Long before I became a parent, I watched my brother-in-law and his wife with their newborn baby. One afternoon, while I was visiting, they placed their tiny son in his infant seat in front of the television while they watched football.
“That baby should be in bed,” I thought—and the voice in my head was my mother’s. She often disapproved of other people’s child-rearing habits. People who brought their little babies to restaurants and to movie theaters. “That baby should be in bed,” she would say.
No doubt I was in bed when I was a baby—far away from loud television. But here’s the thing. The nephew who was placed in front of the football game as an infant is now an adult who can sleep through anything. Who can fall asleep and stay asleep no matter what the environment.
As for me, I’ve been a light sleeper all my life—waking at the slightest noise—and lying there in the dark, unable to get back to sleep, thinking that mothers don’t always know best. No doubt she was trying to protect me from a noisy world.
But that didn’t make the world quiet. It made me wakeful. Sorry, Mom.