Wednesday, December 31, 2008
A report from the front lines:
We began HG's sleep training earlier this evening. Yes that's right, we're doing this on New Year's Eve. I guess we figured the day doesn't have any real significance to us at this point - we can't very well take the baby out partying - and since our neighbors will most likely be awake until midnight anyway, at least it won't keep them up.
All in all, it hasn't been too terribly bad... so far. Not that Hank isn't putting up a fight. KG put him down at around 7:10 and he cried/screamed off and on (mostly on) for the next hour-and-a-half. As dictated by Dr. Richard Ferber's sleep training book, KG would briefly enter his room every ten minutes to say soothing, kind things, but never to pick him up. Meanwhile, I made dinner (this is not part of Ferber's method but it's a good idea nonetheless if your spouse is in there fighting the good fight). At 8:45 HG finally fell asleep and KG and I sat down to dinner, bleary-eyed and dazed but hopeful. Ten minutes later the little guy woke up again, cried for a 3 or 4 minutes, then whimpered himself to sleep. He hasn't woken up since.
It's a little after 10:00 now. KG's taking a bath. Next time the baby wakes up it's my turn to take a round.
As KG aptly put it, this whole thing is sort of like lancing a wound. There's an acute, hard to take sting right up front, followed by a long, LONG sought after relief. Right now, I'm somewhere in between. I'll try to keep posting as the night goes on.
Friday, December 26, 2008
So we'd had our sights set on Wednesday the 24th for about a week or two, though it had nothing to do with Christmas Eve. Instead (secularists that we are, more or less) we had chosen that night to finally "Ferberize" Henry. For those of you who haven't heard of it, the term refers to a way of teaching babies to go to sleep on their own. There's a whole lot to it, but in a nutshell what you do is put the baby down at night and let him cry it out, checking up on him at regular intervals. It usually takes three or four days to complete.
As difficult as the process was likely to be emotionally, KG ad I both were jonesing for it. As I mentioned in a recent post, HG keeps us up quite a bit at night. It's literally been months since either of us has had a truly good night of sleep. Those of you who speak to me often can testify that I've become a pale imitation of my former self. I'm sure KG would say something similar. We're both on a two-week break for the holidays so we'd picked Wednesday, hoping to have a little vacation left when we were done. Of course, we also thought it'd be nice for HG in the long run. I can't imagine he gets much rest waking up every hour or so.
In the end, we didn't get the chance. Early Wednesday evening, I noticed a persistent wheezing coming from the baby, like his wind-pipe was constricting. As I'm wont to do, I didn't really digest it at first. That kind of wheezing is a scary sound, sure, but it wasn't so bad at that point and I think I was just hoping it'd go away. Nobody wants to see their baby sick.
When the sound persisted, I called the pediatrician's office. The doctor on call that night is probably my favorite in the group. She's kind of young and when we'd first met her we'd had our doubts, but she really seems to know her stuff and she's always as nice as can be. Lucky for everyone, Henry obligingly made the wheezing sound as soon as she got on the phone. The doctor quickly identified it, telling me HG had the croup and loading me up with various instructions. Hoping against hope - and with no little amount of selfishness - I asked if we could still sleep train him. Definitely not, she told me. It wasn't incredibly serious, but we needed to help him recover first. We set about doing that.
Our main task involved running a hot shower in the bathroom and taking him in there to breathe in the steam (HG snapped the photo to the left immediately after opening the bathroom door). We did this again and again and again over the next day or so, for twenty minutes at a time. Henry was an absolute trooper throughout, so much so that I keep thinking about it. It's the kind of thing that can make you like your baby as a person, on top of all the love you feel. Honest to God, he only made one complaint the whole time, early on when we stupidly took him in there with all kinds of warm clothes on (once we figured it out and got him down to his diapers he grew calm and happy again). Treatment after treatment, he'd be in there all red-faced and sweaty just smiling away at us. I'm a grown man and I honestly think he handled those weird conditions better than I did.
As of today, he's doing better - still wheezing, but definitely less so. We're lucky I suppose, as I think he only caught a mild case. Hopefully, he'll be through it in a day or two.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
HG's laughing now, not just happy bleats but real and true giggling. It's been going on for a couple of weeks but every time I try to film him he sees the camera and stops short. Today I finally managed to get some very brief footage before he noticed me. It felt like a UFO sighting or something.
To the tape!
Friday, December 12, 2008
HG gets up a lot at night, an average of perhaps 10 to 15 times. Obviously this means that KG and I get up a lot too. We're planning to "sleep train" him any day now so we're hoping that these crazy nights will soon be nothing but a blurry memory. At present it's pretty brutal. Still and all, there is one nice thing about it.
On his current schedule, HG feeds just once between 8:00 pm and 6:00 am. Usually sometime around 1:00 he'll wake up hungry, whereupon I'll get him from his crib and bring him into the bedroom for KG to feed. It's like a little intimate cocoon, this: the lights out, the three of us sleepy-headed and, once he settles down, the only real sound in the room being HG huffing and puffing his way though his midnight snack.
KG lays on her side as she feeds him and sometimes I curl up with her, placing my hand around her waist and against HG's busy stomach. His little breaths follow one another quickly, for some reason filling me with love. This late feeding is typically a pretty long one, anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. KG and I take advantage and chat drowsily about our day.
If you asked me, I don't know that I could recall the actual content of any of these conversations, but the itch they scratch is nonetheless a big one. It's as if KG and I are suddenly "together" again after hours and hours of simply laboring side by side. It's something we both very much need. We did get married to one another after all.
As I was writing this, KG came home from work looking relieved to have reached the weekend, as am I. We chatted a bit and before she asked me, "You know what's nice?"
"Being here together - all of us."
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Okay, so HG is 90th percentile in both height and weight according to our pediatrician. He's big.
Being that he's our first child, we're only just starting to get an idea of how big he truly is. A couple of days ago I bought him onesies that were supposedly for one year olds and he was way too big for them. I couldn't even get them to snap. He's not yet 5 months old.
It's out in the world, though, where we really see it. On our way home from our Thanksgiving in Tucson we ran into a woman with a 13-month-old baby girl. Henry completely dwarfed her. He totally could have kicked that baby's ass. My sister says I should rename him Clifford.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
For those of you who don't know, I teach a weekly acting class in San Diego. A couple months ago, KG and the baby joined me on one of my trips down there. After I'd taught my class, the three of us visited our friends Jason and Kim, who live nearby and whose son was born just three days after Henry.
Turns out Jason was much more dutiful than I, posting about the visit a few weeks later on the blog he and his wife maintain together. He even linked to my blog. Well, at long last I'm returning the favor. Here's the link: