The Two and a Half Hour Rock — Friday Fiction 2

Rus Schapiro’s startling cry could be heard two apartments over, and her father Avigdor leapt out of bed to try to rock her back to sleep. His wife Deana told him to hand over the baby, that the baby was probably hungry — it turned out that she was. About fifteen or so minutes later, Deana uttered words that turned out to be a bit prophetic — “Why don’t you rock her for a few minutes and get her to go to sleep?”

The rocking went on and on for minutes at a time, but every time Avigdor would lay Rus down in her crib, the same thing would happen — she would rub her little feet together while pushing up her head.

“Maybe it’s her diaper? I could change her diaper?”

“Sure,” said Deana, “Try the diaper!”

The diaper turned out to be extraordinarily wet. Avigdor set it aside for a later washing. His mother tried to purchase disposable diapers for them when their firstborn arrived, but he responded with a large generational poster showing all of the people who would be born and pass away in the hundreds of years that it would take for a single diaper to decompose.

Avigdor resumed with rocking, but it still had no positive impact — he rocked, put her down, and then immediately swept her up to not wake up the entire building.

“Myabe it’s the pajamas she’s wearing?” said Deana with a glimmer of inspiration.

Avigdor changed Rus out of her pajamas, and hoped that the hearts covering the pajamas would translate into sleepiness in little Rus. It did not. There was more rocking, and even some singing on Avigdor’s part when he tried to see how many of the lyrics from Suspicious Minds he could remember. It turned out to be about seventy-three percent. He did not remember the less important lyrics, he decided.

Deana sat up. “I have an idea. Maybe she just needs a different kind of sound to put her to sleep. What about those recordings you have from the Watergate hearings?”

“It’s worth a try,” Avigdor replied.

Deana set up the reel-to-reel player and put on one of the trial recordings.

The testimony went on and on, and Avigdor stopped where he was, mid-rock.

“You’re not going to believe this,” he said, “but I think she’s finally asleep.”

They lay her down in her crib and she slept there peacefully for the next two and a half hours.

To think they had H.R. Haldeman to thank for their baby getting to sleep.


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