Thursday, March 25, 2010

The day-to-day

As usual, just when we feel we have figured out Theo's patterns, he changes them. Instead of focusing on specifics, here's a general breakdown of his habits.

Theo usually has two wakeful periods in a day. The morning one starts about 8am and is usually overwhelmingly happy. The evening one starts about 4pm and is usually overwhelmingly cranky. Wakefulness lasts anywhere from 2 to 5 hours. Otherwise, he's pretty much asleep.

When he's in a good mood he's hilarious to be around. Check out all the recent videos here. He's beginning to make some spectacular noises, chuckling and making back-of-the-throat gasps, aka Baby Pterodactyl sounds. His smiles are huge, bigger than any adult ever smiles, taking up his entire being with their intensity. It's hard enough to get the video camera on him at the right time, never mind trying to get the perfect photograph, as these moments are unpredictable. There's nothing like seeing him decide that life is wonderful. Another cliche proven true - his laughter is all I need to keep going.

It's a good thing, too, because the evening crankiness can be very challenging. Just when I want to make and eat dinner, he needs endless attention. Greg and I hand the task of cooking dinner back and forth as his needs require - if Theo's in a good mood, Greg gets him, and if he needs food, I handle him. Quite often he's at his worst when dinner is ready and I have to put off eating. It can be tough to end up with a cold dinner.

"Cranky" means he's unhappy, of course, but here's what his crankiness consists of. I feed him until he wails and then I try to burp him. Sometimes the burp just won't come. It may not sound like much, but just patting him on the back for 15 minutes straight (or longer) is exhausting. Pacing while carrying him sometimes helps the burp happen, or at least calms him considerably, making it extra exhausting. Even if he burps relatively quickly, he can keep eating and burping for hours if he's in the worst sort of mood. He may yell the entire time (except when actually eating) making everything even more wearying. Some nights this marathon has run on for 3 hours, leaving everyone frazzled.

I'm glad to report that all this has gotten better - or at least, we have gotten better at handling it. I happened across the Dunstan Baby Language concept and had instant results applying it. Quite often I can decipher what he needs and provide it quickly. It also serves as a confidence builder. The more capable we feel, the better the baby responds to us.

His naps have gotten longer and longer, often three and even four hours instead of two. His first stint of the night is the longest. Night feedings are short - seems that it's not hunger that wakes him, it's digestive stuff. I'm considering trying the "pat and put back" method in an attempt to get him to sleep all the way through. I'm not overly concerned by it at this point, as I can usually get an afternoon nap in, helping me feel like I'm getting just about enough sleep. It took me a while to allow myself to get very little done on any given day, but once I let go of that and embraced sleeping more, I became happier with everything, and far more able to deal with a possibly cranky child.

That's the most important thing...dealing with stressful crying situations, not from a place of exasperation, but with an even hand and an upbeat attitude. He deserves it.


  1. I don't know what your burping technique is but I always had good luck with putting my kids into a sitting position with my hand sort of cupped under the chin area to help hold them up and patting on the back (while sitting in my lap).

    I was never able to really master the over the shoulder burping technique that so many others do.

    Still loving the regular updates.

    -Betty. :)

  2. I've tried all three standard methods (sitting up as you describe, over the shoulder, and laying face down). Nothing seems to be magical and I've defaulted to the shoulder, though I should probably mix things up just in case.