Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Fourth Trimester and Other Tales from the Trenches

Alan is just a few days away from his three-month birthday.

This milestone marks a few important things:

1.) He is FINALLY old enough for the gym daycare
2.) I have managed to keep two children alive for one quarter of a year
3.) Barack Obama is almost our president (knockin' ye olde wood)

and

4.) The fourth trimester is coming to a close

For those of you not reading Harvey Karp's Happiest Baby/Toddler series, let me explain. The fourth trimester is considered the time when human babies should still be in the womb (and if the human vagina were bigger, still would be). They have to come out with teeny brains to not rip their teeny mommy apart (although if you ask me, that head thing is still way too big), but the trade-off is a helpless creature with zero skill.

Most of the time, this translates into much crying, fussing and difficulty. We have been so lucky. So far. Until this week, actually. Our first child was a dream. She slept 12 hours a night by this time and has never stopped. I can count on one hand the number of times over her lifetime (after six weeks) that I have had to wake in the night for her. Alan has also been ok--not ideal--but definitely better than most kids. He goes to bed at 8, gets a sleep feed at midnight when R and I go to bed and then sleeps until around 4. On a good night. On a bad night all bets are off. Last night? He slept from 9:30-6:30. Best. Night. Ever.

But that was an anomaly in this past week. It has been a harrowing one.

Generally speaking our little man has been mellow, quiet and good natured so this sudden onset of screaming is a bit shocking. I am not sure if this is the transition to three months (I hope) or something physical, but Alan has, in the past week, decided to refuse all bottles, eschew all naps and wake every two hours all. Night. Long.

This is making our lives kinda suck right now. I went out to dinner with some friends the other night and had to come home early because R could not stop the screaming. We had a date night Saturday night that we had to cancel. I canceled today's babysitter and I am very scared that our Friday night plans (R's birthday and Halloween) will have to be cancelled as well (an all-night horror movie marathon at a local theater featuring The Shining, It's Alive and Halloween). I will be pretty miserable if that happens.

What to do? Why is he doing this?

The bottle thing is the worst. I cannot leave him. At all. A three-month-old can be as enigmatic as the Sphinx and sometimes just as trippy (esp. at 3 a.m. when mommy starts seeing imaginary bugs crawling on the wall thanks to sleep deprivation). Somehow we are going to have to crawl out of this hole. We have no other choice.

1 comment:

Lis Garrett said...

I notice with my kids - even now - they morph into demon children just when they are about to go through a major growth spurt.

Although, it wouldn't hurt to call your pediatrician if he's not eating or sleeping. Have you checked for red gums and teeth buds? Although it seems a little early for teeth, he may be in the beginning stages of teething. Or, perhaps he's coming down with an ear infection.

Just to caution - I'm an alarmist. I always expect the worst even when it could very well be nothing at all . . .