Baby

Our Not-So-“Easy” Baby

I have not been totally honest with you internet.

My baby is awesome.  He coos, he laughs, he cracks us up with his dinosaur sounds.  He is desperate to figure out the whole crawling thing that he sees the “big kids” doing at our baby group and his attempts are becoming something worthy of the video function on our crack-pad.  He’s a lightweight but he has stayed miraculously healthy in spite of the horrendous pollution and the sneaky Sichuanese grandmothers always trying to touch him when they think I’m not looking.

He is everything wonderful and awesome and he makes my heart want to burst with a love overload.

But he’s not easy.

We thought that because he was never very colicky, because he smiles at anyone who accidentally looks at him and because he figured out breastfeeding within a few weeks, because he doesn’t care if we wipe his butt with a freezing cold cloth or if the tags on his clothes aren’t silky smooth, we figured that he was one of those hardy, “daisy” babies.  You know, the kind who don’t require intense googling every night to figure out what the hell we might be doing wrong because he won’t eat/sleep/stop crying/let us put him to bed before 11pm without serious, exhausting effort.

Our baby is easy to love but he isn’t “easy.”

And we haven’t figured out how to help him.  And we need to.  Because our baby still:

After a brief period of good naps, can no longer nap anywhere but on top of Mama.

Doesn’t go to sleep before 10:30 no matter what time we start putting him to bed.

After 3 months of being put to bed by Dad every night, now screams if anyone but Mama attempts the final night-time walk-bounce-snuggle routine.

After only 2 weeks of decent sleep (up only 2x per night), began his 4 month sleep regression early and now wakes up every 1-2 hours.

Decided 2 weeks ago that he hates breast-feeding.  He arches his back and cries as if, instead of a boob, I’m pulling out a weapon.  He is hungry but can’t stand to settle down and stop looking at the world long enough to eat, unless we give him a bottle. (He does not have an ear infection, thrush, etc we’ve checked.  Alas, if only it were that easy a fix).

After his 4 month vaccinations, cried and screamed and ran fevers for 2 days, who could not be put down without going absolutely ballistic

Cries every single night because he is soo overtired but cannot a) stay comfy in our arms or b) stop his wild limbs from flying about long enough to fall asleep on his own.

Is currently teething, on top of everything else.

I type all of my blog posts one-handed, the other one is supporting Will’s head because, after 3 failed attempts at getting him to nap on his own every day, I reason that the kid needs at least one real nap a day, even if its on top of me.

I shower every night with Chris holding Will in the bathroom with me because otherwise he screams.  That time in the shower is about the only time I am not holding Will after 6pm.  No matter how many times we try to get him to fall asleep with Chris it always ends with him practically choking himself with his sobs and needing me to settle him down.

Chris and I spend approximately 15 minutes alone together each day.  It comes at 6:45 in the morning while he’s getting ready for work.  Will wakes up within a half hour of me getting up whether he is in his crib or in our bed.  He won’t go to sleep before 10pm no matter what time we start the bedtime routine.

Cooking is accomplished in 20 minute chunks through sheer force of planning, organization and having an amazing ayi to help me wash produce and dishes.

I only run on the weekends.  I do sit ups and push ups while playing with Will otherwise they wouldn’t happen.  We spend every night from 6pm onwards attempting (and failing) to get Will to sleep.

And in spite of all of the love and cuddling and rounds of Good Night Moon and swaddling and shushing, we are doing constant battle to get our kid to eat and sleep and it just makes me so sad.  I mean its exhausting and frustrating and inconvenient and all of that but mostly its just sad.

I keep reading these websites that say 4 months is a baby golden age of minimal crying and here’s our kid–a total rockstar at life in general–crying more now than he ever has before in his life.

The eating thing is a phase, I know.  An absurdly frustrating phase especially when your kid is already in the 10th percentile or lower for weight, but a phase.  The waking up at night is a phase, he’ll get over it.

But the fact that he can’t fall asleep or stay asleep, that he wakes up crying instead of happy so often, it just kills me.  We need to figure out how to help him.

Considering that letting Chris hold Will at night is practically a cry-it-out strategy of it’s own, I’m tempted to do a little Ferberizing-it can hardly be more crying than he’s doing already.

But then I watch his arms and legs go so frantic when we lay him down on his own and I just don’t know how on earth he can possibly settle himself.  It’s like he is just physically incapable of relaxing his body down for sleep.  Even when we hold him its like he’s fighting against himself.  He’s so tired but he can’t stop moving.  And every night he’s happy and chipper until we put him in his pjs–no matter whether its 6pm or 8 pm–and then all hell breaks loose.

Tonight’s cry-fest has already started though so I have to go.

Internet, thoughts?

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4 thoughts on “Our Not-So-“Easy” Baby

  1. To get Chris to hold him more you might try some sort of infant carrier, some good music, and lots of dancing, you guys could start by dancing together with Will in the carrier in between you two and then you could sit down. When we first came back with Z this was the only way V could hold her more than two seconds without red faced shrieking! And if it doesn’t work, you two have at least spent some time dancing… also CALL ME if you need a break. I’ve said it before but I mean it CALL ME!

  2. Hey Danielle, I have to say it I LOVE THIS POST! Thank god! It’s the first time (except for my one other mommy friend that I’ve attached to for dear life because of her honesty) I have heard a full-hearted “this sucks!” I am sure you have tried everything, everything to get Will a little more comfortable (how about driving around in the car?). It will happen soon, I promise. In the mean time… give him to ayi and RUN!!!! xoxo

  3. I am thinking it’s the teething. Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of really good solutions. I have used Hylands and Tylenol to help Chutney but when he’s teething it’s just that – sad! Plus, you can’t to give him meds around the clock. I am sorry Will is having such a hard time! Poor little guy! And poor you guys! The good news is – this too shall pass. Just keep trying different things – different rocking positions, different music, different lighting, try introducing a lovey (never worked for my kids but I know it has worked for others) every time you hold him, a new teething toy… hope something does bring him comfort. Best,

  4. Hello, I have seen your blog because we used to live in Chengdu. Then we went to New Delhi. We are now in Sao Paulo. Our daughter, Jussara, was born in Sao Paulo in January. Your son may be waking up because he is hungry, then frustrated because he is still hungry after nursing. Just a thought. You can try giving him rice water/mi tang once a day. In China they start at 2-3 months with this. Cook a small amount of white rice in a large pot of water, simmer for a few hours until the water is thick and cloudy. Separate the rice, and then give only the cooled water/soup to your son with a spoon or in a bottle. The liquid is sweet and will help nourish him. It is a very traditional Chinese baby food. You may want to talk to your pediatrician/health unit about starting fresh/homemade fruit juice (orange juice) or solids (mashed banana with breast milk, or mashed papaya) with your son. In Brazil, fruit juice or simple fruit or vegetable soups are started between 4-6 months, instead of exclusive breast feeding for one year plus. I know it is so hard right now. Is he burping well after nursing or the bottle? Sometimes trapped air can cause a lot of problems. Try to rest when you can, and nurture yourself as much as possible. You must be exhausted most of the time. Can your son sleep in the baby carrier/Ergo? I started doing daytime naps in the Ergo, walking around the city twice a day for an hour or so, because my daughter couldn’t nap in her crib, either. Try anything you think has a chance of working for sleep, because any additional sleep will make a big difference for him. Good luck and best wishes.

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