I am sitting at my desk right now, listening to my 20-month old son scream.
He's in bed, and it's naptime. He wants to take a nap--he's a great midday napper--but he does not want to take a nap if he has to know about it. What that means is that he prefers for me to hold him until he is completely asleep, and when I put him in his crib, he is already in the deep, wonderful waters of sleep oblivion. He never knows a thing. And that's the way he likes it.
Problem is, this has led to mucho night waking, where he wakes 3-4 times a night because he doesn't know (or conveniently forgets) how to put himself back to sleep when he wakes. Which, as you might guess, is insufferable.
So we have begun this: I finish our bedtime routine, and then instead of putting him in bed when he's asleep, I put him in when he's awake, which is what I should have &$%#@ing done when he was a newborn. (I didn't, because he would immediately scream then.)
So. It's pretty bad. He is objecting strenuously to the plan.
I didn't want his sleep to be this difficult, but I also know that if we're going to get anywhere near him falling asleep on his own, unassisted, then we need to start somewhere. I dislike this in the extreme. It hurts. I can't even eat -- although I am eyeing the wine cabinet. It's incredibly hard. It's really, really hard. It's hard like childbirth was, like toddler tantrums are -- even like how almost two years of sleep deprivation is hard.
Normally I'd never make a comparison to how hard writing and editing a novel is, but I'm totally going to, because you may already know how very, very difficult it is to create a marketable novel that is good enough. And by good enough, I mean one that someone else wants to a) sell and b) buy.
And good enough takes a lot of sweat and tears, just like baby-raising does. That is, raising of stubborn, extremely insistent babies -- not those little angels who sleep through the night from day 1 and give you nary a second of sass, tantrums, or struggle. Probably those babies are made of clay, but you get my drift. We all have a friend who has that baby. None of us like her.
Anyway, back to the novel writing. In the past two, no three, years, I've worked so hard on my current ms. I've discovered several times that it has problems that needed complete rewrites in order to fix. I've spent countless hours fixing them and thinking about the story, the characters, the plot. I've lived with this story, I've loved this story. I've dreamt it. This is how it goes. This is what you do with a baby, non?
But you do it, because the end result is a happy, well-adjusted novel that will put itself to sleep unassisted.
Well, I'll let you know how that part turns out, anyway.