Sometime in about 2002, I began to hear rumblings of the latest craze in parenting. All the Good Mothers, it seemed, were swaddling their babies. “How very seventeenth century of them,” I mused, but – as I had no children – I thought little more about it.
A couple of years later, Zachary was born. I wanted to make sure I was one of All the Good Mothers and I eager to try out the latest trends, even if the last time this particular fad last had been popular was when Martha Jefferson had desperately searched for ways to get her six kids to sleep through the night. (Actually, come to think of it, Martha herself probably did not get up in the night with her kids, but I’ll bet Sally Hemings practiced the fine art of swaddling.)
A friend had given us a special blanket designed for Idiot-Proof Swaddling, which was a damned good thing because it was immediately clear to both of us that, when it came to swaddling, we were complete morons. Whenever we tried to wrap him in a baby blanket like the nurses at the hospital had, he wiggled himself loose in about 4.8 seconds. But, with this nifty little blanket, all we had to do was wrap Zachary up and Velcro him shut. We marched bravely forward and began to wrap him in the little blanket.
Damn it if he still didn’t manage to get loose. Actually, first he screamed furiously, and then he wiggled free. If he was asleep when we put him in, he woke up, then screamed and busted out. The kid clearly had not read the manual that explained that all babies like to be swaddled.
Benjamin, two years later, was at least not vehemently opposed to swaddling. He sort of tolerated it for a few weeks, but we quickly realized it was getting us nowhere. Our children were obviously Swaddle Impaired. Or their parents were.
You would think I would have given up completely, and perhaps I would have, but one or two days after Lilah’s birth, it was evident that this baby really liked being burritoed up tight. When the nurses swaddled her, she settled right down and slept. I called J and told him to stop at a store and pick up a few more Idiot-Proof Swaddlers, since we had given the old ones away with all the baby stuff.
What I found when I returned home seemed hopelessly complicated. It involved wrapping each arm separately, tucking in the legs, and then securing the baby with two distinct flaps. I had to read the directions to figure out how to use this thing. I was certain we were doomed to failure.
All I can say is that these are the greatest baby item we have ever owned. Swaddled, she sleeps for several hours at a time. Unswaddled, she wakes up wailing in a matter of minutes. They call these things the Miracle Blankets, and I am starting to think it may not be marketing hyperbole.
I wonder if they make them in my size.
“Babies are extra-terrestrials,” someone once told me. “As soon as you have figured them out, they change.” And you KNOW that, between the time I wrote this post on Friday afternoon and posted it this morning, this baby has decided that she cannot abide being swaddled.