foundation.

Second, let me make some hand-wavy comment about how babies surely bond better with frustrated parents trying to get them back to sleep in the middle of the night.

Third, parents who don't do this won't 'learn' to understand their children's needs. Because we all know 2am is the best time to absorb subtle knowledge about a baby's emotional state.

Fourth, you could be spending that money on educational toys.

Fifth, by doing this you distance yourself from the community of shared experience of other parents. Actually, that one might make sense.

Finally, in the spirit of banging your head against the wall because it is so much better when you stop, you really appreciate it later on when they sleep through the night.

This all brings me back to 4 years ago with our third child. She was just a couple of months old and, guess what, at 2am in the morning we could turn on the television and watch the Olympics, live. We saw all manner of great events -- I can't tell you which ones but I can tell you they were great. What is more, we would put the baby back to bed and keep watching.

So the moral of this story is: time your baby's birth to make sure that during the first three months, it coincides with stuff on television that you would want to watch anyway. The television can be your night nanny.