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.

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3 Responses to “There’s no crying in baseball!”

  1. Davin April 28, 2011 at 7:26 am #

    Heh. Are you aware of _Go the F*ck to Sleep_, due to be published later this year, and already in the Amazon top 300?
    I’m trying to convince Ivy that we desperately need a copy.

    Oh, and you’re a monster for letting your little angel “cry it out”.

  2. Peter April 28, 2011 at 9:03 am #

    Yes, that book flashed across the internet a couple of days ago, though it’s out in October. I thought about it as a Mother’s Day gift for da missus.

    My original plan was to stand over the baby as he was crying, shouting ‘Life is pain! Get used to it!’, but that was somehow kaiboshed. Spare the rod, spoil the child.

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