Friday, January 29, 2010

La-La Land

The past few nights have been amazing. While I read about globally useful things like vaccinations and the projected cost of college tuition in the year 2026, Carrie finds practical information such as how to preserve our sanity by getting Amari to sleep for longer stretches. While my information inspires needless anxiety over imaginary possibilities, Carrie's provide pragmatic solutions for current challenges. She has the intuitive survival skills of a mother and I have the impractical, useless skills of a father. If we were lost in the jungle, Carrie would find us food and water while I would be worrying about how much the rescue chopper was going to cost. The fact of the mater is - Amari might not even want to go to college, but we definitely want to sleep.

So what did Carrie learn? That codeine cough syrup will knock your baby out for as long as you like provided you pay no attention to the whole "recommended dose" thing. What do medical doctors know? They're just drug dealers in white coats. What Carrie actually learned was rather than immediately jumping to feed Amari every time she moves or grunts, we should first try to gently rock or bounce her back to sleep, train her to work through the mild discomfort she may be experiencing - be it gas, hunger, or general anxiety about Kobe Bryant's injured index finger. When it's my turn to lull her back to sleep I like to whisper things like, "It's okay, baby - Gasol just signed a contract extension and Andrew Bynum's only 22." She smiles, and although she still experiences residual melancholy about never getting to see the Showtime Lakers, she slips gently back to sleep.

I began writing this blog on Monday after a back-to-back-to-back nights of nearly seven solid hours of sleep. Carrie handled most of the night time rocking and bouncing, while I took the early feeding shift. As a result, we both felt relatively alive and well-rested. For me, it was like an altered state of consciousness, except rather than being disconnected, aloof, and nauseated, I felt present, motivated, and full of love. I was ready to spend all week writing blogs about what an awesome baby we have, her playoff football knowledge, and how she seems to be mouthing words already. I was bragging to friends and co-workers that my brilliant wife had discovered the secret to successful child-rearing and Amari was now practically sleeping through the night. I knew from previous experiences not to get attached, but three nights in a row felt like more than a fluke - it felt like a pattern. Now I wonder if Amari wasn't mouthing the words, "This is just a fluke."

Unfortunately, it turned out to be a streak. And like most streaks - even the UCLA Bruins 88 games in the mid-seventies - it came to an abrupt and painful end. I believe indigestion and too much day-time napping was our Fighting Irish, and Tuesday night not only put an end to my boasting but also began a brand new streak - akin to the infamous 2008 Detroit Lions. Today is Friday, and the enthusiasm of 21 weekend hours of rest is a distant memory. I still love my daughter and my wife, but I miss that feeling of presence and well-being. Currently, I'm not a napper - never have been, but I imagine that this may be a one of those Darwinian tipping points where the fittest parents are the ones who adapt to their baby's sleep pattern while the rest perish at the hands of fatigue, internalized frustration, or trichotillomannia (hair-pulling caused by anxiety). I can't really afford the hair loss or the internalized frustration, so I'm going to ride fatigue into genetic mutation.

Perhaps my wife will glean some brilliant, new information on napping techniques, but until then I'll just rock back and forth on the couch and whisper to myself, "It's okay, baby, Gasol just signed a contract extension and Andrew Bynum's only 22."

1 comment:

  1. You said Gasol...heehee. Seriously, I love your posts. I'm happily child-free, but even so I learn things from your blog (mostly sports things...) and I always get at least one LOL. Love and bright blessings to you all. ~B~