Last night was an odd one. For us at least. Our tale starts as Max began a full fledged meltdown at 4 p.m. that turned into a baby laughing fit and ends with a remarkable amount of sleep for both him and for My Fair Lady while I was unable to sleep due to a massive rain storm for only the second time in my life.
Two weeks ago we had three trees cut down in our front yard. Piles and piles of large branches were lined up behind our fence per the city's instructions on where to leave such refuse, but there was still a massive collection in our driveway. The city tagged it and moved on expecting us to call out a cherry picker, or I could take a few days and cut down the pile myself.
I chose the latter.
As I chopped and hacked and slashed my way through the better part of Saturday, My Fair Lady reorganized the garage while Max sat very patiently in his stroller. He just watched us both very pleasantly and continued to prove that he's an outdoorsman. I swear, you take this kid outside and he's golden for three or four hours solid. Such was the case yesterday up to the point where it was time to feed him cereal.
We'd been inside and done with yardwork for about an hour when My Fair Lady reminded me that he needed his cereal. So I took him into the kitchen and put him in the Swedish Chair (his high chair) and that's when the meltdown began.
I yanked him out of the chair and he immediately stopped.
"What the hell was that?" I asked him. He just looked around. I put him back in the Swedish Chair and the result was the same. This time I finished the process of strapping him in and assembling the chair. Then I dragged him over to the kitchen sink so he could watch me preparing his meal. This whole time he's crying, by the way.
My Fair Lady walked into the kitchen concerned by the goings on and all I could do was shrug.
"He's fine," I argued. "One second he's good the next, this. I'm prepping as fast as I can."
Once his cereal was ready (two tablespoons worth of rice cereal), I slid him over to the table and used the crying to my advantage. He would rear his head back and I slipped the spoon into his mouth. He wasn't expecting that. He knocked it back and tried to cry out again. Again his mouth encountered my spoon, loaded for bear with cereal. This process went on for some time at which point it became increasingly clear that the amount was insufficient for him.
"Um... hon? How much should I feed him of this?"
"How much has he eaten?"
"About to clean his plate and he's still going strong. Thoughts?"
"Try another tablespoon and see how he does."
So I prepped another tablespoon worth of cereal. Again, he cleaned it right up. Again, he continued to fuss and cry though with slightly reduced intensity. So I made him round four which again he knocked back with ruthless efficiency. Desperate to fill the black hole that apparently my son has for a stomach, I snagged the remaining bottle of formula, slapped a nipple on the top and plugged it into his mouth.
"Snarf... snarf... snarf."
The formula began to rapidly disappear. My Fair Lady and I just watched mesmerized by how much this five month old being had consumed. But then his drinking began to taper off. With an ounce left to go in the bottle, he was finally sated. I withdrew the bottle and Max and I just stared at each other. Then, like the four year old I am, I made a farting noise with my mouth.
That cracked him up. So I did it again. He cracked up again. Oh, we had a happy baby again and yet more proof that when he cries or is fussy, feed him. This is something we seem to be reluctant to accept or comprehend for some bizarre reason. My Fair Lady, of course, snagged the video camera and captured the extent to which a dad will go to amuse his baby.
In my case, that would be 10 minutes of farting noises. I assured My Fair Lady that at no point in the future will Max ever grow out of laughing at this. We men are a simple folk.
After that it was a matter of playing with him until he went down. We've really nailed his night routine and now he's adopted a morning routine as well - which is great except on the days when we have to blow it on account of circumstances.
Last night we put him down no sweat by 6:45 p.m. My Fair Lady nursed him, patted him, put him to sleep - nothing out of the ordinary. He wakes back up shortly after 9 p.m. at which point we feed him a 6 ounce bottle of formula (or a Baby 40 as I call it) and then he conks right back out. He wakes back up at 10 p.m. but puts himself back to sleep. He wakes up again at 11:45 p.m. and for 15 minutes coos in his bed as he tries to soothe himself back down. Ultimately he was unsuccessful so I went in, picked him up, patted him on the back for five minutes and he went out again.
He woke up again at 4:30 a.m. Almost made it through the dead of night and went over six hours between feedings. This is a win for America.
Last night we had a major rain storm in the Dallas area, so much so that minor flooding was a genuine threat. Instead of sleeping peacefully through it as I used to do, I couldn't sleep at all due to constant panic that the storms would wake Max up. Yes, I can't wait for him to sleep through the night without worries.
But baby steps is what it will take and our progress continues.