You’re over three weeks old, little girl, and there are
days early mornings when it feels like you’ve been here forever. I started writing this entry three days ago, and I’ve edited it at least twice a day since then, but it never gets completed, because I’ve been busy tending to the needs of our little family and finding time to get some sleep.
Your grandparents came to visit last week, and I was afraid Grandma was going to blow a gasket if she had to wait another day to get you in her hands. Apart from the wonky sleeping schedule and the screaming, they were really happy to meet you, and I think they were even more sad to leave. We, however, were zombies, so I’m afraid we were less than perfect hosts during their stay. I understand the appeal of being a grandpa now: You can come, visit, hold the baby for just as long as you please, and when it begins to fuss or poop, you just hand it off to the parents and run for the Buick in the driveway. What a sweet deal!
You are doing well this week after a little bit of a scare on Sunday. Friends with toddlers told us we’d become obsessively interested in your pooping schedule, and I remember chuckling and nodding my head, but I didn’t realize just how important your poop would be. We have celebrated color change, worried over texture, sampled smell, and Mama charts your frequency with the precision of a Swiss watch. When you stopped pooping on Saturday, we got worried, hoping your once-regular deposits would commence, but there was nothing all day. Early on Sunday morning, the pediatrician told us in a sleepy, slightly irritated voice to relax and wait it out, and we hung up feeling embarrassed and sheepish. But you still would not poop! Breakfast came and went; lunch came and went. After a snack, a burp, and a nap sometime between the football games, your intestines started burbling, and then you let loose with the hugest poo that a baby ever produced. After we changed your diaper and wiped down your entire backside, you crashed out like you’d just lifted a refrigerator up a flight of stairs.
As far as the sleep thing goes, it seems like every time I think we may have you in some kind of a groove, you have some kind of new meltdown that throws me off. Your current schedule goes something like this: Breakfast at eight, a nap until lunchtime, and afterwards you’ll crash until three or four. After first dinner, you’ll fuss or doze until second dinner, and then fuss and doze some more until the 11 o’clock news, after which you’re down like a sack of potatoes until five or six AM. You must really like the early morning newscast, because it’s impossible to get you back to sleep soundly before breakfast.
We are currently enjoying a magical sleeping solution I am sure will only last a week: The Baby Bjorn. The first time we tried it, you screamed your fool head off. Undaunted, we tried again on Sunday, and after fifteen minutes of quiet consideration, you passed out cold. I was then able to walk you around the house for another three hours, dead asleep, head mashed into my chest, while running some basic errands. It was a revelation. Mama used it this afternoon, and the effect was the same.
I thought we may have also made a breakthrough with the feeding schedule a couple of days ago. You had a fantastic day, a regular schedule, and you slept quietly through the night with only the briefest of feedings. The next day, everything went completely to shit. You would not settle, your schedule was all over the place, and none of us got much sleep. And every time I think I’ve found a good way of calming you down, it fails to work when I need it the most: at 3AM after you’ve been up for an hour, restless and refusing to close your eyes. I can pace a groove in the floor with you, I can rock you until my knees fall off, I can sing until I’m hoarse, I can rub your head until your hair falls out. You look up at me with that peaceful, I’m very very sleepy face, and I’m thinking you’re about ten minutes away from passing out completely, and then you get that worried look on your face, the one that says Hey, I’m supposed to be screaming bloody murder right now for no particular reason, and I know it’s going to be at least another half an hour to calm you down again. We’ve had to continue wrapping you up like a Hot Pocket so that you won’t get all phantom limb on us and scratch up your face while you’re sleeping; this is why you’re wearing socks on your hands. It also stops you from scaring yourself awake at night, something you tend to do when you’re unwrapped.
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: this is a young man’s game.