Archive for May, 2011

In search of sleep (for the little boy)

May 5th, 2011

Last night — and, let’s be truthful, this morning — I felt like the worst father ever.

We’re trying to sleep-train Evan, see, which is something of a problem because the way our schedules work, he’s nocturnal like his mommy. Because he had 24-hour care in the NICU, maybe, or because we had to feed him so often early on, or because there’s just so much interesting stuff to do, Evan winds up awake a lot at night and then sleeping mornings with La.

His doctor doesn’t like this. And so, onto a sleep schedule we go.

As if it were that easy. Which brings us to last night, when La was teaching and I was in charge. The mission seemed simple enough: Put him to bed at 7:30. That gave me a couple of hours to write or pay bills or do anything that doesn’t involve holding a small child. (He’s in a needy phase, so he wants to be held all the time. He’s also in a learning phase, so while being held he turns his head back and forth, back and forth, goggling at everything around him, especially the dogs.) Sure, he might wake to eat at 10:30, but by the time La is home and can give him a boob.

Instead, the evening became Evan crying almost non-stop for an hour (he can’t self-soothe yet). He was just so angry I’d tried to put him to sleep that he wouldn’t even calm when I held him and rubbed his back.

I gave up at 8:30. I held him, watching some Nat Geo with him, watched him during tummy time, desperately hoped he’d have a post-crying crash and fall asleep. Nope. At 9, I put him in the crib at the foot of our bed, hoping the mobile would help him drift off. Nope. By 9:30, my own eyes were closing. Time to act.

I cradled Ev in his arms, put in a pacifier. Oh, how he cried. My spirits fell. I couldn’t handle another hour of that. It just hurts, you know?

But wait! His eyelids drooped. He kept crying, but I made shushing sounds and rocked him in my arms. Slowly — very slowly — the crying slowed, and slurred, and he dropped off. I rocked and shushed, unwilling to put him down until he was well and truly out.I was lucky; he slept. Emotionally drained, I slept too.

When I left the house at 5:20 this morning, I stopped in to see Ev, since moved to his own crib in his own room by La. I was worried he’d still be angry from the night before. Hell, I was still out of sorts. I had been angry, the night before. I had thought ungenerous things at the screaming creature in my arms. But no. He smiled, delighted: There’s that guy! With the hair I like to stare at! Hey, guy!

It broke my heart. How could he be so forgiving, so happy to see me? I would do better. I will do better.

Dear Evan: Your First Spring

May 3rd, 2011

Dear Evan –

Your mommy and I had hoped — oh, how we’d hoped — to spare you the rivers of snot and various other indignities visited on us this time of year. We’d hoped you would live a life free of the daily need for Zyrtec or Benadryl. A life where you can breathe deeply and sleep soundly with nary a clogged nostril.

This past week, though, I pulled from your little button nose the biggest booger I’ve ever seen. Bigger than my own. So large I can’t imagine where it must have come from. Plus, you’ve been sneezing a bit, though not having any other trouble breathing. We think you’ve inherited our allergies to… well, anything green.

(In retrospect, it’s amazing you were conceived in March, considering our normal phlegm-heavy states that time of year.)

On the upside, you’re learning to pet your fur-brothers. Lil’ Bit will cuddle up close to you, gently, and you reach out one tiny fist, then realize there’s something soft underneath, open your hand and either close it on Bit’s fur or stroke him. He’s very patient, and without complaint accepts you even grabbing his snout, ears, whatever. La and I watch with glee, holding our breaths so as not to distract either of you. Right now, Gus and Bit are fascinating to you. No matter what they’re doing, you’ll turn at goggle at them with your huge blue eyes, lips slightly parted, entirely focused.

In other news, you’re actually beginning to giggle and laugh, something that prompts La and I to make all manner of funny faces at you. Sometimes sticking out a tongue works, and sometimes it takes more. Right now, the only thing that reliably gets a huge grin is crooning, “Yooooooouuuuu are so cuuuuuuuuute.” We may have created a monster.