As we travel through life what we might consider a major accomplishment changes quite dramatically. As a child you probably get excited about an "A" on your spelling test. As you get a bit older your proudest accomplishment might be that home run you hit in little league. As a high-schooler you would be proud to make the honor roll or get a college scholarship. After high school the accomplishments get a bit less ambitious for some of us. I have to admit that drinking a whole case of beer without getting sick or passing out was considered among the greatest accomplishments a man could achieve during my college years. Another less than stellar goal could be to eat the old 96er like John Candy did on The Great Outdoors.
When you get married these things change, and when you have children they change even more. Last night our family accomplished something wonderful. Braden, who has been sleeping in his swing for a couple months, actually slept in his crib from 1 to 6 this morning. Normally he is asleep earlier than that, but I am still ecstatic. What makes me even happier is that he fell asleep on his own. I tried 3 or 4 times to put him to sleep then lay him in the crib. Every time he would wake up. Eventually it was time to feed him again because he was still awake. After feeding him I gently placed him in the crib again, and I saw the dreaded open eye stare looking back at me. At this point I was ready to try something else. I set up what I will call a children's projector to occupy Braden. This thing, which is actually called the Fisher Price Musical Projector Soother, projects images onto the ceiling above Braden's bed for him to watch. It also plays music in your choice of classical, lullabies, or nature sounds. I went with the classical and set the projector for 15 minutes.
It was my mission to fall asleep before the thing went off, and hopefully I could sleep through Braden's grunting and squirming after that. To be honest I only turned the music on to help drown out those same sounds. Then something magical happened. There were no more sounds emanating from the crib. Was Braden alive? I had to check and to my surprise I found that he was asleep. As far as I can remember this is the first time he has ever fallen asleep without an assist from Mom or Dad. I think the classical music did the trick because I found myself going into a sleepy trance listening to it as well. I don't know what classical melodies were part of the play list, but they seemed to work on Braden. I once took fine arts musical in college but it didn't stick. I can sing you every song Hank Williams ever wrote but classical music is lost on me. The only thing I remember from the class is we once discussed "Hotel California". It is a classic for sure but not classical. Nonetheless Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, or some other virtuoso helped us with this great achievement.
Now we are a little bit closer to reaching that final step in the Quest for Sleep. The step that I once called on this site "You're on your own." Now our goal as a family is much the same as an invading force. We must push ahead so we don't lose any of our earlier gains. It seems like such a little thing when a person sleeps in their own bed, but in the world of a new parent it is bigger than almost anything including drinking an entire case of beer.