Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Magic Moment at Eight Months

Bump’s sister Amy said that when each of her kids reached eight months, things seemed to click. She finally felt like she knew what she was doing, and she and her new child had settled into a routine.

Lumpyhead will be eight months old on Tuesday, and I wish I could say I knew what she was talking about. Unless things drastically change in the next two days, I am just as clueless as the day they plunked that screaming mess of arms and legs on my chest.

If anything, Lumpyhead was easier those first few months. I can count on one hand the number of times he cried. He would whimper when he was hungry, and the whimpers would stop instantly when he was fed. He produced wet and dirty diapers in a regular pattern. By eleven weeks, he was sleeping through the night.

Since then, I don’t know what the hell happened. For awhile, he would sleep “through the night,” except it wasn’t at night. He would go down at 4AM and sleep for a solid ten hours. He went through a period of a twenty-five hour day, where his long chunk of sleep would progressively move later. We figured if we held out, he would eventually work his way around to a sensible bedtime. Yeah, that never occurred.

He held a 2AM to noon sleep schedule for a period, which wasn’t too bad. It meant Bump didn’t have much of a morning, but it also meant that his day wasn’t too long before I came home to help him out. I also didn’t have to race home at the end of the day to catch the baby awake; I would go to sleep before the baby did. We realized it was pretty much Bump’s college schedule anyway, and since Lumpyhead didn’t have to be up for daycare or school, we decided it was workable. It was also predictable, until, of course, it changed.

Last night Lumpyhead woke up every two hours, and didn’t go down for the first chunk of sleep until after 3AM. On January 1st and 2nd, he slept for ten hours in a row, uninterrupted, beginning around 11PM. A couple of nights ago he slept for two five-hour stretches, with an hour and a half of playtime in between. There’s just no telling what he’s gonna do.

Naps are just as unpredictable. He’ll show signs of sleepiness, then nap for twenty minutes or three hours.

Maybe it’s an expectation thing. Those first months, we knew things would be crazy, so we just rolled with it. We were both home, too, which made everything easier. By now, we expect the boy to have some kind of routine, which he just doesn’t have.

We’ve tried altering his schedule with no luck. When he’s sleepy, there’s no keeping Lumpyhead awake. I have pictures of him asleep in his highchair - he literally fell asleep between bites. Once he fell asleep on Bump’s leg - he was sitting on his lap, playing, when he got tired, put his head down, and conked out.

We should probably be better about Ferberizing him, but neither of us can stand to hear him cry. Yes, he needs to learn to put himself to sleep, but why does he need to learn that now? Shouldn’t he be learning that when he’s upset, we’ll run to comfort him?

Because Bump and I are softies, we’re at the baby’s mercy. I just wish he’d pick a pattern and stick with it.

Food is equally baffling with the boy. Lumpyhead’s never really been a nurser. He didn’t latch well and took an eternity to eat, so we would both end up wet and sticky during our boob wrestling sessions. I’m sure I’ll do a post soon about what a drag pumping is, but I’ll save that grousing until then.

When we started rice cereal in October, he did great. He would lap up as much as we would dish out, as fast as we could shovel it in. Oat cereal went well, too. He hated our homemade strained peas, but store-bought green beans were a hit.

He would get one meal of solids a day, but then I don’t know what happened. The holidays? Travel to Maine? Now, he can’t be convinced to open his mouth for more than two bites of anything. Apples? Peaches? They all suck. Pears might be tolerated, but only if they’re cold. And only sometimes. Cereal is for sissies. His little mouth stays tightly closed, even when he smiles at me holding his spoon.

Oh, and the pooping. He hasn’t had a poop since the days of the play-doh extruder. His little tummy seems distended on one side, and he’s grunting a lot. He might be constipated, he might not be. The last time we called the doctor, they told us to wait at least a week before we started worrying. It still makes us nervous.

So, the baby’s jobs are eating, pooping, and sleeping, none of which he does in a predictable fashion. Maybe what Amy means is that by eight months, you become accustomed to chaos.

1 comment:

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

For mine, it has always been periods of chaos and periods of routine. You never know when the next phase is coming. We are also in chaos right now. It happens a lot with teething or milestones (crawling, walking, words) everytime I feel like I've got it down, something else screws us up.