Up With The Baby

Up With the Baby 600 gray

(Pitch Dark. Two Voices, A Man and A Woman)

“Did you hear him?”

“I did not hear anything.”

“I heard him. I definitely heard him.”

“I didn’t hear anything.”

“Are you getting up?”

“I was up with him at 12 and at 1 and then again at 12:30″

“How did you do that?”

“And then he slept on my chest from 12:30 until 3 and then I was up with him again.”

“It’s only 2:00 now.”

“Well, I was.”

“There he goes again.”

“I didn’t hear anything.”

“Wait. You’ll see.”


“Just wait”


(Long Pause, then the woman)



“Did you hear him?”

“I am still sleeping.”

“Shush. He is awake again.”

“I am not awake.”

“There. I knew it.”

“I am not awake. I am not planning on being awake. Tell him to go to sleep.”

“I am getting him.”

“Don’t get him. Really.”

“You’re asleep. You don’t care.”

“I want to be asleep. I do care.”

“You don’t care about anything except your sleep. I feel so bad for him.”

“He’ll go back to sleep.”

“I am going to get him.”

“He is not even crying.”

“Oh right. What do you call that?”

“Nothing. It was nothing.”

“Just wait. … There. There. Do you hear that? I am going to get him.”

“Don’t go.”

“He is crying.”

“They make noise in their sleep, you know. Just like we do. They cough and they burp and they give little cries. It doesn’t mean that we have to get up.”

“It was not a cough or a burp or a little cry.”

“It wasn’t even a cough or a burp or a little cry.”

“You don’t have to be that way you know”

“I am not that way. I am trying to help us both get a night’s sleep. We have to Ferberize this baby of ours.”

“What does that mean?”

There was this doctor and his name was Ferber and he studied babies and concluded that babies – just like grown-ups – wake up in the night and babies like …

“Wait. I heard something.”


“He is crying. Go get him. Come on. Just bring him back and he can sleep with us. You can tell him all about Dr. Ferber.”

“No. He is not going to sleep with us and besides he isn’t even crying.”

“Don’t be that way.”

“I tell you he isn’t crying.”

“Well, when he does, it’s your turn.”

“Anyway, Ferber said that babies wake up in the night and they need to learn the skill of putting themselves back to sleep. If you get up and pick them up and walk around singing “Hey Jude” they will only learn how to go back to sleep when they are being carried around and listening to John Lennon. And given that those circumstances don’t generally exist in life proper, it doesn’t do them any good.”

“What does that mean?”

“What does what mean?”

“Life proper. When does life proper get underway?”

“Soon. Now. That’s what I mean. We have to get life proper going. We have to get back to getting sleep.”

“So what do you propose to do?”

“You have to let them cry. You go in and see them after 5 minutes and give them a little pat so they know they aren’t abandoned. And then you go in after 6 minutes. But you never pick them up or take them out of the crib.”

“What if they keep crying?”

“You let them cry.”

“It’s so cruel.”

“And then after a couple of nights they realize crying is a bad strategy and they sleep all the way through the night. And so do the parents. There is a whole book about it. It’s called the Ferber Method. It’s famous.”

“And that’s your idea of life proper?”

“It’s Dr. Ferber’s too.”

“I bet he never heard the sound that a baby makes when he is scared and it’s all dark and his mother is not around.”

“I am sure he has heard it. He studied it for years.”

“He is a Nazi.”

“For Christ’s sake, he is a Doctor. Doctor Ferber.”

“The evil Doctor Ferber. He wants to make my baby cry.”

“No. He just wants you to get some sleep. He just wants me to get some sleep.”

“That is what this about. You don’t want to get up when it is your turn.”

“I don’t want anyone to get up. I want our baby to sleep at night.”

“Well, maybe he doesn’t want to sleep at night.”

“That’s our job. We have to train him.”

“So we should leave him weeping in the dark?”

“It’s worth a try. He is 8 months old and we are getting up 3 or 4 times a night. We are useless during the day…”

“Shush. Did you hear something? … Did you hear that?”

“Damn. I was just up with him. What time is it?”

“I will go.”

“No. Don’t go. Let him cry.”

“I said I would go. You just go to sleep. I will go.”

“Don’t go.”

“Get your hands off me. I am going to get my baby.”

“Let him cry. You will see. It will be better.”

“He isn’t stopping.”

“He will.”

“He still isn’t stopping. Oh, God. How can you just listen to him cry? I am getting him. Let go!”

“Wait. Just wait. Come on. Give it a chance. Let’s talk. It hasn’t even been a minute yet. You have to give it a chance. You wait 5 minutes and then you go in. Let’s just wait.”

“Can I go now?”

“It’s only been 2 minutes. … Time sure goes slow when you’ve got a crying baby doesn’t it.”

“Can I go now? Listen to him. He is miserable. He is scared.”

“Hold tight. I think he is starting to wind down.”

“You call that winding down? I am going to get him.”

“Just a little more.”

“Damn you. How can you ignore him like that? He is your son. How can you just lie there while your baby son is alone, trapped in the dark, crying and miserable.”

“He is stopping…Yes. He is stopping.”

“Answer me. How can you just lie there?”

“I am not just lying there. It’s as hard for me as it is for you.”

“Oh, that’s precious. You don’t even notice it. All you care about …”

“He is stopping. He is definitely stopping.”

“I am going to get him.”

“He is stopping. See! He is stopping. … Look. He is stopped. He is stopped. God Bless Doctor Ferber”

“Fuck Doctor Ferber. I am getting him.”

“But he is stopped. What are you doing?”

“Now he thinks I don’t love him. He thinks I gave up on him. I have to get him now.”

“He’ll forgive us. Please, sweetie. Just go back to sleep.”

“After that? Just go back to sleep? You are inhuman. You don’t care about anything except yourself.”

“Right. I am a big selfish prick. A big prick who got up at 12 and then at 1 and then again and now I don’t want you to wake up the baby.”

“I am not going to wake the baby. I am going to bring him to bed with us so he knows that his parents really do love him.”

“Come on. Please. Let’s just let him sleep. … Oh. Don’t. Come on. Shit. … Watch out, now he will wake up. Damn. Damn.”

“Just let me go. If you don’t like it, go sleep somewhere else. We will be very comfortable here. You just go find yourself a hole to go sleep in.”


“Maybe Doctor Ferber will come with you. I am sure he will be fun to snuggle with.”


“You are the one to get congratulations.”


“You found a way to get out of getting up with the baby. That was what you wanted. You got just what you wanted.”

“Oh right. Standing here in my drawers on the cold floor at 2:23 in the morning and I haven’t had any sleep and I am thrown out of bed by my wife and my wife thinks I am inhuman and I am supposed to be on trial tomorrow. You think this is just what I wanted?”

“Exactly. Now you don’t have to deal with the baby. You can leave that to the woman. She’ll do the hard work. She’ll go without sleep. It won’t matter of course because she is not on trial with a bunch of fat-assed lawyers and judges. Won’t interfere with her day. She just lounges at home and eats bonbons anyway. She isn’t a trial lawyer. She is just a bon-bon eater.”

“No. She is just a mom who isn’t getting enough sleep.”

“Don’t you patronize me.”

“Okay. You get plenty of sleep. You get plenty of sleep.”

“Don’t try to get back into this bed.”

“Come on. Give me a break. I need to get to sleep. I can’t live this way. I have to be in Court in the morning.”

“Sleep in your hole.”

“I am sleeping in my bed. You don’t like it, you sleep in a hole.”


“Fine? Where are you going?”

“I am getting out of his bed. I don’t need to tell you where I am going to sleep.”

“Are you going to sleep in the baby’s room?”

“Let go of the blanket.”

“No. I am using it. Come on. Where are going.”

“Let. Go.”

“Great. Now I have no covers. You are going to sleep with the baby. I am on trial tomorrow. Just great.”

“Its only cause you are a shit.”

“You know that if you go in there he really will wake up.”

“He will not.”

“Then why are you going? He is asleep, goddamn it. Seriously. Come to bed.”

Oh. Now I get it. That is what this is about. You want to have sex.”

“Good Lord.”

“And you are angry and pissed off and horny and so you blame the baby just cause you can’t slip in the old pecker anytime you feel like it. Well sorry. So sorry, Bud. I feel for you.”

“It’s not about sex. It’s not all about sex anyway. It’s partly about sex but it’s mostly about sleep. Come on sweetie. Get back in bed. He isn’t crying anymore.”

“I don’t want to have sex.”

“Fine. Just come back to bed.”

“You are a shit, you know.”

“I am a tired shit. We have got to get this baby to sleep through the night once in a while.”

“He is a good baby and he sleeps through the night all the time.”

“Except at night. Come on. Come back to bed. That’s better.”

“Ok. But if he cries, it’s your turn.”

“He won’t. I told him to call me Argentina”


“Don’t cry for me….”


“Good night sweetie.”

“You know. This is it.”

“Is what?”

“Life proper.”

“It’s frightening to think so.”

“Well, you better screw up your courage, bud.”