During the early weeks of the boys' lives, my sister and I texted each other in the middle of the night, a life line after dark. When the babies started sleeping more regularly, our late night/early morning texting stopped. We talked on the phone during the day, comparing notes. The boys were at it again. If one slept through the night for four days, then on the fifth day was up from 1am-3am, the other had done the same thing. We joked that they were talking behind our backs.
I thought of the Twilight Bark one night as I was lying on the floor of the baby's room. He had been up several times already. I was determined that he would not wake again. I did not dare get up until I knew he was in a deep sleep. So I shut my eyes, curled up under a blanket and attempted to relax. That didn't happen. My hips and neck ached from lying on the floor, my arm kept falling asleep, my mind would not turn off. I thought that there must be parents all over the world, maybe even down the street, that were doing the exact same thing at this moment. I thought of my sister. Was she lying on the floor at this very moment too? I imagined that our boys were communicating in some cosmic cousin way.
It was then that I recalled the Twilight Bark. Here was the scenario: my baby would cry out his message in North Carolina, setting off a chain reaction of babies crying all the way to Ohio, where my nephew would receive it. I thought this must work for parents too. We are stretched out on bedroom floors lying motionless, awkwardly sitting in rocking chairs at an angle because the baby stopped crying if you lean to the left, spooning a little one in a twin bed with your back against the bed rail. We are all awake, willing our children to sleep. So, I send out a silent message to my sister, "I am awake, are you awake too?" I imagine my message is received by the dad down the street that is pacing back and forth in his kitchen with his newborn daughter, and he passes it on to another parent keeping vigil in the night, and the chain continues. My Twilight Bark message makes it all the way to Ohio, where my sister is awake, barely rocking in her glider, afraid to move, with my sleeping nephew curled against her.
Now, when I find myself on the floor of the nursery in the middle of the night, I think of the Twilight Bark and send a out a little silent message. It gives me comfort to think of the other parents and caregivers doing what I am doing, that my sister may be lying awake on the floor 456 miles away. Try it sometime. It just might work for you too.