When a baby is around four months old, he/she will often enter into something called a sleep regression. Your baby, who previously woke once, maybe twice, in the night to nurse, will suddenly freak out and need you every 90 minutes… or 60 minutes. Or five. (Slight exaggeration at five, but it feels that way.) Gone are the days of cute grunts coming from the bassinet beside the bed, a sweet request for milk when I got the chance of it.
Now, he wakes often, and he does not allow for delay.
Naps are a bust, too, which was a second blow to this whole sleep regression thing. Because if they’re not letting you sleep at night, at least you can nap when they nap, right? Wrong. Twenty minutes at a time of wrong.
Last year, Amanda came home from deployment a mere week before Christmas. I was doubled over with morning sickness that lasted all day long. Christmas cookies? Puh. I made one kind – forgotten cookies – to take to a party, but then got so sick, there was no way I could go to the party. And as it happened, no way I could eat the cookies either. And that concluded the festivities in our kitchen for 2015.
And so since I missed the flavors of the season last year, I have gotten a jump start on making Christmas cookies. It’s a tradition I look forward to every year – pulling out my old recipes, surrounding myself with cozy, familiar flavors – but that was all pre-baby, and suddenly, Christmas baking is one more way my life is totally different.
It’s a good thing these chocolate crinkle cookies can be stretched into a two-day recipe because that’s what my baby required of me. With the sleep regression comes fussiness, clinginess, a demand to be held and cuddled and entertained. You know what doesn’t pair nicely with all of that? Rolling balls of chocolatey cookie dough into balls and then tossing them oh-so-casually in powdered sugar.
But whip up this batter (super easy, uses oil, you don’t even have to soften butter) and then stick them in the fridge for at least four hours, but overnight is okay too. A full 24 hours, as it turns out, is totally fine.
If your baby wakes up after each batch goes in the oven, you can stash the batter in the fridge, again and again, to go batch by batch as your baby keeps waking and waking and waking.
If you feel like Sisyphus, and these dough balls are your boulder to push up the hill, again and again into eternity, you will not be alone.
And when you’re collecting – as I am at the moment – ways to say you’re crackling (one friend told me she felt like she could break into pieces; another compared it to feeling like a dry, crunchy leaf), you have a crinkly, crackly, fudgy, sugar-coated cookie to eat. Perhaps you’ll feel – as I did – a moment of exhaustion so dramatic and so pitiful that you go right ahead and say it: I am this crinkle cookie.
And when you’re done identifying with it, go ahead and eat a few more. When your baby sleeps (finally), eat a few more. When you’re hiding out from relatives, or shopping has you feeling “over it,” or you just want 2016 to be over already, or whatever has you feeling like a crinkle cookie, then you take your Tupperware and find a quiet place of your own, chow down, and just be sure you brush away the powdered sugar so no one knows and you therefore do not have to share.