Ages 12 Weeks & 25 Years * 2 Players
After a middle-of-the-night feeding session, the player who is "it" must get both players to sleep as quickly and for as long as possible, without nursing the other player. The other player must try to delay falling asleep by crying at carefully spaced intervals, forcing the "it" player to get out of bed repeatedly. But be careful: if the game goes more than four rounds, both players end up in the Rocking Chair. The player who feels the sanest at the end of the game wins!
1 Small Basement Apartment
2 Pairs of Pajamas (sizes 3-6 months and Misses' M)
1 Swaddling Blanket (color varies)
1 Solid Wood Glider Rocker
2 Digital Clocks (optional)
Rules of Play
Turn off the lights in the playing area. Choose one player to be the "Mom" and one player to be the "Baby." Then decide who will be "it," keeping in mind that Mom is always "it." Select appropriate pajamas. Mom scatters the pacifiers around the apartment, and wraps Baby in the swaddling blanket. Mom places Baby face up in his crib. (If Mom is new, she may choose to rock Baby in the rocker for several minutes beforehand.) Mom gets into bed and closes her eyes. And remember--no sleep aides of any kind!
The youngest player goes first, and play continues through the early morning.
1. Baby starts to cry. Mom must get out of bed, walk to the crib, and offer Baby a pacifier. If she cannot find a pacifier right away, Mom has the option of offering Baby her finger, but this will result in penalty points. (Mom can attempt to score Bonus Independence Points for encouraging Baby to suck his own fingers).
2. When Baby seems soothed, Mom may return to bed and close her eyes.
3. Baby decides--Sleep or Cry. If Baby cries, Mom must get out of bed again, and attempt to soothe Baby. If Baby sleeps, Mom must lie in bed, wide awake and listening, unable to relax because she's sure that Baby will cry any minute.
Keeping Track of Rounds
If the game continues for more than four rounds (that is, if Mom has gotten out of bed at least four times), both players must move to the rocking chair. It is not strictly necessary to count rounds or watch the clock--Mom will have a sense of what round it is by how exhausted and helpless she feels.
If Nothing Works
If Mom is unable to soothe baby by offering a pacifier or a finger, or by patting, or by trying a combination of the two, she will get increasingly frustrated. Mom will begin to feel anger towards Baby. This is acceptable, as long as it does not interfere with gameplay. For instance, if instead of getting out of bed, Mom yells at crying Baby to "just go to sleep already!", she will be disqualified. Because, you know, he's just a baby. Both players must move immediately to the rocking chair, and Mom will feel like shit.
Disqualification Note: Mom may be replaced by Dad or Grandmother, subject to their availability. However, any lost sleep on the part of the replacement must be factored into the final total, and may affect Mom's feelings of competence with regard to nighttime parenting.
Both players must stay in the rocking chair until Baby is completely asleep, and Mom is completely exhausted.
Ending the Game
In the morning, both players assess the situation. The player who is smiling, cooing, and generally happy with the world wins.
If (by some miracle) Baby decides not to play, or is being cared for by someone else, a sensitive Mom can still play Sleep or Cry. It's simple: Mom makes sure that the apartment is as quiet as possible, gets into bed and closes her eyes. As soon as she starts to relax, she must imagine that she hears crying. If she really listens, there's nothing and all is well. But the sound of Baby's cries will still echo in her ears. Then Mom can determine whether she will try to dismiss the imagined sounds and sleep--or if she will let the tiredness and frustration get to her, and end up crying herself.
Note: As far as anyone can tell, the Baby always wins.