Archive | April, 2011

There’s no crying in baseball!

27 Apr

At the end of last week, young BB was getting over a cold. He had acquired a charming habit of coughing, then sneezing, then waking himself up, then crying. About every two hours. And our normal approach to that point was to hold him and rock him until he was ‘just about asleep,’ then place him into his crib. This was my approach, by the way. The Brooklyn Dad method. Trademark. Hilarious.

However, when the kid wakes up every two hours, and screams his ass off when you place him in his crib, this method sucks. Bad. Your back starts to hurt from rocking him, you get that band of tightness around your head from the lack of sleep, you start to wonder if perhaps they were right about you all along, that you aren’t really suited to parenthood after all. And won’t the crying stop, make it stop make it stop make it stop.

Good times.

This goes on for a few days. Silly baby has of course parlayed his minor upper respiratory infection into a 24/7 need-fest, and we fell for his shit like Charlie Brown kicking a football. I actually stood there at 2:30am, rocking him, placing him finally and gingerly in his crib, tiptoeing back into bed, and he would start crying the moment my head hit the pillow. Seriously, how could he even know how to do that?

Finally, I get all, ‘fuck it. I’m letting him cry.’ And baby mama throws a shit: “You can’t just let him cry without a plan!” “It’s mean to let him cry!” “I’ll stab you in your sleep and then we’ll see how you cry, you cold-hearted monster!” (ok, that last one was a bit of a stretch, but more a difference of degree than kind).

Of course, I’m not backing down at all. Instead, I get all indignant and belligerent: “Well, what else do you have in your magic bag of tricks?” “He’s safe, he’s not hurt, it’s fine to let him cry!” “Just go sleep on the couch if you can’t take it!” “Your crouching motherhood grip is no match for my hidden father fists of fury!”

And finally, baby mama – at this point, alarmingly rocking a baby whose voice had amped up to 11 – sticks him down in the crib and gives me a “Fine! Fine! You do what you want!” and stalks out of the room.

At this point, I’m thinking “yay! I win! I win!”

Yeah, right. I took a deep breath, gave her an In your face, yeah, that’s right!! apologized to my angry and shaken wife, we both stepped back and took a breath, and we agreed that we could try to do a ‘let him cry’ scenario, but not tonight. We could definitely use a plan, and not my Grand 3am Plan (officially the Fuck It, Let’s Just Let Him Cry Until He Sleeps Or Pops His Spleen Plan).

A day or two later, baby mama had read Ferber, and we rolled out the infrastructure to Ferberize our baby, with charts and graphs and timers.

It’s been about 3 or 4 days since, and things are going well. The first day he cried for 20-30 minutes when going to sleep, and another 20-30 when going to nap. The next couple days, these times dropped pretty dramatically. We don’t need to swaddle the boy no more, and we don’t hold him in our arms rocking him to sleepiness. He has slept as much as from 7:30pm to 3:30am, then a feed, then up again at 6:30am, then back to sleep for another hour or two. He’s napped for a two hour stretch (once). We haven’t done away with the night feeding, but I suspect we’ll be down to one/zero pretty quickly.

And credit where it’s due, the baby continues to be, but for the blip around his illness, easy to soothe and quick to adapt. Not that I’m keeping score or whatever, but our baby is probably better than yours. And it of course follows that we’re probably better parents.

All things considered, this was an argument that has had (so far) a good resolution. Not like that one where she almost slammed my phone onto the ground, and I raised my voice in front of her mother.

Oh, and as pre-insufferable Tom Hanks says, there’s no crying in baseball.


Dear Little One, part 2

20 Apr

Some time, when you’re older, you might wonder what kind of baby you were, and what kinds of things we did with you. By the time you want to know these things, we will probably have forgotten them. So, here are some things about your baby-hood, baby:

– Your mama used to sing Simon & Garfunkel’s song, “At the zoo

– When you were just weeks old, you would wake up every couple hours to eat. And when you did, you would cccrrrrrryyyy! To calm you down, I would dance with you while singing Louis Prima’s song “Buona Sera.”

– We swaddle you when we put you to sleep, but somehow you seem to Houdini your way out of the swaddle almost every time. We don’t know how you are doing it.

– Your favorite toy is a multicolored caterpillar, which we shake while moving it towards you. You get all excited, and try to stuff it in your mouth.

– You once went four days without pooping, and we got so worried we called your doctor. Everything was fine.

– When you were released from the hospital, your bilirubin levels were high. We had to get you blood tests for four days after that, where they poked your heel to get blood. Once they took it from a vein in your arm, with a baby needle.

– We ended up needing to bring you to the hospital, to put you under UV lamps in a neonatal warmer, for a night. It was, at the time, the most stressful night for your mama. The would only let one of us stay with you, so I went home and slept.

– There was a blizzard on the day of your bris. We said nice things about you, and your grandma cried.

– You are easy to soothe, and you don’t really cry much. You are such a happy baby that when you wake up in the morning, the first thing you do is smile wildly at me.

– We casted your foot when you were a couple weeks old, and re-casted it over the next couple months. You almost never cried, and the orthopedists and technicians all commented on how easy you were. Even during your tenotomy, you were easy to soothe.

– You love playing in your Gymini, where you can contentedly bat around the giraffe, monkey, bird, and elephant for hours at a time. now, you grab them to put them in your mouth.

There’s more, but if I were to describe you at 4 months, I would say you are happy, fat, and chubby-cheeked. You love to be held, and you put everything in your mouth. You sit through baths without crying or loving them, and you don’t freak out easily. And when you do, you are easy to soothe. Overall, you’re pretty much a model baby. We don’t know what Benjamin 2.0 will look like, but Benjamin 1.0 is great.

Cake Monday Returns!

18 Apr


I know, it’s been way too long. So I made two! The chocolate chip banana bread is for baby mama, natch. The other is for the office – that’s right, the office. That’s how we do things chez Brooklyn Dad.

Oh, and happy Passover, breadniks!

Another kick in the neck

15 Apr

They just keep coming. My partner had a PE a couple years back by the way, and she’s honestly, god-thankfully fine.

4 months

15 Apr

So, we took BB to the pediatrician for his 4 month checkup and vaccinations. He’s now 16 lbs. 3 oz. (with shoes, but not with the bar). Let’s call it an even 16lbs. And he’s 26.5 inches tall. This puts him in the 70th percentile for weight, and 90th percentile for height. I put together an instructive (and predictive) graph:

Doing a little math, we can compute linear equations to determine his height/weight going forwards, as I’m sure you all remember from your high school math classes (y=mx+b, where y is the value for height or weight, m is the slope of the line, x is the number of months, and b is the y-intercept).

For height, in centimeters: y = 4.445x + 49.53
For weight, in grams: y = 1041.875x + 3090

So, at birth, he was 49.53cm, or 19.5 inches. At four months, 26.5 inches (2′ 2.5″)! At 12 months, we can predict that he will be 40.5 inches (3′ 4.5″)! And we can predict with confidence that our five-year-old will be 124.5 inches (10′ 4.5″). Hello basketball scholarship!

Likewise, at 1 year, he’ll weigh 34 lbs., 6 oz. And at 5 years, he’ll weigh almost 145 pounds. He’ll be the tallest, skinniest man in the whole wide world! Finally we’ll have someone who can change that pesky light bulb that went out in our bedroom fixture.

I’m sure I don’t need to run the numbers on his neurological development, needless to say we’ll have an insanely smart teenager (and don’t even get me started on the trajectory of his genital growth).

What I’m talking about

15 Apr

Their kids’ names are Felix, and Bella, and Otto, and Arturo. The mothers come into the coffee shop where I am working, complaining about how their kid scored so high on the SHSAT they are worried that they will not adjust to being treated as a star (“what happens when he gets to Harvard and finds out he isn’t the smartest one there!”). Never any fathers. Always complaints about who didn’t show up to Grandparent night, or who did. That they are being judged for making the ethical choice to not circumcise their child. Always loud enough for everyone else to hear them. Boastful, indignant, indulgent, and entitled.

When I talk about raising a ‘normal’ kid, I do so with the sociological knowledge that normal is a dangerous social construction. And yet. I am deeply ambivalent about the fact that I don’t fit into this world and find it creepy. Or worse, that I will fit in rather nicely. Or already do.


12 Apr

My brother relates that when his boy was one year old, he got really sick for the first time. Poor, helpless babe couldn’t breathe, couldn’t sooth, and didn’t know what was going on. My brother gathered him up in his arms, held him, and told him everything was going to be ok. Babe turned to his dad, trustingly. And threw up directly into his ear hole.

BB caught a cold or something this past weekend (after getting immunization booster shots on Thursday. Coincidence? Doubt it. The vaccine-autism-cold virus-conspiracy continues!), which has been mildly annoying from the medical perspective, but incredibly disturbing from the parenting one. Somehow used to getting 6-7 (interrupted) hours of sleep a night, I am now getting 4 or so. Baby can’t breathe, wakes himself up, cries. I rock him in my arms until he is sleepy again, put him down in his crib. Baby immediately wakes up, coughs, sneezes, makes a chokey-wheezy sound, and I pick him up, rock him, etc. Baby mama, who is also sick, takes her turns in the rocking sleeping roulette. And she should, really. It’s from her that BB got his cold in the first place.

Meanwhile, because I’m not a heartless asshole, I’m trying to keep both of these yokels in sleep patterns. Over the weekend this meant a disparate amount of childcare, which is par for the course in these circumstances. I want both to get well, and soon. But it also just highlights that however much we seem to have things together, we are just a hair’s breath from having it all go to shit. All it takes is a cold, and suddenly the machine falls apart.

That said, baby seems to be feeling better. And baby seems to be feeling better. I took BB up to Morningside Heights during our super-nice-awesome day yesterday, to meet my colleagues. So almost two hours of subway, plus a short nap on my office floor, plus some meet-n-greets, and things do appear to be back on track.

And now that he’s gotten his cold out of the way, we’ll thankfully never have to deal with that again.