Tag Archives: colic

TMLFYI… | No Myth

“She’s been fussy since Friday.”

“It’s Thursday.”

“Yeah. That’s why we’re calling again.”

24×7 nurse support can sometimes only be so helpful.

It’s amazing how parents cope with a fussy child. It is our job to work our way through every scenario and in the simplest of terms, make things better. To soothe. By any means necessary. The options aren’t radical and the permutations often fit on a 3×3 grid. She needs to be changed. She needs to be burped. She needs to be fed. At least that’s where the problem solving starts. In the heat of the moment, with tears flowing and lungs swelled, you can sometimes forget or overlook one of the options or frustratingly, choose the wrong order. Yet with practice you have a roadmap that becomes second nature, and with a better understanding of your baby’s fidgets and cries, you even get pretty good at knowing where to start.

But not always, at least for us at 5.5 weeks, not yet. Even soothing sometimes takes you off the beaten path. What we have learned over the past week is that sometimes, maybe (just maybe) she’s just looking for, someone to dance with.

(Bonus points if you’re like Astaire overseas.)

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TMLFYI… | Trial and Error (and Success)

“She’s got to be hungry.”

“But she just ate 45 minutes ago.”

“Maybe she’s gassy?”

“We gave her those probiotics. I held her up for 40 minutes. And she was all burped out.”

“Did she poop?”

“Yeah. And she’s all clean. I checked.”

“We should try swaddling her with her arms in.”

“They were in. And then she jailbroke.”

“Maybe she’s hungry.”

“You already said that.”

Anyone who has a newborn has had exactly that kind of conversation with their spouse, parents, nanny, experienced friends. You instantly turn into Henry and Liza trying to figure out where the hole in this d*mn bucket came from in the first place. All the while, your baby is crying (wailing) in the background.

Anaiya Doped Up on Milk!I’m a marketer by trade. I tend to think I’m a pretty good one, but maybe that’s just because I’ve done such a good job marketing myself to myself. We’ll leave that alone as it becomes an infinite loop. Marketing is a fairly broad discipline but one of its foundational principles is the idea of test and learn. I will probably write a post on this separately so I’ll spare the details here, but the bottom line is that the only way you get to the right answer in Marketing is to test your ideas live with your audience, and commit to learning from them. No amount of analysis up front will bring you all the way to your answer. The right answer.

Munchkin, you put my test and learn skills to the test. Some people tell me you’re supposed to have different cries. It’s been 3.5 weeks and I agree, you do have different cries. Heartbreaking. Gut-wrenching. And awe-inspiring. Three very different cries, but they don’t help me a lick.

What has happened over the past few weeks is a few things that I believe change our lives forever.

First and foremost, I believe that I now have in my power, the ability to stop you from crying. Somehow. Some way, I can make things better just about all of the time. If I don’t get frustrated. If I don’t give up. If I don’t get lazy. If I don’t let tired dominate. I can find a way to make you feel better. That’s a beautiful feeling. Because you are both my responsibility and my concern. Knowing I am getting better at fulfilling one and alleviating the other makes me feel better about the father I can be to you forever.

Next, comes the approach for solving your crying. I can sometimes feel myself making it about me wanting you to stop crying. Those are the times I fail you. My body tenses. I am not holding you as softly. You feel my energy and are thrown off. If I allow myself to get overwhelmed in trying to make you stop crying for me, I can expect you to continue crying in spite of me. Instead what I need to do is pay close attention. Life is better when I make the answers about you. Isn’t that what parenting is about?

Even at 3.5 weeks my munchkin, you are extraordinarily expressive. I can tell so much about how you’re feeling by how much I pay attention to how you respond to all of the little things. To being cradled or being placed on your back. To being in a swing or in the MamaRoo. To being swaddled (hands in or out) or being left to roam free. To being stroked from your bottom up, or from your shoulders down (and being stroked with the whole hand or just the palm of the hand.) To having your head near my heart or having your heart near my heart. To hearing a babbling brook or standard white noise.

Anaiya Mom LapWhat I have learned is that as a father, it is my job to listen to what you tell me and pay attention to what you don’t tell me. But no matter what I do, I have to make it about you. About all of you. It’s not enough to be wrapped around your fingers, because that means I can’t hear or see what the rest of you is telling me. What a realization the past few days! And there’s nothing more inspiring than finding a way to put you at ease. To stop you from crying. To get you doped up on milk to a point that you’re limp and wiped out. To get you to sleep for a few consecutive hours at a time. All of these nuances change frequently, with the things that worked yesterday not quite working today. You’re teaching me already how to stay on my toes and pay attention to you. Not because you’re demanding. Not because you’re spoiled (if anyone says or thinks that ever, let them feel my wrath.) Simply because you are my daughter. And that is my job.

Finally comes recognition of something I have noticed more and more since your birth: I will not have all the answers. Many timesyou’re just better off in your mom’s hands (who isn’t?) Some times we need to let you soothe yourself (we haven’t quite gotten there yet, but we know we have to soon.) Some times you don’t want anything specifically, you just want to be held. My job is to try when there is an answer, and let you know I love you and am there for you when we can’t find one. That will never change.

I promise to always do that for you, my lovely. Today my love for you manifests itself via trial and error (and god willing, success.)

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TMLFYI… | Simply Not Enough

(Note: This covers January 14th, our first night home from the hospital. In some ways, my least favorite day. Ever.)

D*mn. You’ve got some pipes. And it’s our fault you had to use them as loudly, often, and consistently as you did. We simply didn’t know any better.

We tried changing you. We tried feeding you. We tried burping you. We tried swaddling you. We tried everything parents of two days could try. And nothing worked. Your screaming got louder. On and off. You were exhausted. And every time you wailed our hearts shattered into a million more pieces. There is no sound like your cries. Nothing could have prepared us for it. And nothing will ever make me forget it. Consider me well trained to avoid your tears ever again.

It was this very night I realized that loving you to the end of the world, to the end of time, will sometimes not be enough. I also realized that feeling the kind of love we feel for you can be crippling and debilitating. I have never felt so hopeless. I have actually never been so worthless. Your Ba-ji, your Naniji, your Dadaji, your mom — they were all extraordinary in action. Your Ba-ji and Naniji are the only reason we made it through the night. I feel like they are the only reason you made it through the night. An interesting study in contrasts. Where mine was love inaction, there’s was love in action. Troubleshooting. Collaborating. Trialing, erroring, and trialing again. From 10pm to 8am the next morning they operated at a furious pace. Forcing me to rest. Standing beside your mom and magnifying her existing strength. Holding you in their hands every step of the way (even if they weren’t actually holding you in their hands at certain points in time.)

I witnessed something powerful and amazing that night, in the shadow of my own limitations as a father. My angel has angels. Specifically, two guardian angels in your Ba-ji and Naniji, and you couldn’t be more blessed. Because sometimes the love of your parents may not be enough. And in those times, you’re blessed to know that you have a love that’s even more unique and tireless — the love of your grandparents.

Yes, lovely. On this day, my love for you was simply not enough. Instead, I learned by watching your grandparents display one of the greatest performances of my lifetime, leaving me humbled and inspired to pursue my apprenticeship in parenthood under them.

(Knowing full well that if I screw up in the slightest I’ll have them to answer to.)

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