Hi, Finn. We had a good couple of days this week. On Sunday and Monday, you sacked out for a good long time after the 2AM feeding, allowing your mother and I the luxury of four hours’ uninterrupted sleep. Of course, a third night was more than we could hope for. Last night it was as if you were possessed by a demon who would not let you rest before you screamed yourself hoarse. No amount of rocking, walking, singing, shushing, binky, boob, commandment, cajoling, pleading, praying, swaddling or changing would calm you to the point where we could coax you to sleep. When we were able to get you to calm down, you closed your eyes for no longer than thirty seconds before shaking yourself awake and commencing to scream again. It was about 6AM before I was finally able to get you to settle, and when you did sleep, it happened like I clicked off a light switch. To keep you from waking Mama, who needed a break after spending the whole day with you, I cradled you on my chest and fell asleep downstairs on the couch with the light and TV on, unable to move for fear of waking you again.
On your good days, it’s alternately comforting and terrifying to have you stretched out in bed between us, because I love to know you are safely asleep, dreaming whatever it is newborn babies dream of, and afraid you might wake up crying for milk or a new diaper or just for the heck of it. This conflicting set of emotions guarantees I am awake for at least an hour after we put you down, ears cocked to any sign of unhappiness or distress. Because when you start crying, you make the Baby Jesus cover his ears in sheer auditory pain: changing your diaper is like climbing into an air raid siren to prepare a tax return. It’s loud, it’s messy, and someone will feel like they got cleaned out when everything is finished.
Your cord hasn’t come off yet, which is still a little gross. Mama and I have this thing about bellybuttons. It’s more than a thing, really; it’s sort of an allergic, nervous reaction to touching the whole area, ours or someone elses’. Your cord is like a little black snakeskin stuck to your tummy, and it gives me the heebies when I have to change your diaper. We have to do “cord care”, which is supposed to help it dry out and fall off, but it’s still there, taunting us. Cord care is essentially just wiping it with a little alcohol and trying not to think about how it must feel for you; luckily you can’t form words yet and say things like quit knocking the damn thing around, OK? it feels like it’s still attached to my frickin’ lung, and it’s more than a little uncomfortable, jerk. It will be a banner day when the cord does come off, because Mama and I both get grossed out just looking at it. And, we are obviously hoping that you will be an innie, because outies are just nasty.
You do have one very interesting new habit you’ve picked up that makes me laugh every time it happens. Your father has, for as long as he can remember, sneezed in threes. One, two, a pause, and then three. Sometimes four or five, if I’m wading through a field of ragweed or dusting under the bed, but always at least three. My genetics have apparently passed this strange rule on to you, with an absolutely endearing, heart-melting twist: You will sneeze that little baby sneeze, wrinkling up your face as they hit you like bolts from the blue, one, two, three, and then in perfect cadence directly afterward, an exclamation: Agh! as if to say, ain’t that some shit?
Papa’s new mission in life is to get that on tape somehow.