For those of you who don’t know, Hamburglar McCloud still likes to yell at his dad while I’m at work. Mr. Adventure says the wee babe is yelling to let his dad know that he is displeased that dad is not mom.
The text messages I tend to receive from Mr. Adventure while I am at work during the week are sad. And funny. And hilarifying. Mondays are the best/worst. For example:
Mr. Adventure: Baby hates me.
Me: He doesn’t hate you. He just feels comfortable expressing himself around you.
Later in the day:
Mr. Adventure: Fuck yeah! Puke in my ear.
Mr. Adventure: Oh my fucking God.
Mr. Adventure: He won’t stop. It’s ridiculous. When are you getting home?
Me: Around 3
Mr. Adventure: I’m going to cry. Or bash my head against the wall. Or both.
Don’t worry. When I got home yesterday, they were both fine. Mr. Adventure was neither crying nor bashing his head against the wall, but I could hear Hamburglar crying from the driveway and Mr. Adventure was sitting on the couch with a blank look on his face, bouncing the babe in his arms. It’s the same look I wore when I couldn’t get our favorite baby to stop crying when we first brought him home from the hospital.
Mr. Adventure had been researching nonstop baby crying before I got home, and he came across a great post on the Pregnant Chicken website. For those of you unfamiliar with Pregnant Chicken, I am in love with her. She has great advice, like, “Shake a martini, not a baby!” And the linked post talks about PURPLE crying, which is apparently totally normal and stands for Peak of crying, Unexpected, Resists soothing, Pain-like face, Long-lasting, Evening. You should totally read it.
I think that, especially when you are faced with a tiny being who is screaming himself purple and is inconsolable, it’s comforting to know that you are not alone and that it is, allegedly, normal. She also gives tips on how to maintain your sanity. From the practical (Put the baby down in a safe place and go pee. Everything seems better when you're sitting on the toilet.) to the fun (Find one of those little old ladies that stop you in the mall and tell you that these are the best days of your life and give them the screaming baby. Fun fun, Motherfucker.) to the hilarious (Draw a moustache with eyeliner on your baby's upper lip so they look like an angry dandy while they cry). If you read that post, you will see why I am now in love with her. And it's not just because she spells moustache the same way I do.
I need sleep. I like sleep. The first couple of days after we brought Hamburglar home from the hospital and I wasn’t getting enough sleep were the worst. As long as I get at least 6 hours and a cup of coffee, I am okay. Pre-baby, I needed 8-9 hours, but was not a daily coffee drinker. I think McCloud knows I need to sleep, because he sleeps at night. And I am so glad.
Infant sleep is one of the (many) things I didn’t really read about when I was pregnant because I figured I would do whatever came naturally to me. But I also read. A lot. And I stumble upon things all the time. I read an article a while ago that suggested sleep patterns are inherited from parents. Mr. Adventure seems to have inherited his mother’s insomnia (he was allegedly an insomniac as a baby. But he was a “good” baby, which I guess means he didn’t cry.) while the wee babe Hamburglar seems to have inherited my super awesome sleep patterns. Why do you care whether infant sleep is inherited? Because it helps lay the foundation for the realization that infant sleep “training” is bullshit. Your baby will sleep when he sleeps and there isn’t really anything you can do about it.
I think SweetMadeleine says it way better than I ever could, though. “Infant/toddler sleep is erratic, unpredictable and doesn’t conform to our expectations. Children’s sleep habits have evolved to best serve the child, even if they don’t make sense to the parent. Adjust your expectations, not your child’s sleep habits (within reason).”
I’m super lucky. Hamburglar normally falls asleep between 7:30 and 8:15p. Occasionally he will stay awake as late as 9p. Sometimes he wakes up around 11p and needs to eat. Sometimes he sleeps until 1 or 2a and wants food. A lot of the time he sleeps straight through until 4 or 5 in the morning, which is when I get up for work and his morning feeding. Those nights are my favorite. Like this morning. I actually woke him up to feed him. Well, I did what’s called dream feeding, where I pick him up without waking him and start feeding him. He normally wakes up when I burp him, then I change his diaper and finish feeding him and put him back to sleep. It’s nice when I wake up before him because it gives me a morning without crying. On both our parts. And since I fed him a little to begin with, I have time to let the dogs out and feed them and pour myself a cup of coffee before I go back to feeding the baby his breakfast.
I’m a big fan of the Whatever Works parenting. Though, when Mr. Adventure and I had a disagreement about comfort feeding a few weeks ago, which ended when he told me I was “too educated and too liberal” to be a good parent. It got me laughing. And it is still my favorite thing anyone has ever said to me in an argument. Or possibly period. It’s funny, though, having a child with someone. I mean, there are all sorts of new things to discover you disagree on together. Before it was things like, “That’s a weird way to fold a towel” and “Dear Christ! Haven’t you ever folded a fitted sheet before!” (my fitted sheet “folding” is more rolling it into a ball and shoving it in the cupboard…).
We agree on the big stuff, like when to give your kid their first pocket knife and how old Hamburglar should be before we let him walk to the store or park or whatever by himself for the first time, but little things come up. Like the comfort feeding thing. I mean, Mr. Adventure clearly can’t comfort our favorite baby the same way I do. But I’m sure he will find something that works for him. For both of them, really. But it’s good to talk about things that bother you or things you don’t understand with your partner. I think, especially with all the social media going on, people just take for granted that everyone knows what they are doing and why. But people can’t read minds. At least, I don’t think they can.
This morning, after our typical text exchange of “what time did he stop eating/maybe he’s still hungry” after I asked what’s wrong, Mr. Adventure said, “I don’t know. He’s just angry.”
Me: He could still be hungry. He’s been eating a lot.
Mr. Adventure: Wow, he just fountain puked everywhere. Well that answers that…
Me: Nice. And gross. Love!
Mr. Adventure: Yup. Love
So, I guess, what I’m trying to say is:
- Feed your baby
- Don’t shake him when he cries. Or when he doesn't cry. Just don't do it.
- Find humor in the new things you disagree on
- Have plenty of burp rags for cleaning up vomit
- Use a mild soap so your skin doesn’t get irritated from all the showers you will be taking
- Love each other. A lot.