Yesterday was my first day alone with Julian. It was, let’s be honest, hell.
It started off well enough. Jen nursed him at about 5:30 before showering and getting ready to leave. I dozed with Julian until about 7:15 and then showered while he slept. He finally woke up around an hour later, fussy. I fed him and held him, and he calmed down.
We have a Fisher Price Newborn Rock ‘n’ Play Sleeper and I love the damn thing. May be one of the best baby gifts we got. He doesn’t seem to mind the harness at all, and we can keep him right beside us when he’s not nursing or taking a bottle. He can look around at things in the room, and when his limbs are active, he can even set the thing to rocking all by himself–although I doubt he’s learned that yet.
So, under the Old Normal, what would happen was, one of us would put him into it after a feeding, a walk, a trip out, or a simple cuddle session. He’d settle in. If he was in a quiet alert state, he’d take in his surroundings and bop his arms and legs around. If fully awake and engaged, he’d coo and giggle and smile. Sometimes, though not often, he’d fall asleep and snooze in there. But he doesn’t sleep much during the day, which is fine because he sleeps well overnight, so he doesn’t sleep often in the Sleeper. He just … abides. Like that one guy from that movie.
Baby abides, baby grooves, baby fusses.
Yesterday’s Normal was much different because The Mommy was gone, and The Baby was not approving of that. It started off normal. I put him in the Sleeper, which we also call the Pod, and he abided. Abode? He smiled and cooed, he bopped his arms and legs around, and he seemed content, so I left him there and started working. I could see him in my peripheral vision, so every time he shifted in his seat, I turned and talked to him a bit.
Then I got up for more coffee, and he fussed. He didn’t soothe himself, so I picked him up and held him. Again, this is pretty normal for him and probably for most newborns. I can usually hold him until he calms down and put him back into the Pod. Not yesterday.
From that point on (probably around 9:30), he wouldn’t take to the Pod at all, not once. I could not put him in there without screaming and wailing and thrashing of limbs. Nor could I put him down into his co-sleeper in the bedroom. He had to be touching me at all times. He sacked out on my shoulder for a while; he generally loves that and sleeps very well there, in that sack-of-potatoes position.
When I needed the bathroom, I put him back into the Pod. Again, I can normally do that, but not yesterday. The minute I got up, he started screaming.
So I fed him a couple of times and tried to set him down. He wouldn’t have it; he screamed and screamed and screamed. At 11, I took him out for a walk, and that calmed him, but only for a bit. He ate right after we came home, very well.
Allow an interlude. One thing that went really well yesterday, actually, was the feeding. I was worried he’d fuss a lot if he didn’t have Jen around, but he didn’t. If he was hungry, he latched right on to the bottle and sucked and sucked.
We also just switched bottles. We were using a First Years BreastFlow nurser, but we switched instead to a Lifefactory bottle, with a more traditional style nipple, and that worked very well. I was having trouble getting him to latch well on the First Years BreastFlow. Every time he sucked from it, he would leak milk out his mouth. We wasted a lot and he was frustrated. The Lifefactory solved all of that.
Back to the Chronology …
So he ate until about 12:30, but then by 1:00 he was screaming again.
I held him in sack-of-potatoes for as long as my arm and shoulder held out, but then I had to put him into the Bjorn. Although Jen has sat with him in the Bjorn before, I had only ever walked around with him in it, so trying this was new.
He conked out for a while and I took that time to call my mom and catch up with her.
I held him that way for over an hour until he woke up and made rooting motions with his head and mouth. He ate and ate and ate, and then when he was in post-noshing hiccup mode, I put him back in the Bjorn and took him for a second walk.
It was the late afternoon that nearly broke us both. By this point he was exhausted and totally overstimulated. He continued to eat well, but nothing else I tried would calm him down. I couldn’t soothe him in the Bjorn or in my arms or over my shoulder. He screamed with a wet diaper, a dry diaper, in the Pod, in the co-sleeper, in the Boppy, in my arms, on my lap, in the Bjorn.
I finally thought I’d remove him from most stimulation and try to soothe him with calm and quiet. He tends to relax more in the bedroom than the living room because it’s a quieter, darker space with less to look at and get distracted by. I put him into the co-sleeper and sat in the rocker next to it with a book, some water, and my phone. Jen was leaving work, so I wanted to stay connected to the phone in case she texted me with train updates.
It took a few tries, but he eventually took a pacifier. He sucked for a while and fell asleep. But unfortunately he only slept for 15 minutes. He woke up and screamed. I got him to take the pacifier again, and I thought he was going to sleep again, but then a cat puked near the bed and that upset him … and he screamed.
At that point, Jen was due home in an hour, so it was just hold on to him and try to keep the screaming down. I just held him tight in my arms and walked around the apartment for an hour. (It was dark and cold out at this point, so I didn’t want to take him outside.)
OHmygod, MOMMY. Thank Hell.
A little after 6:30, Mommy Angel came home to her exhausted boys, and I took a long-needed potty break. Apparently, Julian caught her scent as she prepared to nurse him and let out a long whimper. He nursed for what seemed like two hours and then slept for nearly 12 hours straight.
Speaking of straight, I went straight for the straight rye whiskey. Rittenhouse 100 proof, on the rocks. I don’t know who enjoyed his drink more, baby or Daddy.