Friday, 16 March 2012

Baby Sandman

Hey, Owen. For 2 weeks now I have been trying to write an entry musing on society’s attitude towards stay-at-home dads, but it has just been impossible to find the time and necessary level of alertness. The weird thing is, despite trying to renovate a house, keep up some volunteer commitments, maintain some semblance of an exercise regime, and …what else? oh yeah…keep you alive, nourished, and hopefully happy, I haven’t really felt all that “busy” – at least not in the traditional sense of the word. What I have been feeling, is exhausted. Just totally, mentally and physically bagged. I feel hungover all..the.. time. Given the last few weeks, it seems silly to write about anything other than “sleep”.

Sleep. Sweet, sweet “sleep” – yours and ours -- is a topic that has pretty much occupied your mom and I to the point of obsession since you came along. “Man, I need some sleep.” “Should he be asleep right now?” “When did he go to sleep?” “Should we wake him up?” “Is it Ok for him to sleep there?” “Why isn’t he sleeping longer?” “Christ, I need some sleep” “Why won’t he sleep?” “Seriously, why won’t he sleep?!?!?!” “I would trade him to gypsies for a clean house and 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep” “Aw for the love of…PLEASE GO TO SLEEP!!”.

When you’re asleep, we’re wondering when you might wake up,  and what we might be able to accomplish before you do. When you’re awake, we’re watching the clock and your face for any signs of sleepiness so we don’t miss any tiny window that might open up for you to have a nap. We’re always asking friends and family about their experiences with their kids’ sleep.

And we read.

Books, websites, magazine articles.. there’s no shortage of opinions on how to raise baby healthy, well-fed, and well-rested. The awful thing is, so much of the “expert” info is inconsistent at best, and downright contradictory at worst. How do you reconcile the 5’s of having “The Happiest Baby on the Block (swaddling, side, sucking, shushing, swinging… of course!) with Dr. Weissbluth’s caution to “remove the disruptive effects of external noises, lights, or vibrations”? What to do when one book advocates “attachment parenting” by having baby right there in bed with you,  and another gravely cautions against it. You should nurse him until he sleeps. No! You’re doomed if you do that.

And on it goes…

I think what really kills me even more than a lack of total sleep is the unpredictability of it all. When you have a “good” night where we actually get 3+ hours of consecutive sleep, we painstakingly try to re-create the day leading up to it: When did he eat? When did he nap? Where did he nap? What songs did I sing to him? What was I wearing? What was I thinking about?... Only to discover that the exact same conditions leads to a terrible…terrible night. One of those nights when I could almost cry in utter frustration and the thought actually occurs to me that you may NEVER. SLEEP. AGAIN.

Our next door neighbours who have a little girl a few months older than you sagely pointed out that when it comes to baby’s sleep,  “The only consistency is inconsistency”.

I’m not even sure what we used to talk about…or think about…before we became obsessed with the concept of sleep. All I know is that my hair went grey this month (seriously) and your mom commented that how much she loves you is "directly proportional" to how much you sleep.

People keep telling us, "It gets better." and "The first 6 months are the worst".  I can't believe anyone chooses to go through this more than once.


Saturday morning. You had me up at 6:30 am. Your mom went to work at 8:45. Between 9 and 10:15 we slept on the sofa together. Morning sun filling the room. You on my chest making contented murmurs and stirring gently. Better than any drug. Pure bliss.


  • We went for your 4 month immunizations today. Our bewilderment at how big you’re getting how fast notwithstanding, apparently you’re in the 50th percentile for weight  and 85th for height…er…”length”. Worst part is when you get your shots. You bawl and fix me with a look that can only say, “Seriously, Dad?!?!? You’ve got one job: keep me safe and don’t let anyone hurt me. Where were you on that one, dip s**t?”
  • You're getting better and better at using your hands and you seem to marvel at the things they can do to help you explore your world like never before. We lined the edge of your change table with pipe insulation so you wouldn't bang yourself on it. Recently, and quite by accident, you managed to pull a piece off with your hand. Now every time we lay you on there the first thing you do is jab your little digits under it, yank it off and see how much you can fit in your mouth. Not sure what's more impressive -- the physical act, or the fact that you learned how to do this by yourself. Kind of begs the question, "Is it bad for a baby to eat pipe insulation?"

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