Monday, October 09, 2006

Your conventional wisdom is crazy.

Woody's like a normal baby on steroids. Actually, Woody is JUST like a normal baby on steroids, considering that he still is being administered the steroids to help out his lungs, but that's not what I'm talking about. No, I'm referring to the fact that all he does is eat, poop, and (very) occasionally sleep, and is utterly immune to reason ("Woody, can you just give your mom and me FOUR HOURS of uninterrupted sleep? I promise we'll do many excellent things that you'll love later!"). In addition to these items, which are the typical ones that make Grandmothers cackle, we have some extra special Woody-specific issues, that make taking care of him a special challenge. For instance, the fact that the oxygen tubed in through his cannula is incredibly dry, which cracks out his nose and gives him nosebleeds. Or the fact that his hernias make him constantly constipated and sometimes visibly so, which makes him pretty angry. So Woody is a particularly difficult new kid, I think, although he's so darned cute and innocent it's not like you can get mad at him.*

The big problem we've had with him is that he just declines to sleep at night, preferring instead to sleep well during the day and then not at night. Worse, he taunts us by falling asleep easy as pie-- as long as we're holding him. As soon as we put him down and try to sneak back to bed, he's up and fussing, and we have been thwarted again.

Maggie and I have, like many new parents, thought about kids and kid issues for years. I realized over the weekend that many times when discussing these issues with other parents, we've been told something like "well, wait until you're parents, and you'll change your tune.". This conventional wisdom is, we agree, still crazy. Three examples below.

  • Item: kids in restaurants. Maggie and I have thought for a long time that it's pretty rude to bring small babies to restaurants. We cringe when they cry, we are unhappy about the disrupting effect on the other patrons, and we can't imagine why it's doing the parents any favors to not enjoy the meal and instead pay attention to the brat. But people tell us when we've complained, "oh, wait until you're a parent. You'll want to bring them out too." Our thought?

    This is crazy talk. We have no interest in bringing Woody out to some awesome restaurant. Sure, I can see exceptions to this rule, but why ruin a meal for everyone by bringing an infant? I just don't get it.

  • Item: not being able to leave the kid behind. It's a total cliche that the first time having a babysitter is really tough on the parents, and they put it off for weeks and then call home fifty times to make sure the kid is fine. We've always thought this is strange, and that when we have a kid we'll be totally fine with having a babysitter. But people tell us that we'll change our tune when we have a kid. What do we think now?

    You people are crazy. We're ready right now to go out and leave the kid behind. Anyone want to babysit? I mean, I hate to make too light of this, but having a small, demanding semi-human messing with your ability to interact with adults and otherwise have ten minutes of uninterrupted relaxation is incredibly tough. Come on down, he's really cute.

  • Cloth diapers. We've always thought they feel better, look better, and are at least environmentally (and cost) neutral, if not net beneficial, over using disposable. Yet people for years have told us that we'll never keep using cloth diapers. In fact, at least a half dozen nurses at the NICU told us 'you won't keep up with it a week,' and otherwise poo-pooed (pun intended) our desire to put Woody in the cloth diapers. Well, it's been more than a week now, and what do we think?

    Crazy talk! It's not ok to act crazy. Cloth diapers are still better looking, better feeling, and are easy as pie to use. We don't see any reason to give our money to Big Diaper, and will continue to put the good stuff on Woody.

In short, maybe we're the odd ones, maybe the people who have been talking to us for years are. And it is certainly well within the realm of possibilities that both possibilities are true. I certainly guarantee that if Woody doesn't re-arrange his waking pattern soon, Maggie and I will both be getting great sleep in a padded room.

*After two straight hours of him not sleeping, at 4 this morning, I went and begged Maggie to take over and let me get some sleep so I could go to work and be something resembling "productive." She got up, grumbling, but when she went into the living room and saw Woody sitting in his bouncy chair staring at the light fixture, she just busted out laughing because he was so cute and ridiculous. Which is the way it goes.


At 8:38 PM, Anonymous Ysa said...

I have found that Harvey really likes having his bum patted. If he begins to stir when I put him in his crib or bassinet, I stand and pat his bum or hip for a bit until he calms again. That seems to fool him into going to sleep.

That being said, Rob and I are taking turns getting the better night's sleep. Because I'm still breastfeeding, I am up every time Harvey is too, however, Rob will stay up longer to coddle Harvey back to sleep. So far it's working, but he has his moments.

I would love, love, love 4 hours of sleep. Right now I'd go for 3. Harvey wakes up, eats, stays awake for an hour, sleeps, and wants up again an hour to 2 hours later to eat again (usually an hour). Ah well.

Just remember, we'll make it through. People have been doing it for millions of years, we'll just do it too.

You guys come up here and babysit Harvey, we'll come down there and babysit Woody. A fair trade.

At 8:10 AM, Anonymous Grammie said...

The grandmothers are not chuckling as a sign of revenge but with EMPATHY. We know about sleep deprivation! It will be better soon.

At 11:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How does the last weekend of October sound? We're still planning on arriving the evening of the 27th if that works for you, and you might even get some sleep (if we send you back to our hotel while we watch the kid.)

Love you, Dad/Mimi

At 12:12 PM, Anonymous Angie T said...

Yes. It is the two of you that are crazy! Just wait 'til you find yourself giving him a cookie for lunch because he won't eat the three other option you tried to feed him. (even if it's made with whole wheat flour, has raisens and oatmeal in it- it's still a cookie)

And wait until you want to go out with friends that are in town and can't find an available babysitter. Oh, you'll be at that restaurant- crying kid an all!

As for leaving him with his first babysitter...Tell me you wanted to leave him that first night you stayed at home and he stayed at the hospital.

Maybe you're not all that crazy...

So, when do you want my babysitting services? Oh, I see you don't trust me now.? I promise I won't give him a cookie or take him out to a restaurant, and I will change a cloth diaper.

At 4:29 PM, Anonymous Heather said...

You two are not crazy, you are an inspiration!

At 7:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Big Diaper will crush you!


At 11:19 AM, Anonymous Sandy said...

I told you all in the hospital I would babysit any time. You know I'm qualified because you left him in my care for 4 1/2 months already. I miss you all terribly. See you at the shower.


At 1:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you two are crazy in love with the kid, like all us parents are, i will babysit anytime i am not working if you will have me down, hang in there, this little blessing will be sleeping thru the night before you know it, but you will be up listening for his breathing and still belosing sleep! see you at the shower, deb


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