My son turned 11. And on his birthday, I show some friends a picture of him in his football uniform and make a little joke that 11 years ago today, some poor nurse was trying to show me how to swaddle this.
Because as we all remember, swaddling is absolutely critical to your child’s growth, health, IQ and overall success in life.
Too bad it’s so complicated. You have to put a flailing baby on a blanket, and through a series of crisscrosses, folds and tucks, you have to get him neatly wrapped into something that looks like a loaf of bread – with a head. If you’re really good, he’ll look like a burrito – with a smile.
Depending on who teaches you how to do it, the swaddling process is either a four, six or eight-step process. Or it’s supposed to be. I got it down to one step – put the baby at one end of the blanket and start rolling.
It freaked me out that his arms were pinned down. What if he has an itch? In fact, our first Christmas, I was seriously eying our giant stockings hanging from the mantel. At least if we put him in that he could wriggle out a fist to rub his nose.
But thankfully, he was graduating into the next phase: the sleep sack. Also known as the wearable blanket. I liked this because you didn’t have to fold it like an origami goose, you just zipped the baby right into it. And it was sleeveless, so he could scratch his nose, grab his pacifier, and push “play” on his mobile.
He was sleeping great, thus surely increasing brain function. And because we parents never want to mess with what’s clearly working, we kept going. The next phase was more complicated and we had to improvise. I put him in a standard pillowcase. And as he grew, I bumped him up to a queen.
A king-size pillow sham got us through a growth spurt, but we were running out of options. I tried a transition to footie pajamas, which I thought he’d like because he didn’t have to unwrap, unzip or wriggle out of a pillowcase to get out of bed. But he was nine, and he said it felt weird. I’m sure. Polyester after 800 thread count is bound to feel strange.
So now he’s in a North Face youth sleeping bag, which’ll hold him for a while. And I can put the pillow shams back on my bed.
And not think that every burrito is smiling at me.