This morning I woke up to the sound of Dylan fussing. Not all-out crying, but making little fussy hungry noises, the kind that typically turn into crying if he doesn’t get fed pronto. They kind of sound like, “Eh! Eh! Uh! Eh!” but the “eh” isn’t pronounced Canadian-style, it’s more gutteral. I laid there for a minute hoping he’d stop, then rolled over and looked at him to see if he was awake or just making noises in his sleep. Totally awake. I sighed, pushed myself into an upright position, and gathered him up into my arms. I was so tired that I allowed myself a brief moment of, “Ugghhh, I can’t do this parenthood thing today,” before I settled in to feed him.
Then we got on with what is turning into our morning routine: after nursing, I change Dylan’s diaper and wash his face, hands, and armpits with a wet washcloth, then I make the bed and lay him on it to watch the ceiling fan while I get dressed and brush my teeth. At that point the routine sort of disintegrates. Sometimes he’s entertained by the ceiling fan long enough for me to throw in a load of laundry or start breakfast. Often, he is ready to be picked up after just a few minutes and then it’s a question of whether or not I can set him down, or wear in him the Moby Wrap, long enough to get food, or if he absolutely must be held in a specific way that prevents me from doing anything but that. This morning he cried almost the whole time I was getting dressed, so I held him for a while, fed him again, and was then able to set him in his bouncer while I prepared my breakfast and ate half of it. Then he started to fuss and I realized it had been almost two hours since he’d first woken up (yes, really–EVERYTHING takes longer with a baby around, somehow even things that don’t involve the baby at all manage to take longer because of baby-related interruptions) and that he probably needed a nap. So I changed his diaper, swaddled him, and nursed him until he fell asleep in my arms. Of course he woke up when I stood up to go put him in his crib, which meant another five minutes of walking him around until he fell back asleep. At that point I finally put him down for his nap and got to finish my breakfast and start a load of laundry.
Now I’m writing a blog post, catching up on email, and plotting my strategy for this afternoon. After lunch we have a few errands to run and Dylan will of course need more diaper changes, feedings, and at least one nap. And then there’s dinner, which, even though we’re sticking to easy meals, is often a big production because Dylan inevitably wants to be held while dinner is either being cooked or eaten. Evenings typically consist of playing with, cuddling, or otherwise caring for Dylan, cleaning up after dinner, walking Cooper or taking him to the park, and maybe sometimes even sitting down.
A couple of days ago I instituted a bedtime routine for Dylan that consists of a bath, swaddling, and nursing him to sleep in the dark. We begin at 9 PM–shutting off some lights and taking any noise down a notch–so that the vibe in the house is more low-key, and then proceed with the bath, etc. My hope is that the routine will encourage Dylan to wind down for the night earlier. Baths tend to relax him, even in the middle of the day, so that seemed like a good thing to start with. Monday night the routine worked like a charm and he was asleep by 9:30 PM (of course he woke up hungry just as I was getting in bed at midnight), but last night it took about an hour of alternately nursing him and walking him around our darkened bedroom to get him to sleep. However, he then slept a solid five hours! Even though Brian and I didn’t actually go to bed any earlier than usual the last two nights, things did feel a lot more relaxed with the routine in place. We really need to work on getting ourselves to bed shortly after Dylan falls asleep so that we can take advantage of any surprise long sleep periods–that will be the next task for us as we continue with this bedtime routine.
So, life with Dylan isn’t hard, per se, but at this point I feel permanently sleep-deprived and hungry, and caring for him is so all-consuming that it’s hard to get anything else done. Things in general are just busier than they were before, sort of like when we first adopted Cooper only multiplied exponentially. If I remind myself that I all I really need to do is care for Dylan and make sure I’m fed, and not worry about all the other things that need doing, then I feel okay about the situation. But when it’s noon and I still haven’t eaten, or I realize there is something on my to do list that really needs to get done and I don’t see how it’s possible I freak out a little bit. Brian is working a ton but has managed to help out a lot with food preparation and keeping the house livable, in addition to pitching in with baby care at night and on weekends. We are slowly finding a rhythm and figuring it all out, day by day (and night).