Thursday, December 1, 2016

My Baby Made Me an Asshole

I maybe mentioned elsewhere that, before baby, I thought of myself as a pretty easygoing, laid back kinda guy.  Patient.  Some time in the last 14 months, that guy turned into kind of an asshole.

I used to be generous with my time.  Now, if The Baby is asleep, it's My Time and woe unto the poor soul who asks anything of me during that time.  The Wife just called me from her office to ask that I find an official document for her, and I was wildly disproportionately annoyed by the imposition.  All I had to do was walk to the kitchen, the next room over, and look at a piece of paper for her, and I was pissed.  All I was doing at the time was reading the newspaper...

I used to be really laid back, going with the flow, up for whatever life had to throw at me.  Some of that is still there, but if anything messes with my routine, I am again disproportionately annoyed.  So The Baby decided to nap long, or short, and all of a sudden I need to change when I go to Trader Joe's?  OH HELL NO.

Some of it is lack of sleep.  I just don't sleep restfully anymore.  I know this isn't unique to me; I just didn't think it would happen to me.  The Baby sleeps great.  Down for the night at 7:30pm, sleeps straight through until at least 6:30am.  At least one good, chunky nap during the day.  But I toss and turn at night.  I wake before my alarm and can't get back to sleep.  I have one great but very specific responsibility - keep The Baby alive - but all the other stupid shit runs through my head.  Is the snow blower ready to go?  Did I get the garbage out?  What are we gonna get the in-laws for Christmas?  All this stupid shit that, while too important to ignore, is not nearly important enough that it should keep me awake.  But it does.

Anyway...  Pity party for one, now service this pathetic asshat.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What Just Happened?

Long time no talk.  The Baby continues to be good.  She's taking her sweet-ass time walking.  She's 14 months old, and will only pull herself to her knees yet.  We can get her to stand with assistance, but she hates it.  I've never worried too much about milestones, but this delay has gotten even me down.  The Wife is worried.  But we've got her set up with a physical therapist through our local school district, which is awesome, and brings me to the real point of this post - politics.

What the fck just happened?!

I really tried to dislike Hillary.  Failing that, I tried to understand the hatred for her.  Because people don't just dislike her policies.  They hate her as a human being.  And that I just cannot understand.  I have friends who are against Hillary, and to hear them speak about her, you'd think she had personally killed their dogs and stolen their homes.  Despite my best efforts, I just don't get it.

I really tried to like Trump.  Ah, that's bullshit.  I've thought Trump was a walking, flesh-colored pile of shit since I was old enough to know who he was.  But I did try to understand the reasoning of the people who do support him.  I've really tried.  I have quite a few relationships whose health depends on my gaining some level of understanding of why seemingly-reasonable people support him.  So far I'm failing.

Since the election, I've been way down.  Enough that I've considered getting back in touch with my therapist, but I don't know what good it would do.  Rereading that sentence makes me think it really would be a good idea - "what good would it do" could be the motto of the depressed (and I've tried to be up front that what I'm feeling is not Clinical Depression, or anything close to it).  Today has been better.  The Baby has been cheerful, and she's napped well enough that I could make what I think will be a kick-ass pie for Thanksgiving tomorrow.  I try to remind myself that it won't be as bad as we fear it will be; it never is.  I've thought about the various ways Trump could bring down civilization as we know it, and while I still think they're all scarily plausible, I'm trying to remember that A) Trump isn't the first president, even in my lifetime, whose policies were opposed to my beliefs, B) those turned out OK, and C) there were millions of people who felt about Obama the way I feel about Trump.  I don't understand exactly why, but I can appreciate feeling like you've been steamrolled and railroaded for 8 years.

Anyway, this will never be a political blog - I'm not smart enough to argue.  But this is just the first of many times I'm worried about The Baby's future.

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Family Gets Smaller...

We had to get rid of our dog, The Dog.  My heart is broken.  We got her two years ago, and she came with some baggage.  She was a rescue, brought up from Georgia as far as anybody knew.  Despite her baggage, I worked with her a lot.  We took a couple obedience classes, and we had fun with it.  She made a lot of progress, and given that I worked from home, she was a really good dog.

When we brought The Baby home, it was OK.  The disruption to any semblance of a schedule was tough on her and there were some accidents.  We got through the worst of it, but she was never the same dog after The Wife went back to work.  She was always a nervous dog, with a little bit of separation anxiety, but it got worse.  She'd overreact to movements and sound.  This was all before The Baby got mobile.

So The Baby is crawling now, and she got underfoot while I was making dinner the other night.  I scooped her up and set her down in the living room.  She and The Dog tried to go through the door into the kitchen at the same time, and it was too close for comfort.  It was like The Dog looked over and thought, "OH SHIT WHAT'S THAT THING DOING RIGHT THERE?!!!"  She barked and nipped The Baby.  Game over, no more dog for us.  I called the rescue society from which we'd got her the next day.

I know we did the right thing.  Hell, it's not even really a choice, is it?  I love that dog so much.  We were inseparable for the first year we had her.  But I can't risk the health of my baby girl, and I can't keep the two of them separated and hope for any quality of life for The Dog, and it will be years before our kid (kids if all goes according to plan) are old enough to understand how to act around a dog.  So it's not a choice.  The Dog needs a calm, quiet house and a routine.  We don't have that now, and we won't for a long time, if ever.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

So David French, How Strong Do I Need To Be To Be A Man?

You fucking idiot.

But I digress.  I'm writing today, of course, in response to this whole diatribe of douchebaggery:

Go ahead, read it.  I'll wait.

Preface: I'm a liberal.  I used to be an apologetic liberal, because the rest of my family leans more conservative, but I'm done apologizing.  I'm a proud liberal, but I don't want to plant myself in an echo chamber, constantly listening to the soothing murmurs from NPR that tell me exactly what I want to hear about the world.  I did that for a while, appropriately enough when I was in grad school, and then I started disagreeing more and more with my dad, who is conservative and leaning farther and farther right the older he gets, and then I realized that his primary news source is FOX News, and I thought, "Well that's bullshit.  All he's gonna hear from them is the conservative view."  And it hit me that me listening to and reading NPR and not much else is no different.  So I started reading The Atlantic and National Review and The Wall Street Journal in an effort to better understand where the other side is coming from.

Most of the time, NR and David French are conservative viewpoints I can understand, if not occasionally respect.  But he lost me big time on this one.  There are many reasons that physical strength as a prerequisite for masculinity is such bullshit (how strong do I have to be to be a man?), but I want to get right to the point.  I think it's this kind of toxic masculinity that breeds "men" like Dylan Roof, Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold, etc.  There is no answer to the question of how strong a man needs to be.  There will always be a stronger man out there, so if you measure manliness by strength, you will always be found lacking.  To an insecure young man, that really fucking sucks.  Maybe you've got understanding parents who support you through this, but maybe you've got a big strong macho dad like David French who tells you if you're not strong you're not a man.  Maybe your dad is so macho he verbally or physically abuses you because he knows that's the best way to toughen you up so you can be a big strong man.  Maybe you get shoved in lockers or pissed on in the showers because you're not strong enough to physically defend yourself.  Maybe the girls laugh at you as you're walking through the halls at school because they found out the big strong macho men peed on you in the shower.  Or maybe none of this shit happens, but you still feel horrible and weak because you just can't figure out how to fit in.

What do you do?

Thankfully, most guys just get through it, somehow.  Positive friends, a hobby, burying their noses in books, listening to death metal while they scream into a pillow, whatever.  But maybe none of that works.

What do you do?

What's the most powerful tool easily accessed in America?  The tool that instantly equalizes all physical limitations, assuming you have use of at least one of your hands?  If you're an insecure you man, feeling like you don't have a place in the world because you're "weak," what do you do?

You get a gun.  Because nobody is weak if they've got a fucking gun.  What's the most powerful thing you can do with a gun?  You can take the life of another human being.  Call me weak now bitches!  BANG BANG!

Weakening grip strength is not what's killing masculinity in the US of A.  It's this toxic idea that you can't be a man if you're not strong.

Saturday, August 6, 2016


So much for my seemed-reasonable-at-the-time goal of posting something, anything, at least once a week.  Sigh...  Life and stuff.

But I was corresponding with an old friend of mine, a new mother herself, and she asked if I had any tips, since with my 10 months of experience, I must've figured something out by now, right?


The dearth of posts is due to one big thing and a billion small things.  First, things are really, really, really good right now.  The Baby sleeps great.  She wakes at 6:00 or 6:30 and stays happy until 7:00 or so when we get up.  Goes back down for an hour around 9:00 and takes a good long nap around 2:00.  The house is clean, meals are still mostly cooked by me in our kitchen, the yard and garden are in OK shape.  We're doing good.  No, Superman does good.  We're doing well.  Thank you Tracy Jordan.

Anyway, when things are good, I don't write.  I think I mentioned how there's no way to write about the joys of parenthood without sounding trite.  BUT LOOK HOW SMALL THEIR HANDS ARE!!! MY HEART FEELS SO FULL I'M AFRAID IT'S GOING TO BURST!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It's all true, but geez, let's try harder to express how wonderful it is, eh?  To that end, I'm not feeling particularly poignant or original this morning, so I got nothing.  Except when I look at The Baby and make her laugh, it really does feel like my heart is gonna explode.  Goddamn I hate being trite.

I really did try to think about what I might've figured out though, and I could only come up with two things.  The first is to do your best to live in the moment, because they all, good and bad, pass so quickly.  The bad ones don't last forever, so don't let them get you down too much, and the good ones don't either, so enjoy them when you can.  I've really been trying to appreciate how good we have it right now, because it's only gonna get harder, even if that too will pass.

The other is the idea of holistic familial health, which I've talked about elsewhere.  I can't blame my postnatal depression on being so focused on The Baby's health that I neglected my own, but there was a correlation there and I knew I couldn't be a good father or husband if I was angry and sad all the time.  I needed to focus on myself for a little while to figure my shit out so I could get to a better place mentally, at which point I was able to focus on being the father and husband I needed to be.  I can happily say I think I'm there, but it's like a marriage - every day I need to decide to be that husband and to be that father, and it doesn't happen automatically.  Wake up to find The Dog has peed on the bathroom rug again?  I need to decide to pause, check my emotions, think about what I'm feeling, think about how I want to react, and then think about how I should react.  And being pissy with The Wife is not how I should react.  Well that got a little rambly and tangential.  My point is, don't forget to take care of yourself if it's going to increase the wellbeing of the family as well.

That's it, in 10 months, that's all I've figured out.  Oh wait - also, check the diaper for poop before you undo the tabs, and if there's poop, lay out your wipes.  Because when you're trying to keep your little shit factory's hands out of their poopy privates, you don't want to be struggling to get a wipe out of the container.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Travels with Baby 4: Poopmageddon

Sorry for the radio silence.  We've settled into a nice rhythm, and since things are good and mostly smooth right now, I've been enjoying myself rather than writing.  So, without further ado...


Last time we talked, I was telling you about the stress of traveling and the fear of being judged a "bad" parent.  The important question by which to judge all travel stress is, "What's the worst that could happen?"  Some may argue that a screaming baby is the worst that could happen, but unless you've got a colicky baby, it's more likely your little one will tucker him/herself out at some point.  And if you're flying with a colicky baby...  God help you.

I maintain the worst that could happen is having your baby puke or shit on a total stranger.  This...didn't happen to us.  So the second worse thing happened to us.  Poopmageddon.

Our stay in California was wonderful.  Nice weather, relaxing, and The Baby was pretty darn cooperative.  We didn't really start to worry until the two days before our flight, when we realized it had been a couple days since The Baby had pooped.  No biggie.  She'd gone three or four days in between poops in the past, and we were confident we'd see some action before the flight.  Day before the flight - still no poop, but still not too worried.  Day of the flight - no poop, getting a little worried...

For some reason, I was still confident though that our beautiful little daughter would never do something so cruel as save up four days' worth of shit just to let it fly during a full flight.  I am a stupid, stupid man.

The Wife is nursing The Baby when she feels a sudden and unexpected warmth in her lap.  Her hand comes away smelly.


Our sweet little shit factory had given us a Level 3 Code Brown.  (Level 1 Code Brown is a minor breach of the diaper; confined to the waistband and/or leg holes.  Level 2 is above the waistband but below the armpits.  Level 3 is armpits.  Level 4 is neck.  Level 5 is hair)

Thank god our neighbor was a flight attendant who was deadheading back home.  She figured out what had happened and investigated the bathroom, and lo and behold, it had a changing table!  This was the first plane upon which I'd flown to have a changing table in the bathroom.  We took our little shit nugget back and worked on a plan.  Onesie was a total write off - we stripped it from the neck down.  I started grabbing handfuls of Kleenex and wiping the bulk of it off.  At this point, I looked around and realized what a horrible, awful mess it would make to try to use the plane's garbage, which features a spring-loaded door that swings closed strongly enough to trap you like a weasel.  I poked my head out and asked a flight attendant for a garbage bag.  Onesie and soiled Kleenex went in the bag.  Then I went to work with wet wipes.  Wipe after wipe after wipe until they started coming away clean.  All into the bag, which I then tied up.  A smart man would've just thrown the whole thing away, but as I mentioned, I'm not a smart man.  I'm a stupid, stupid man who cannot bear the thought of throwing away a five dollar onesie just because it'd dirty.  Plus it has little popsicles on it!  The bag came off the plane with us and I later donned rubber gloves and separated that onesie from the disgusting jumble of wipes and Kleenex and washed it.  Did I mention I got the flu the day before we left?  So I was feeling great.

So that was Poopmageddon, and is realistically the worst thing I can imagine happening on a flight.  And you know what?  It wasn't that bad.  We got far more sympathetic nods than dirty looks (we didn't get any dirty looks as far as I could tell).  The onesie came out clean, The Baby still wears it to this day, and I've got the perfect story for her wedding day.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Travels with Baby 3: What's the Worst that Could Happen?

This post isn't actually about our flight home, during which we endured Poopmageddon, which probably is the worst thing that could happen, but about the stress of traveling with a baby - what causes it and what I did about it.

I thought a lot about the stress of traveling.  A lot.  I didn't quite obsess about it, but close.  I was afraid.  I was afraid that The Baby would be loud and obnoxious.  This is what we all fear when we think about traveling with a baby, right?  Or any kids for that matter.  I don't think these feelings will magically go away when The Baby turns five or something.  So I thought about what would be happening if The Worst happened and our baby was the obnoxious one ruining the flights of dozens of people around us.  What would be happening?

It's not that I'm worried about the actual health and wellbeing of my child.  At worst, she may be obnoxious because her ears hurt, and that's pain and it's real and as a parent, I will never want my child to experience pain of any kind.  But it would pass, and she would be ok.  So I'm not stressing about doing harm to my baby.

Without question, we would be making those around us uncomfortable, and for that, I would feel bad.  We might get dirty looks from people.  A monumental asshat may even make some comment, maybe ask us to move elsewhere in the plane?  I mean, let's be real - unless your kid actually shits or vomits on a stranger, that's about as bad as it would get, right?  So I thought, "well that's not that bad."  And if it's not that bad, why am I so worried about it?

And it finally hit me: the stress is because I worry people will think I'm a bad parent.  I worry that too many people, those without kids or who were magically blessed with easy babies, don't understand that you cannot, CANNOT, make a baby sleep if s/he doesn't want to.  You can trot out every soothing technique ever devised, and none are guaranteed to work.  A screaming baby is one of those things over which you only have so much control.  So I worried that if my baby was upset, people would think it was my fault and that I was a bad parent.

Once I realized this, it got easier.  I know I'm a good parent.  Some days I'm only good enough, but a lot of days I'm a really good dad.  So I'd tell myself that and it made me feel a little better.  And you know what?  When Poopmageddon happened, we got far more understanding nods than dirty looks.  Stay tuned.

Friday, April 1, 2016

"A Good Father Would..."

Or, "a good husband would..." or, "a good dog owner would..."

Pausing my sure-to-be-award-winning series on traveling with baby because yesterday was Not A Good Day, which is not as bad as a Bad Day, but on that end of the spectrum.  The Baby has week, which is to say she went from being a really easy, predictable baby to being a little less easy.  Nap times are off, nap quality is off, and she's been eating a TON.  We assume she's gearing herself up to do something amazing.

Coincidental with that is The Wife is working one of her most demanding rotations.  Without a fair amount of effort on our part, it would be very easy for her to see The Baby for 10 minutes in the morning.  And that would be it.  10 minutes a day.  I know for some that's just reality (and if that's you, I feel for you; there is nothing easy about it), but with some effort, we can make lunch visits work, and with a lot of effort, she can sometimes make it home for bedtime.  This week, we tried getting The Baby up a little earlier so she could breastfeed.  Normally we are absolute, no-holds-barred, over-my-dead-body strict about never waking a sleeping baby, but with the scheduling demands this week and since The Baby usually sleeps fitfully at best starting at about 5:30am, we decided it was worth a try.

So yesterday we got The Baby up at 6:00.  She's usually good for an hour to an hour and a half before her first nap.  Yesterday, I pushed it to 7:45.  A good nap is an hour and a half to two hours.  A bad nap is 30 minutes.  First nap was a bad nap.  No biggie.  I'm proud to say I no longer live and die by the quality of any single nap on a given day.  We got up, ate, and as expected, she faded faster than normal and was looking for nap two way early.  On a normal day, nap two starts any time between 11:00 and noon.  Yesterday I put her down at 10:00 or so, confident that as tired as she was, this would be a good, long nap.

It wasn't.

Nap two was also a bad nap.  So now we're way ahead of schedule and while I'm not worried, I'm thinking about it.  We run some errands, walk the dog, and I'm hoping that she gets back on track with nap three.  Nap three is actually pretty good, but not good enough.  She wakes from nap three at 3:00pm, which puts me right in the proverbial pickle.  There's no way she'll make it to our desired bedtime of 6:00-6:30 without some kind of a cat nap, but she won't be tired until 4:30 or 5:00, which is a pretty late nap.  No matter.  Yesterday's motto was, "we do what we gotta do."  So I put her down for a fourth nap at 4:30 and got her back up from that at 5:15 or so, hoping that it would keep her happy until 6:30 which would increase the odds that The Wife could make it home in time to say goodnight.

Not happening.

By 5:45 it was clear bedtime was going to be 6:00 or I would be in danger of putting my head through a wall.  So mom doesn't get to say goodnight, which sucks and which makes me feel bad, The Baby is losing her shit, and when the baby loses her shit, it makes The Dog lose her shit, and when The Baby and The Dog lose their shit, it means I'm hanging on by a tiny little shred of sanity.

I lost it a little and yelled at the dog.  She's a sweet, spunky little rescue dog and she's sensitive, so her tail goes between her legs and she starts trying to crawl under the furniture.  I instantly hate myself for this.  There are dozens of potential ways of handling a stressful situation like this one, but losing your cool and yelling is probably among the worst.

I start slipping into my shame spiral.  A good father would've had his daughter in bed before she lost her shit.  A good husband wouldn't have watched TV while The Baby napped; he would've finally gotten around to cleaning the floors.  A good pet owner would not have yelled at the dog.  And so on.

I've talked with my therapist about these feelings, because they're there a lot.  Being a good husband, a good father, a good dog owner, and a good caretaker...  These responsibilities are not only my job right now; they are, according to my opinion, the most important responsibilities I've ever had.  Failure is not an option.  We may dig into this more deeply in a future post, but when I envisioned being the SAHD, I pictured being the perfect SAHD.  I would keep a spotless house.  The dog would get at least two walks a day.  The Baby would be happy, healthy, stimulated, and hitting every milestone.  There would be a hot meal ready when The Wife got home every night, or at least tasty leftovers.  When I write it out or say it, I hear how ridiculous it is.  It's just not realistic.  But I'm having a really hard time letting that ideal go.  I need to get comfortable with the idea that I don't need to be a perfect SAHD.  I need to be a good-enough SAHD, and for now, I am.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Travels with Baby 2: Baby in a Hotel

Baby's first flight was OK.  Thanks to the easy availability of food and comfort in the form of breastfeeding and some work on my part shushing and bouncing her, she stayed mostly quiet and even slept a little bit.  If you want to be realistic, I think that's about as good as you can hope for.  That's certainly as good as you can expect.  If it goes more smoothly than that, good for you.  And of course, this experience will be vastly different given even a month's difference in age (The Baby was 5 1/2 months old for this trip).

We arrived in San Diego, put The Baby into the carrier, collected our bags, made it to the rental car place, got the car seat installed and made our way to the hotel, all without incident other than at this point The Baby is about four hours behind on sleep.  She was more or less delirious, but she was hanging on and being a pretty good sport about it.  She would've fallen asleep in the car, but the hotel was really close, so she didn't have much of a chance.

As soon as we got to the hotel, we called down to have them send up a pack and play.

Tip #5:  Call the hotel and tell them you'll be staying with an infant.  Most will have pack and plays and other infant products that guests can use for free.  We'd planned to rent a pack and play until a friend told us to talk to the hotel.  Easy peasy.

Here's a tough question then, assuming you're not staying in a suite: where do you put the pack and play?  If you put it in the bedroom, you're consigning yourself to many hours of sitting in the dark reading quietly.  Or you can do like we did and put it in the bathroom.  Problem there is...  What do you do when you need to get ready for bed or take a poo yourself?  On the balance, I think the bathroom is the smarter move, but you literally need to be more prepared.  Before putting baby down for a nap, make sure you've done your business.  At night, before you put baby down, plan it out so you have access to your bedtime products in the bedroom so you can pop into and out of the bathroom as quickly and quietly as possible so as to disturb baby as much as possible.

There is a third possibility depending on your hotel room: if the closet is big enough, you can put baby in there.  This would be the best option, providing a quiet, dark place for baby while still giving you access to the bathroom.  The closet in our room wasn't big enough for us to be comfortable with this, and it may sound strange, but remember what makes for a good place to sleep - quiet and dark.  Closets are good for that.

The next few days, while not as relaxing as a pre-baby vacation would've been, were really pretty smooth.  We did our best to respect The Baby's sleep schedule.

Tip #6:  Respect your baby's sleep schedule.  I know, I know.  There are all these fun distractions right next to your hotel, and it's so easy to pop over for an appetizer or a drink or whatever.  You know what you're like when you're tired, and you know what your baby is like when he/she's tired.  If you want to push it, that's your business, but prepare yourself to deal with a tired, cranky baby.  For us, it has as much to do with "doing what's best for baby" as "just not wanting to deal with a crabby little shit while in public."  We pushed it one night.  There was a good Mexican restaurant across the street.  We thought we could put in an order to go and enjoy a quick beer while we waited for the food.  We ended up tag-teaming The Baby; while one of us sat nervously at the bar, drinking alone, the other walked around outside the restaurant doing our best to keep her quiet.  Just the kind of night you look forward to on vacation!  You can respect the schedule without being a slave to it.

I thought I'd get to thoughts on Being Thought a Bad Parent, but this ran on longer than expected.  Next time.  Also, stay tuned for Poopmageddon!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Travels with Baby 1: Flying with Baby

As I may have mentioned, The Wife is a physician and one of the perks of her position is a good travel budget to encourage her and her colleagues to attend and present at various conferences.  She had a poster selected for presentation at a conference in California, and it just so happens that her grandfather, The Baby's great-grandfather, winters within a couple hours of where the conference was.  So we decided to make a vacation out of it.  We'd go to the conference and then spend a few days with great-grandpa.  GREAT!...

When it comes to travel, I am a minimalist and poor planner.  The Wife is the opposite.  Historically, we've nicely balanced each other out, but when traveling with a baby, minimalism goes right the hell out the window.  YOU BRING EVERYTHING.  Nuks?  Check.  Rags?  Check.  Book that The Baby cannot understand and has looked at twice since birth?  Check.  Toy that The Baby has never shown the slightest interest in?  Check.  You do this because you will do anything, and I mean anything, to keep a child occupied during a three-hour flight.  What silly objection could you possibly have to bringing along that stupid stuffed animal that's she's never played with?  You don't want to take up the space?  You want to *look* like one of those couples who has it so together they manage to travel with a baby but without checking a bag?!

You're a fool.  So you bring it all.

We got the packing taken care of with little stress once I let go of my silly objections to taking a bigger suitcase (I mean honestly, what was I thinking?).  We did a good job of tempering our expectations.  This would not be a vacation by the definition that existed pre-Baby.  No lounging by the pool sipping drinks.  No luxurious dinners out.  In fact, while the conference was on, since we were still going to make breastfeeding happen, it wouldn't be a vacation at all - we'd have to work to make that happen.

Tip #1: Temper your expectations.  Your days of relaxing vacations are over.

Once the packing is done, the next thing to worry about is moving all that shit plus The Baby.  With curbside check-in, this really turned out to be a non-issue.  We dumped the suitcases, unhooked the baby seat, dumped it into its nifty red "GATE CHECK" bag, handed that over, put The Baby into her Ergo, and hit the line for security.  This would be the first time of many that my blood pressure spiked and I thought I would get an ulcer, but security was amazingly, remarkably, mind-bendingly anti-climactic.  The truth is, I don't give The Baby enough credit.  If she's comfortable and full and has things to look at, she'll stay happy and quiet for a long time, and she proved it in that security line.  The other amazing thing is, people LOVE to see a dude wearing a baby.  This is one of the first examples of sexist unfairness with being a SAHD that I noticed.  When my wife wears her, it's no big deal; just another lady with her kid.  When I wear The Baby, everybody smiles, including TSA.  We got a special card so we didn't need to take off shoes and went through a separate line so we didn't fry The Baby with microwaves or whatever the hell those new scanners use.  Easy peasy.

We boarded the plane and did our best to stick to a schedule that would have The Baby nursing during takeoff, but she had other plans.  This would be the second time my blood pressure spiked.  You can see people taking stock of their seating arrangement as they board the plane, and you can see them see a baby, and you see them slump.  They know.  They know this flight could be a living nightmare, and YOU know it could be the fault of your precious little poop factory.  That's a feeling I dreaded, so much so that I actually brought ear plugs for our neighbors.

Tip #2: Bring ear plugs for your plane neighbors.  Nobody will take them, but you offering them communicates the following: "I know my child may make this an uncomfortable experience, and for that, I'm sorry."

Tip #3: If possible, time it so your baby is nursing during takeoff and landing.  The sucking will help his/her ears equilibrate, which will reduce crying, which in turn will decrease the odds that the flight attendants will through you off the plane or put you down with the baggage.

As I said, we tried to time it right, but The Baby had other ideas and was finished nursing by the time we took off, which also ended up being not a big deal.  If her ears bothered her, she didn't show it.  After that, it's just a constant battle to keep the kid occupied and/or asleep.  This isn't easy, but it's also not anything you haven't done before.  Just like you brought every fucking baby accessory in your house, you also need to bring every soothing tool you've acquired since birth.  I hadn't shushed The Baby for months, but I shushed the shit out of her on that flight, and it sort of worked.  I hadn't stood and bounced her for even longer, but that worked too.

Tip #4: Do whatever it takes to get your baby to sleep.  This may mean standing with the baby back by the bathrooms, which will make you feel like a total creeper, but if it keeps the kid quiet, nobody will care.

In the next installment, we'll talk about fears of being thought a Bad Parent, then we'll tackle how to stay sane in a hotel with an infant.  Oh, and at some point, we'll talk about Poopmageddon, or The Terror at 30,000 Feet.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Peace Like a Hallmark Card and Final-ish Thoughts on Sleep Training

As you may have surmised from the dearth of recent posts, things are really good with The Baby right now.  This has allowed me enough slack in my mind space to really start to appreciate this fatherhood thing.  I'd heard and read that it can take fathers longer to bond with their children because we don't have the immediate intimacy of breastfeeding.  When I laid eyes on my daughter for the first time, I thought buuuuuuuuuuull shit.  My feelings of love were immediate and real.


I think I kinda sorta get it now.  My wife has been working evenings this week, which means I'm the sole proprietor of bedtimes.  The Baby has always been OK with a bottle, but now she's a pro, which means she doesn't fight it, is cleaner, and we just don't struggle the way we used to.  I've actually started to enjoy feeding time, and even more so bedtime.  Earlier this week, I was feeding her, and she kind of nestles into my armpit when we feed, and with my non-bottle hand, I work on keeping her hands from disrupting the process too much.  So she's eating, and she's kind of stroking my hand and holding onto my fingers, and she's looking up at me with those perfect blue eyes (that will be the death of me when she's older and knows how to use them), and dammit if I didn't just about explode.  And I thought, "This is it.  This is what The Wife experienced from the very first feeding."  I know our relationship will be evolving for the rest of my life.  I know we will drift together and apart and together again over the years.  That's the nature of a human relationship.  This was just the first time I recognized and felt us drifting together.  That feeling is what I was looking for from parenthood.  Feels really good.

The slack in my mind space has also allowed a lot of time to reflect on sleep training.  I hope to put more of these down in the future, because there is so much baggage that goes along with sleep training you could write a book on it (which of course many have).  Bottom line is, things got markedly better as soon as we started and have continued to improve since then.

But why?

This question is a rabbit hole down which you can go really, really deep.  Did we really sleep train The Baby?  Or was she just ready to sleep better?  Is she really sleeping better, or did we just decide to stop agonizing and obsessing over her sleep?  Did we really do it for her own good, or were our motivations more selfish?  The truth, like most reality, is it's likely a combination of all of these.  She is sleeping better, but I don't think about her sleep much anymore either.  Obviously, good sleep is essential, so doing what we thought we needed to do to get her better sleep was for her benefit, but I'd be a big fat liar if I denied how important getting time for myself back has been.  For now at least, I feel like I'm back on top of my life.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Sleep Training End of Week Two

It's been a really, really good week, which accounts for the lack of posts.  As I've said before, good times inspire me more to appreciate what's happening in the moment.  Bad times inspire me to over analyze, dwell, and in an effort to get the negativity out of my head, to write it down.  In general, fewer posts = better times overall.  Plus, there's been so much written about the magic of parenthood, it's impossible not to write cliches.  I mean, how many different ways are there to describe how small their hands are without sounding like you write for Hallmark?

As far as the sleep, there's progress yet to be made, but I'm calling it a success.  She's consistently asleep by 6:30 pm and will usually sleep through until 1:00am.  Even when she does wake up, she puts herself back to sleep pretty quickly and pretty quietly.  The mid-night feeding is fast.  30 minutes from pillow to pillow for me, even if I have to change a diaper.

Naps are less consistent, but SO MUCH BETTER.  She's still on a three-a-day schedule, going down at 8:00am, 11:00am, and 3:00pm, give or take an hour.  Each time, she'll sleep for around an hour and a half, sometimes more.  The big thing is, unless we totally misread her, we put her in her sleep suit, pop her nuk in, sing Twinkle Twinkle, set her down, walk out the door, and she's asleep within 10 minutes.  Not always, but most of the time.

What all this means for me is I'm in a good mental place and I'm having fun with her.  She rolled from front to back a few weeks ago and is really close to rolling from back to front now.  She's developed the instinct and dexterity to put everything in her mouth, which is oddly enchanting for me.  "Oooh, what's this?...  IN MY MOUTH."  I notice so many little developments.  We put her in a bouncer when we're in the kitchen, and it features a plastic bee with crinkly wings, and it's on a cord, so she can pull it out of the bouncer far enough to get it to her mouth.  A week ago, she had the dexterity to grab it and pull it to her mouth, but her fists would get in the way.  She wanted the bee in her mouth, but she got her fist, which was apparently incredibly frustrating.  A few days ago, I watched this same scenario unfold, but instead of getting frustrated, she moved one hand down to the cord below her other hand, and BAM, bee in mouth.

And I just realized that this is what I was most excited about when I daydreamed about being a parent - watching this tin blob develop into a human being.  I was a preschool teacher in college and I was eternally fascinated with how kids interacted with the world, especially how much more open and honest they are.  I couldn't wait to watch my own child learn and develop and teach me about innocence and openness and honesty.  It's happening.  

Monday, February 15, 2016

Sleep Training End Of Week One

My neighbors are good people and we're on our way to being good friends.  I was out back to shovel and saw him over the fence and said hi.  As usual, he asked how things were, and I mentioned that sleep training seems to have been successful.  He's kind of a smartass, so he asked, "Do you really think it was something you did, or do you think she was just ready to sleep better?"  It's a good, big question.

To cut to the chase, I think it's both, but I did confide in him one of my insecurities about sleep training.  What if The Baby is not actually sleeping any better?  What if all we're doing is choosing to ignore her distress so we can sleep better and have more hands-off time during the day?  I suspect if you've gone through CIO sleep training or are considering it, you've dealt with this feeling or something like it.

As part of my therapy (finally had my first appointment after almost three month's wait!), I'm working on identifying the thoughts that bring me down and make me feel angry, identifying how they make me feel, and working to get to the bottom of whether or not those thoughts and feelings are rooted in the real world or not, and ways of redirecting them.  It's called Cognitive Behavior Therapy, and what I've just written is about as much as I know about it, so if you want to know more, you know...  Google it up.

Anyway, as part of trying to figure out if thoughts and feelings are rooted in reality, you look for objective evidence, i.e. information that another person could look at and that would lead that person to the same conclusion that you did.  So when I ponder that question of whether or not I look to our trusty spreadsheet:

Couple things: C = crying, A = awake but content, A/C = intermittent crying.  On the 9th, The Baby had her 4-month vaccinations, which accounts for the hug sleep numbers over the next 24 hours.

First thing to note is those HUGE, uninterrupted blocks of time down at the bottom.  That's right - all week we've been putting her down at 6:00 give or take, and she's staying down until after midnight.  HELL YEAH!  We had friends over for dinner the other night.  They got to see The Baby for half an hour, then we put her down, and we enjoyed adult time for the rest of the night.  Magical.

Second thing to note are the sleep totals at the bottom.  Pre-training, we were working really hard to get 14 hours a day.  Totals have gone up, and we're not working at it like we were before.

Third thing: Not much crying toward the end of the week.  This isn't to say she never squawks, but she is more content between sleep cycles and moves more quickly and smoothly from wake back to sleep.  We've had minor regressions that still make me feel like a bad parent and horrible human being, but the spreadsheet helps me see that we're on an upward trajectory.

So are things really getting better, or did we just do it to make our lives easier?  Honestly, it's probably a little bit of both, but way more of the former than the latter, and here's the thing about the latter - it counts.  If I'm better rested, my mood is brighter, I'm more patient, and I'm better equipped to give The Baby the care she needs.  Maybe I'm justifying here, but I'm learning to think of health holistically.  It's not JUST about what's right for The Baby, or for me, or my wife, or the dog.  Each has to be considered as part of the overall health of The Family.  Our #1 priority is The Baby, but not if it means the dog is neglected and starts to piss and shit all over the dining room (which happened).  We'll make sure The Baby is getting the care she needs, but maybe pull back before it sends Papa to the looney bin, eh?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Nap Training The Baby

We knew the 25 minute cat naps and marathon rocking session were not sustainable.  The cat naps would never be sufficient, and the marathon rocking session was isolating, depressing, and consumed so much time.  I know, I know.  You do what your baby needs.  We get that, but we also get that there comes a time when it's no longer about the health and happiness of just the child alone, but the health and happiness of the family.  Fact: if I'm exhausted and depressed, I will not be giving my daughter the care she needs, and she will suffer for it.  We couldn't let her continue in her chronic, sleep-deprived state, and we needed to start addressing the impact it was having on the health of the family, especially me.  So we decided to do sleep training.

I'm calling it nap training though, because nighttime sleep hasn't been quite as big a problem as naps.  We decided on full-extinction cry it out (CIO).  This is not without controversy.  You can read horror stories for days, and there are those who maintain it's more or less child abuse.  If that's your view, it's OK, but no study has show any detrimental affects to the development of the child, and unless you can show me one, let it suffice that it's what we decided would work for our family, and you're entitled to your (hopefully well-informed) opinion.  There are loads of resources on sleep and nap training, so I'm not going to go too deeply into the "how" of CIO.  We've been reading "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth.  It was recommended to us by numerous friends who have kids who sleep well and is based on loads of medical data.

We started last Sunday night (it's Wednesday as I write this), and I am overjoyed to share with you that as I check our sleep log and the baby monitor, The Baby is going on two and a half hours of uninterrupted daytime sleep!  That's right baby, SHE WENT THE FUCK BACK TO SLEEP!!!

I wanted to write a post on Monday, because Monday really fucking sucked.  She did OK Sunday night, went down smoothly for her first nap of the day Monday (one hour after waking, as usual) and was awake 30 minutes later, again as usual, but this time, she was on her own to sort it out.  She was awake but pretty happy for 30 minutes, and then cried for another 30 before we got her up.  Lather, rinse, and repeat for the rest of the day.  Listening to your child cry when you know it's in your power to make it stop makes you not only feel like a bad parent but a horrible human being.  The Wife and I did a pretty good job of keeping each other strong though (Jesus did I win the lottery every day when I landed her).  Sleep training is all about long-term benefit.  The Baby needed more sleep, and that wasn't gonna happen unless she acquired the skills to do it.  So Monday sucked.

Monday night was pretty typical.  The Baby got tired around 7:00 and went down for a cat nap as usual.  She was up again 30 minutes later for a final feeding, diaper change, and then right back down.  The rest of the night was pretty typical, except when she woke as usual at 5:30, we didn't get up.  We know from experience that's not her "awake for the day" time, and as we hoped, she squawked for about 15 minutes and then went back to sleep until 6:30 when we got up.

Naps on Tuesday were better.  She was already noticeably better at putting herself to sleep for her first sleep cycle.  There were a couple times after setting her down that I was sure she wasn't going to do it, but she did, every time.  Sleep for 30, wake, squawk for a little while, and then she finally managed to get herself back to sleep for another sleep cycle, unassisted, for the first time that we could remember.  Parenting is all about little victories, and that was a big little victory.

Today is better yet, with even more improvement in getting herself to sleep.  I also need to call out a product here - Baby Merlin's Magic Sleep Suit.  We've only used it once, so take this with a big grain of salt, but we just got The Baby up after a solid two hour nap.  After a while, I thought she'd either stopped breathing or the feed on the baby monitor had cut out, because I'd never seen her stay motionless for that long during the day.  I'm not ready to call the suit a magic bullet, but if this last nap is repeated, I won't hesitate to say it.

That's it for now.  We're so proud of The Baby!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Sigh... I'm OK. Really.

I shared this with friends yesterday, and the outpouring of support was amazing.  You never realize how difficult parenting is for everybody until you share something that's hard for you and literally every friend who has a kid tells you their own version of it.

But a lot of people were taken aback by my depression.  I don't know what to say to that.  Depression really fucking sucks, but I'm OK.  Not often great right now, though the exceptions are notable.  Pretty often I'm good.  It's just that when I'm not, I'm not, and if I want to be honest about my experience as a parent, I have to talk about the dark feelings, because they're usually there whether they're affecting whatever I'm doing at the moment or not.  The day I wrote the post Love My Daughter, Hate My Life was a bad one.  I don't really hate my life, but there are a lot of moments I hate, and as I said, I'm unfortunately more inspired to get the bad feelings out of my head and into print than the good ones.

Today has been a really good day.  We got out of the house to go to the library, which meant I had to shower and comb my hair (winning!), and I got to see and interact with human beings who can talk and who don't routinely shit in their pants.  One of the hardest things to handle as a parent who yearns for control is living moment to moment.  Yesterday afternoon was really bad.  Last night wasn't great.  But today so far has been really, really good.  And that's plenty for now.  I'll worry about the rest of the day as it happens.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


As I may have mentioned, when we put The Baby down to sleep, night or nap, we swaddle her and use a nuk.  These have always worked fine, and because they're used almost universally by parents, we've never worried about it.

I'm starting to worry.

In the past, she didn't necessarily like to be swaddled, but she quickly made her peace with it and calmed down, usually without any kind of struggle.  She struggles mightily and often vocally now.  She even knows when it's coming.  As soon as I lay her down on top of it, she scrunches her face up and starts to protest.  And she's stronger now.  I can't swaddle her tightly enough to keep her from working a hand or two up out the top, where it then proceeds to knock her nuk out.  And therein lies the rub.  When the time comes to unswaddle her for sleep, WHAT WILL SHE DO WITH HER HANDS?  Right now they don't comfort her.  She just knocks her nuk out and then tries to get both fists fully into her mouth.  When she fails at that, it really pisses her off, so she tries even harder.  If I put the nuk back in, she knocks it back out, so strong is the desire to get both hands into her mouth at once.  If I time her sleep PERFECTLY, she falls asleep quickly enough that the nuk stays in and the hands stay swaddled, but the window of time during which she is perfectly tired is about three seconds (fuck you Dr. Weissbluth and your goddamn smug advice about timing) and I rarely hit it right.  So the only solution now is to sit with my hand on her chest, holding her hands down, until she's asleep.  Already I know this is not sustainable, and we're still swaddling her!  What the fuck happens when we stop swaddling her?

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Love My Daughter, Hate My Life

I feel, and I think most of my friends would confirm this, I'm a pretty laidback guy.  Happy go lucky.  The kind of guy who both recognizes how lucky he is but feels he controls his own fate.  Before we got pregnant, when considering our future child, I never considered that my child wouldn't be laidback and easy.  I mean, most parents hope for an easy child, so it's really hard not to picture your future with such a child.  Days filled with coos and giggles and painless nap times during which you'll catch up on the dishes and your award-winning dad blog.  Or something.

When The Baby came, I held on to this dream despite some evidence to the contrary.  Don't get me wrong; as I've stated before, she's not a difficult baby.  She's a pretty ordinary baby, which is to say, not that easy.  But I've only recently, like in the last two weeks, come to terms with the truth: The Baby is Not Easy.  She's now just over four months old.  She sleeps OK at night, waking two or three times, but typically giving us stretches of three or four hours.  But she naps for shit.  We try to follow all the "rules" of good sleep hygiene.  We're consistent with how we put her down.  We use minimal sleep crutches, just a nuk, swaddle, and a fan for white noise.  We put her down drowsy but awake.  And despite this, she will still only nap for 25-30 minutes, unless we're rocking her.  At every timeline milestone, six weeks, three months, four months, I've waited for her to sort her naps out.  After 25 minutes, I'll watch the monitor, and cross my fingers that this day, finally, after so much hard work, she'll roll over and go the fuck back to sleep.  But she never does.  So for the last month plus, she takes between two and five of these half-hour cat naps and we rock her for two to four hours in the afternoon so she actually gets at least one effective nap in.  The result is she's still chronically over-tired and fussy.  She is Not Easy.

At this point, I've sat for hours upon hours in almost-absolute darkness with my hand on her tiny little chest, because she's become very observant, and if there's any light at all, she'd rather sing and coo than go to sleep.  So I can't even look at my phone, and I sit, and I have nothing to do but think, and I  think, and I hate myself for hating my life.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Good Days

I'm not always such a gloomy bastard!  Yesterday and today have been good, and to make it all feel better, the nights were not particularly good.  The Baby is still waking two or three times between 8pm and 7am.  I'm still blaming that on the four-month sleep regression.  So the last couple nights have been "normal," which is to say not great but not so bad that I'm a walking zombie during the day.

The days have been good because The Baby has been napping on something that's approaching a schedule (I know, I jinxed myself by using the "s" word).  I kind of feel like I'm on top of something...anything...maybe nothing.  But I feel good.  A lot of this has to do with the temp finally getting back above zero so The Baby and I can go visit The Wife for a mid-day feeding.  Getting out of the house, seeing adults, and NOT having to prepare and give a bottle give more boost that you'd think.

So I feel good, and I want to make sure I'm sharing the good as well as the makes-me-want-to-bash-my-head-against-a-wall.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

More On Depression

Follow up to last post.  I hope some day to have the balls to share this blog with family and friends (I first need to convince myself I have anything worthwhile to say), and I'm sure my admitting I think about hurting myself is going to cause ripples.  As best as I can, I want to address some of those feelings, conceding it's just not gonna happen in a single blog post.

I have a temper.  It's not the yell and scream kind of a temper.  I can't explain it, other than certain things make me feel as if I've been done a grave injustice and it makes me angry.  I often wonder if this is what Thoreau was referring to when he said, "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." Maybe we all feel the universe is unjust.  But in my case, instead of feeling desperate, I feel angry.  Much of it comes from feeling out of control; not on top of anything.  You parents out there may smile grimly at this, because you know that you control almost nothing during the first few months of parenthood.  You're certainly not on top of anything.  At least, it doesn't feel like it.

Anyway, I have a temper and my anger manifests itself as short answers, terse responses, and tension that causes my wife to walk on eggshells for fear of saying or doing the wrong thing.  I know when I'm doing this, and I hate myself, which makes it worse, and a vicious cycle rolls on.  My wife is very good at talking to me and helping me through these feelings, for which I love her more than words can say, but which is also terribly unfair to her.

What it comes down to is I don't want to be an angry father and husband.  I don't want my wife to ever have to walk on eggshells around me.  I don't want my daughter to accidentally knock over her milk at dinner and instantly look to me to see if tonight is one of the nights that I might raise my voice, or worse, say nothing and just clench my jaw and breathe deeply as if my head is about to explode.

The temper was there before the baby, but it's taken on a whole new significance now for those reasons.  So I'm seeing a therapist of some kind.  I first tried to go through one of the postpartum depression support organizations, but sadly, they had no services specific to dads in my area (I'm finding that postnatal depression in men is common, but only recently recognized; there aren't as many resources as I thought there would be).  When that didn't work, I went through my general practitioner.  When it's all said and done, I'll have waited three months to get an appointment, which is ironically maddening.  Oh, you have anger problems?  Well, you'll just have to wait patiently until a slot opens up...

I'm angry too much of the time, I want to better understand why and what to do about it, and I'm seeking help.  That's the bottom line.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

On Depression and Expectations

The Baby is still not sleeping well.  We'll put her down at 6 or 6:30, always in the hope she'll power through that first wakeup half an hour after we put her down, and it never happens.  So she gets up and feeds, and then she's back down by 8 or so.  On many nights, she's up again at 9 or 10, and at 11, and then she'll wake one or two more times before 7 the next day.  Not as bad as I've heard of, but not good.  The Wife and I talk about it, and some if it is just expectations.  The Baby has given us enough good nights, when she'll sleep for up to seven hours at a stretch, that we know she can do it, and now that's she's close to four months old, we're starting to feel like she should be sleeping better.  I'm obsessed with her sleep.  In an effort to identify potential patterns from which we might build a schedule, we started tracking her sleep in a spreadsheet.  Below is a screen grab of it; each blue cell is half an hour of sleep, with the time on the vertical axis:

As you can see, not a lot of pattern there.  I'd like to call your attention to two things.  Just to the right of the middle of the graph, you'll see four nights in a row that really fucking sucked.  Those were the first four nights after my wife went back to work.  You will see some good chunks of sleep in the afternoons.  Those are when I'm rocking The Baby in the nursery.  If she's not in our arms, she will not sleep for more than 35 minutes.  You can damn near set your watch to her sleep cycle.

So I'm obsessed with her sleep, how much she's getting, and it's depressing me.  I don't mean in a "gee I'm bummed out today" kind of way, but in the way that makes it hard to get out of bed in the morning, keeps me near tears for more of the day than I'd like to admit, and as embarassing as it is to say it out loud, makes me want to hurt myself.  We're gonna spend a lot of time exploring all of this, because these feelings are the reason I started blogging in the first place, but I think if I had to put it down right now, as succinctly as possible, it is that The Baby's sleep (or lack thereof) makes me feel like a failure as a parent.  The days after those four awful nights were the worst of my life.  I was exhausted and angry and bitter and resentful and my wife is stuck dealing with the pile of shit that used to be the man she married, our baby, and her job which routinely demands she work 80 hours a week.  In the corporate world, we would say that is unsustainable.

And there's a text from The Wife, who is back on tomorrow, asking if I can take over putting The Baby down for the night.  Here goes nothing.

Friday, January 8, 2016

More On Sleep Regression

This is gonna be a short one, because as we speak, The Baby is about to lose her shit.  So last night, after The Baby woke at 2, 4, 6, and 7:30 am, I decided that today I would do whatever it takes to get her to sleep as long as possible.  I've spent nearly all of today in the nursery, rocking her while watching Netflix on my phone.  Scrubs, if you must know.  Fuck this shit.  I'm coming to terms with the fact that The Baby is just fussy.  What do you do about that?

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Fucking Sleep Regression

We are in the midst of a fucking sleep regression.  But first, a note about language.  I am a real person, and when I get frustrated, I like to swear.  It's how I talk.  It's how real people talk.  I bet you're a real person, and I bet when your baby goes through a sleep regression, you're gonna feel like cussing up a fucking storm, because not much I've experienced has sucked as much as fucking sleep regression.

OK, now that I got that out of my system, I can settle down a little.  I think I mentioned before that of the myriad ways parenting has to make you feel like a naive idiot, sleep is what's made me feel like the biggest boner.  The Baby has been good compared to most, but still.  Sleep is our white whale (yours too I bet).  What we're struggling with now is that she's not quite 3 1/2 months old, so she's old enough to have had some good stretches where she was sleeping 6 or 7 hours at once, but not so old that we can expect that or do anything to try to influence her.  No matter your opinion on sleep training, it seems most experts don't recommend it until 4-5 months.  So right now, we put her down at night, pray to every god there is that she'll stay down for at least a few hours, and then close our eyes.  Note that we do not go to sleep.  Sleep for parents at this stage is too fucking scary, because if you allow yourself to sleep, you make yourself emotionally vulnerable.  It's so much less demoralizing to have to go back to soothe a baby before you've gone to sleep than after.  So I distract myself with everything.  New magazine?  Sure, I'll flip through it quick, but then it's lights out.  Well, that didn't really take that long, and I'm not even really tired, so I'll check the ol' Facebooks for the eleven billionth fucking time today, just to make sure I've scanned all the headlines so I can get myself good and worked up over some political bullshit.  And now it's almost midnight and the little shit has actually stayed asleep and I've screwed myself out of an hour or two of what could've been good sleep.

Or not, as is more often the case in the last week.  Even now, it's 11:09 am and I just checked the monitor and the timer on my phone.  Eyes still closed, timer says 17 minutes, so given her usual 30 minute cat nap, I should have another 10 minutes to update this blog that I vowed I would update daily so I would feel my life had purpose...