Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Alison Returns to Work, Part 2

Today started my second week of being an official stay at home dad. Fifteen minutes ago I lay her down in her crib and she fell asleep almost immediately. Up until recently she has resisted naps, and would only fall asleep in our arms. I’m not naïve enough to think I have the magic touch, I just think that at three months babies begin to settle into more defined routines. So I am going to try, over the next couple of weeks, to figure out what her preferred routine is, and if that fails I’ll force her into a routine that is more convenient to me. A lot may depend on when she initially wakes up and if Alison is able to feed her before she leaves. Today she fed her around 7:00 and when I put her down she was not acting hungry. I expect when she wakes up from her nap she will be in a grouchy mood and will be even more upset when I offer her a bottle rather than a boob. (Which reminds me, I should start warming up the bottle now so it’s ready.)

The first week was easy at times and difficult some of the time. I spent my entire morning trying to predict her moods so she wouldn’t start crying. The problem is, one moment she’ll be laughing and smiling then I’ll turn away for just a second and she’ll start crying. Sometimes I would try to feed her and she would scream louder, but I wouldn’t know if it was just the bottle / boob issue. But by the end of the week I was beginning to figure it out. She really didn’t want a bottle but she was hungry. So I would give her the bottle, she would push it away, I’d wait a few seconds and try again. Eventually she would latch on and suck away while staring up at me with red, tear filled eyes.

Last night, for the first time, Alison and I went out together and we had a babysitter come in. Actually we had two babysitters, to women Alison works with who are both registered nurses. I was definitely more relaxed having two RN’s watching over our angel than a local high school student. I was told that they had no trouble feeding Zoe her bottle. In fact she drank a lot. I’m thinking that maybe I should hire them full time. But the point is that they took the bottle with no problem, which means that maybe she is actually getting used to the bottle and it will be easier to take walks with her knowing I won’t have a battle every time she gets hungry. And the fact that I successfully predicted that she was tired enough to go to sleep before she fell asleep on one of her toys, and that she actually lay down in her crib without crying or fighting (too much) means that I might actually get through this without going crazy. But here I am, being naïve.

I realize that I still have three and a half hours to go before Alison gets home, and that one good half morning is not really a benchmark I should base my future on, but for the moment I can pretend that I have this baby thing under control. In fact when Alison goes back to work full time I might even be able to handle Zoe for a full day.

By the time I posted this at the end of the day on Tuesday I had made it through seven days. I can’t say it will be easy, but so far I haven’t had a major crisis. But I know there will plenty of fodder for future blogs in the days to come. Stay tuned.

I would also like to welcome Charlotte "Charlie" Elaine Savitz, born May 23rd to Amy and Andy Savitz, and Audrey Madeline Sonta, born May 25th to Shari and Bill Sonta. Congratulations!

See photos of Zoe at http://picasaweb.google.com/dbglass.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Poo, et. al.

There must be a study out there that links the birth of a child to a physiological alteration in parents. No, I’m not talking about the many well documented changes that happen to a woman when she gives birth, but the lesser known and studied change that allows one to go from gagging at the thought of certain bodily excretions to scrutinizing the color and consistency of their child’s poop. I’m not saying that parents necessarily enjoy it doing this, although I’m sure many do, but that this task becomes routine so soon after birth. For example, I am amazed at how quickly I found myself doing snuger patrol, our cute name (everything has to have a cute name) for digging into Zoe’s pinky sized nose without gagging. Let’s be honest, snot is universally disliked (maybe even more so than poop, but since I don’t want to lower the standards of this blog I’ll leave that philosophical question for another place) but it’s almost fun twisting a tissue into a petite spade and digging for tiny treasures.

I have to admit that before baby came along the thought of having to deal with our baby’s secretions had me, um, worried. I tend not to like gross things, and although I wouldn’t say I have a weak stomach, a few of the things that would be leaking (or jettisoning) from our baby had the potential to gross me out. It doesn’t help that babies have no manners. When they sneeze they don’t cover their cute little mouths with their cute little hands, so you always get a cute little shower. I don’t know about all babies, but Zoe poops like an old man in a public restroom, long and loud. Like she invented pooping. But instead of grossing me out, like when the bum on the subway did this, I laugh at how cute our baby is.

Occasionally there are not-so-cute events, such as the so-called blow out. This is when your baby poops and it shoots up the back of her diaper and up her back. I know what you’re thinking; gross and can we change the subject? I promise to wrap this up quickly, but for those soon to be parents out there I wanted to pass along a few pieces of advice. First, always bring an extra outfit. Always! Second, dads, always claim incompetence. You may be mocked, sometimes scorned, and you may suffer, but there really is no question, moms just do a better job changing diapers. For example, one middle-of-the-night change I put the diaper on backwards. Alison has never put a diaper on backwards.

Parents devote a huge amount of time into the inspection and discussion of what is coming out of their child. I never really understood why this was until I became a parent, but if someone were to ask me I would probably tell them that our child’s various outputs are an indication of her health. Truth is, it’s just an excuse to avoid those tedious discussions about politics, art, etcetera that childless couples must endure. Trust me, it’s fun to talk about diapers and your child’s pooping ability’s. It’s like grade school playground talk for adults.

I think this is a topic that could stretch on for quite a while. I haven’t even gotten onto the subject of throw-up down the back of my shirt. Or the constant flow of drool, also down the back of my shirt. And since we have a girl I don’t get to discuss boys peeing issues. But I have years ahead of me and have just touched the tip of the diaper-berg. I will leave something for future blogs, when I return with Tales from the Diaper Pail.

See photos of Zoe at http://picasaweb.google.com/dbglass.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Alison Returns to Work or Yikes, I’m On My Own!: Part 1

This may sound cliché, but wow, did Zoe’s first three months go by quickly. Really, I’m sitting here trying to get my mind around the fact that she is already three months old. My Zoe is three months old! I realize Alison and I have been watching her change daily. We notice that she is sleeping longer at night (but not yet through the night). She seems to be trying to grab things (but isn’t quite, yet). She is smiling often and has a very cute though abbreviated laugh. She’s filling out and has actually grown out of some of her cloths. And suddenly her head looks big. But it’s still hard to believe that she has been around for three months. And now Alison is heading back to work and I’m going to have to change all the diapers and try to get her to drink from a bottle and dress her. These are things Alison usually does. I suppose I could just keep her in her PJ’s, but there really is no getting around diaper changes and feedings. It’s the feedings I’m really worried about. Right now she really likes the boob. We give her the boob all the time. If she’s fussy she gets the boob. If she cry’s she gets the boob. If we want her to sleep we give her the boob. I don’t have a boob. When I’ve tried to give her a bottle she screams loudly and only takes the bottle after fifteen or twenty minutes of crying and pushing it away.

I know Zoe likes me. She laughs when I play with her, and she seems to like being held by me, at least most of the time. But sometimes she wants her mother, and only her mother. I can spend fifteen or twenty minutes trying to sooth her, holding her this way and that, but she’ll cry until the moment I hand her to Alison. There will be a sniffle or two, then calm. And this is before the boob even makes an appearance. On the few occasions when Alison has left me alone, I have had to deal with long periods of crying because nothing I do seems to satisfy her. I spend the entire time pacing across the living room with her in my arms, watching the clock, just waiting for Alison to get home.

It is now Sunday afternoon. Tomorrow morning Alison returns to her job. Early on we had talked about preparing Zoe—and me—for this day. I was supposed to start feeding her regularly from a bottle a month ago, to get her used to it, but haven’t. We were going to have her sleeping in her crib by now, but she seems to like sleeping either in our arms or in our bed (with us). And I was really hoping Zoe would be toilet trained by the time Alison returned to work, but she doesn’t even seem to recognize where the bathroom is. I’m sure everything will go fine. I’m not so worried about taking care of her, but that she will become upset early and I will spend four hours trying to calm her down. I expect that the first week or so will be the hardest, while we both adjust, then things will get easier and we can start really having some fun. But just in case, this is an open invitation for visitors to come by in the mornings for the next month or so, preferably visitors who like to sooth crying babies.

See photos of Zoe at http://picasaweb.google.com/dbglass.