I have recently become more and more familiar with this thing known as a Perfect Game. Unfortunately, not through baseball, but through tv shows drawing this allusion to a difficult baseball feat. "Scrubs" used the term in an episode where the characters tried to get through a full shift without losing anyone in the ICU. "How I Met Your Mother" used it in an episode where one character tried to hit on 7 girls in 7 days with no rejections. The main theme that struck me - when someone is going for a perfect game you do not talk about it. No matter how close they get you never say "I think they're going to make it," or "this is so exciting, everything is going so well!" You don't talk about it AT ALL.
You may wonder why this resonates with me, but it is because we have our own version of a perfect game here - a full night of sleep where babies don't wake up. Like baseball, we have an "un-official" perfect game where it counts if they wake up, but don't stay awake for an extended period of time (ex. the last 2 nights we've had to go in and lay Allie down during the middle of the night, but she cried for less than 5 minutes and we didn't really lose any sleep, so it counts!). And one thing we have learned is that no matter how guaranteed it may seem that we're going to have a "Perfect Game" you never, EVER talk about it while it is happening.
My brothers learned this while they were here. About the time someone said, "Wow, they've been really quiet for a long time. I think tonight's going to be an easy night," a baby woke up crying. It never failed. And so we began using the term "that about which we do not speak." Lucas quickly learned that if he comes home and asks, "How did bedtime go?" or "How has the night been?" and all I give him for an answer are hand signals the topic will not be addressed again for the rest of the night. While it is tempting to rejoice at how easily they have fallen asleep, or the fact that we are going to bed 4 1/2 hrs after they went to sleep and we haven't heard a peep, experience has taught us that this is a bad thing.
Please understand that we are not superstitious people. However, it often goes that if you celebrate your victory before the game is over...somehow you don't win. While you cannot talk about the possibility of a Perfect Game while it is happening, once it has happened it is cause for incredible celebration. It is no different for us. Once morning has arrived you will find us praising the babies for sleeping so well, offering prayers of thanks to God, high fiving each other, and (after a particularly wonderful night of sleep) possibly even doing a happy dance.
Speaking of celebration...lately we have had great cause to celebrate, and so, this is my "Happy Dance" in paragraph form:
One recent day, it seemed as though everything "clicked." I put Allie down for her nap, and instead of standing and screaming until I gave in and rocked her to sleep (and recently I had been caving consistently after less time) she talked and giggled until she fell asleep. I felt a thrill of excitement because this was the little sleeper I knew, but I tried not to get my hopes up too much. To date we're going on our 4th day of her going down for naps without a fuss (although she will play in her crib for a while before falling asleep). Even better? Last night was the second night in a row that Ryan slept through the night, and Allie went back to sleep within minutes when she did wake up (the VERY few times she woke up). Once not even needing us to come in and lay her back down (we usually wait a minute or two, go in and tell her it's night and still time to sleep, sing a little song, and lay her back down)! The last 2 mornings, when our sleep has been basically un- interrupted until roughly 6 am, I have done a little happy dance. My sleeping babies seem to be back. Granted, I'm still taking each night as it comes, knowing tonight can be different (and if you talk to me after they're in bed I won't tell you anything about how it is going because...well...you don't want to jinx a potentially perfect game). But, we've had rest, we've seen the light at the end of the tunnel, their wonderful sleep the past few nights has increased our hope. Perhaps soon the "Perfect Game" won't be as rare a feat as it once was!