Monday, July 13, 2009

Surviving... barely

(Mom's Point of View)

Yesterday as we took Ben for a walk, one of our neighbors stopped to ask us how it was going. We replied it was going good but damn if we can’t wait to get out of this up all hours of the night phase. She told us, as has everyone else, that it goes by quickly and she almost can’t remember that phase anymore (she has a 16 month or so).

Currently living in the phase of waking up every few hours right now, I can’t imagine forgetting what the reality of this first month is like. So for my own sake, and the sake of my future self who will read this when we start thinking about baby number 2, I want to just capture a few of phrases and moments that seem to drive my day.

1. GOOD GOD. A phrase usually uttered when Ben does a fountain type spit up, a fart or burp that are heard a room over- rivaling any frat boy in college, or after a monumental poop that covers him from front to back (usually happens when we are down to one baby wipe left in the container).

2. YOU ARE KILILNG ME. A phrase held mostly for the 2am or 4am wake ups. Ben does a half hour long preamble to waking up that is punctuated with cries and whimpers that repeatedly get us out of bed to check on him but when we do he is laying serenely with his eyes closed… until we get back into bed and he starts up again.

His soft fussing then becomes a wail that shoots one parent out of bed in a frantic dash to make formula which is spilled Jackson Pollock like all over the table each night and magically cleaned up by Baubie the next day.

We hoist the kid over our shoulder and shuttle him into the other room for a feeding without waking the other parent and Baubie. As his head bobs wildly we try to get the bottle into his mouth without taking out one of his eyes. He frantically sucks on it and then within seconds falls asleep. It is now that the first YOU ARE KILLING ME is uttered. Lovingly but it’s said all the same.

We try to tickle him, undress him, bounce him around, anything in an attempt to fill his belly so that the next feeding will be prolonged for a few hours so we can sleep. It’s a long process, filled with much parental cajoling and much resisting from the milk drunk baby but we persevere until we have him as filled as we can (as proven by a well directed spit up in our direction).

We then re-swaddle and put him in what we deem to be the most comfortable position and then start rocking. Or butt taping. Or back rubbing. Or jiggling up and down. And yes I have even put on the womb sounds CD. But this child who, moments before was sound asleep during feeding, is now wide awake, squirmy and not wanting to cooperate. Sure he’ll fool us by closing his eyes for a bit, or doing his trademarked one eye open one eye closed routine. But then right after you hit the three or four minute mark of when you think you might be in the clear, he cries out, eyes fly open and you utter your second YOU ARE KILLING ME.

A ten minute feeding can stretch to an hour long dance of trying to get Ben back to bed. Once he’s finally in deep breathing mode, you hoist yourself out of the chair, walk a few steps and wait. Sometimes he’ll wake right back up but on a good night you creep back into the other room, slowly lower him to the crib, pray, pull the blanket quietly over you (I never thought this process could be loud but when you are desperately trying not to wake your kid, you even think cotton is loud) and then put your head down, still praying for him to stay asleep. If he wakes, it’s back to YOU ARE KILLING ME.

3. The Right Spot. To get Ben comfortably settled on your chest for a little snooze is a like a full blown Olympic event for him. He is like an angry inchworm, crawling across your body, throwing his head against your chest, collarbone (an unfortunate target for him that usually results in an outraged cry), head, etc. He’ll hurl himself from side to side just looking for his ‘spot’. It’s a wonder that the grandmas, Matt and I are not bruised from his excursions across our body. But once he finds that spot, he settles in and puts on his most adorable “I am an angel sleeping face” and then does not want to be moved. Ever. God forbid you change positions to get a bit more comfortable. The beast gets awoken and you quickly shift back to anything he wants just to keep him in slumber.

4. Baby Elbow. At 2am I thought there is such thing as tennis elbow but could I be getting baby elbow from the constant swaying, rocking and vibrating of young Ben? I know I am old but my limbs feel like they are falling apart, and yeesh he’s only 10lbs 7oz! I am in trouble.

5. Who will break first? It’s not been said but I know there is a silent game of who will break first when hearing Ben cry and will get up to comfort him. I usually lose this game of wills. You know it’s true Matt.

6. Driven to drink. Coffee and Wine -- So glad my boy is a formula boy.

7. Whoever smelt it dealt it. We now have someone else to blame instead of the dog. Sorry Ben.

The monster is calling… must go.


  1. Reading this just makes me want to hurry up and have another baby - Baby Ruth. Another actual baby? Not so much. Matt, you can always pull up some floor in my office for a nap...


  2. I slept there last night but cleared out before you got in this AM :)

    Thanks for the space Craig!

  3. Matt are you sleeping in offices now? Loving the blog...was just waiting to see how long the daily blog lasted... ;). Maybe weekly? ;) Hope all is well in DC. I'll be out there in Sept, I hope I get to meet Ben and to catch up.

    Hugs to you and Lori!


  4. Kim I would love to see you when you come this way. And of course I know Ben would love to meet you!