Search for causation and explanation, newborn edition

21 Dec

One of the challenging things about having this newborn boy is that he just does stuff, and it’s left to us to figure out how to manage it, deal with it, avoid it, run around it. One feeding he takes the breast, eats his fill, switches breasts, then goes to sleep. The next feeding he falls asleep at the nipple, won’t feed, hiccups for 20 minutes, cries, eats, then makes smacking hunger cues 15 minutes later. He’s a baby, yes. A lovely, charmingly cute newborn. But man o man, these little things are unreasonable.

This throws me and my partner into fits. We are very rational, in that we consider stuff before we do it. Baby mama believes strongly in preference sets, which determine behaviors, which make outcomes relatively predictable. I believe that people are at least intendedly rational, that they tell themselves stories that make their behavior understandable to them, if not to the world.

Brooklyn baby does not live like this. We’ve tried one of most things, and sometimes the very same routine works totally differently. And so we search for causation and reason. He’s crying: hungry? dirty diaper? gas? something mama ate? I mean, at one week old he doesn’t have a lot of psychological needs. And despite knowing in my heart that babies cry because it’s one of the small range of things they can do, I’m a little concerned until I can satisfy myself with an explanation. Crazy fussy? OH NOES! Oh, wait, mama ate chocolate, well she’ll just cut out caffeine altogether for the duration of breastfeeding. Yeah, right. Oh, wait, says here in this delightful book (The 10,000 Things That You Almost Certainly Don’t Know About Your Child’s Development, and Why You Should Be Concerned About That) that babies go through growth spurts when they eat constantly. Whew, growth spurt, glad we solved that mystery.

Until the next one.

And though it all I am trying hard to slow down time, because I know he’ll be this tiny for just a quick hot second, and man he is the cutest thing. Despite the blow to our worldview, and the lack of consistent sleep, we’re enjoying the little guy tremendously.

I leave you, for your amusement, the delightful image of my thug life wife extorting our son for his milk money:

Just pay me my money kid, and no one will get hurt!

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2 Responses to “Search for causation and explanation, newborn edition”

  1. Davin December 22, 2010 at 7:11 am #

    Yeah, I pretty much think that young humans are essentially unknowable. It’s very liberating. Ivy is always trying to explain and understand Vanderlito’s behavior, and it’s a frustrating and exhausting process. It must be even worse for her.

  2. Ivy December 23, 2010 at 10:09 pm #

    If I may speak for myself, I do not find it onerous at all- he is a little person with is own preferences and needs, and I think of myself as honoring and respecting him by trying to understand him. As my mother likes to say (when I’m confused by non-regular/rational behavior): “Well you know, he’s not a robot.” Sounds like BB is not a robot either!

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