Monday, May 24, 2010

Just Keep Swinging

Last night was rough. Probably my roughest night so far.

Now I'll admit that my "roughest" night pales in comparison to the nights that parents experience when they bring home a real newborn, instead of a post-NICU, 9 1/2 week old infant. I didn't have to get up every two hours or anything.

But it wasn't the getting up that was the problem, it was the inconsolable screaming that threw me over the edge.

So we watched the Lost finale last night -- awesome -- and headed to bed very late for the two of us (since we're now old farts and all). Ellie had been out for about 4 hours by the time we made it into bed, and just as I was settling down, I could hear her starting to make sucking noises. Baby code for "feed me... like, now." Before she could start screaming, I jumped out of bed, heated a bottle, changed her diaper, and fed her. In my thinking, eating at 1 AM should hold her over for the rest of the night. Maybe 5 or 6 AM -- Mike's shift. Then at least I could get some sleep.

Ellie, or Dragon Baby, as she shall here-to-fore be referred, had other plans for me.

I get to bed somewhere between 1:30 and 2. At 3:55 AM, I hear the screaming. Not helpful feeding cues and sucking noises. Screaming.

How could she possibly be hungry again? But I figure, okay, I'll play along.

I do the routine. Change the poop, wipe the bum, warm the bottle... etc. Dragon Baby takes half the bottle and then starts hitting me. Baby code for "get that out of my face or I will barf all over your pjs." I catch wise and try to burp her. Pat her back? Rub her belly? No? Nothing?

I also notice that somewhere between 2 and 4 AM, she has gauged a large scratch across her left cheek, suporting my Dragon Baby theory. Seriously, when did my daughter grow talons? She has the tiniest fingernails I've ever seen. Did she crawl out of the house and encounter a dragon slaying knight? I suppose I'd be cranky and hungry too.

So we have many conversations about how screaming doesn't help me identify the problem, and a few about how self-mutilation is a bad idea...even for Dragon Babies. A few times, she stops screaming to stare at me with hatred. "Honestly, woman! How can you not know what the problem is?" At least, that's the subtext I'm reading from her expressions.

My daughter is very expressive. Actress material, I think.

Anyway, Mike swoops in. Major bedhead, squinty eyes... it is 4 AM, afterall. We bring every piece of her furniture upstairs, because we've learned that sometimes Dragon Baby just wants to sit instead of lie down.

The bouncy chair reaps limited success. We get some quiet, but then she spits the binky out after 2 minutes and screams in Mike's face. "You stupid Dad! Why would you think I want to sit here?"

She's got attitude problems, I think.

And then we try the swing.

If Dragon Baby has to swing every night in that thing until she's Dragon Teen, I will find a way to make that happen.

I got to sleep until 8 AM.

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