This is my home-game entry for Week 30 of therealljidol. I invite you to read the many fine submissions and the home-game entries. This week we could choose between two topics: "Plan B" or "Return to Oz." I chose "Plan B," or rather, the topic chose me!.
I apologize for any typos or grammatical errors; I'm functioning on very little sleep and don't have time to do my usual proofreadinig.
In the hospital, it all seemed so easy. We brought our little Kung Fu Panda home yesterday morning. After two days in the hospital, where Kung Fu Panda and I both recovered from our birth experience, I confess that my husband, The Gryphon, and I thought we knew what we were doing. (Go ahead, parents, and laugh now.) When he was born, I remembered to tell him all the sweet things I had planned, calling him his name, welcoming him to the world (which my Mom once told me she'd done with me), and telling him I loved him. The first time I tried to feed him, he latched on immediately, and I even heard that little clicking sound they told us about in breastfeeding class, indicating he was swallowing. We discovered his Kung Fu action grip when he clutched the IV on the back of my hand and pulled it right out! I later discovered he can also grasp my finger with his toes.
The first night of recovery, I voluntarily took him in the room and managed to decipher three distinctive cries, indicating hunger, gas pains, and a desire for comfort. When The Gryphon returned early the next morning (Dads not being allowed to sleep at the hospital), he assisted with diaper changes and other care. Together, we followed the doctor and RN recommendations to the letter, including tracking his feedings and diapers, and our Kung Fu Panda responded like a textbook baby.
So when they discharged us tomorrow morning, we were feeling pretty secure in our parenting abilities. (Those reading us who are parents are probably already experiencing maniacal laughter.)
As we arrived home, my sister and Mom were busy stockpiling low-sodium, healthy dishes for us to stock our freezer and supply us with dinners for up to three weeks. Kung Fu Panda, who had already been used to a little music from my iPod during the hospital stay, seemed unfazed by four adults bustling around the house, bringing in items, preparing his crib, and calling across the small rowhouse to each other. Kung Fu Panda fed, spent contented time in his vibrating chair (with the vibration off, since it upset him), and even was sweetly quiet for my sister to take pictures before they returned home.
Our kitty, Luke, gradually got up the nerve to come out from behind the furniture for his first look at the baby. From a distance, his eyes grew wide and his nostrils flared as he tried to smell him long range. It didn't take long, though, before he seemed to accept him as a part of the surroundings. He no longer even flinched when Kung Fu Panda cried.
The Gryphon picked up our doggie, Una, from the pet sitter's. Kung Fu Panda and I greeted her outside, and then, inside, we traded places, and I greeted Una, who seemed beside herself with joy. She learned quickly that we were enforcing some distance between her and the baby (at least initially; we will allow her to come closer only under controlled circumstances, most likely later this week). For the rest of the night, she followed us at a distance, playing Nurse Dog, checking our vital signs, no doubt, via scent and sight, and napping on the floor while we took care of baby business.
At his bedtime, I fed him and The Gryphon spent some time with him, changed his diaper, swaddled him, and put him in the crib. He returned with the baby monitor, and we settled down to watch a show or two on the DVR before we expected him to wake. Foolish newbie parents! We should have guessed it couldn't be that easy.
We had gotten about as far as the first commercial break when Kung Fu Panda began to cry. The Gryphon went upstairs to check him and figure out the situation. After getting him comfortable again, he came back downstairs. About five minutes later, another cry; and not a little cry, either, like the little squeaks he often made in the hospital. This was full-blown wailing.
I'm no longer sure how long this continued. Despite our best guesses and efforts to make his sleeping situation more comfortable, he continued to fight the idea of sleeping in his crib. Eventually, all of us were in tears. The Gryphon and I made a series of corrections throughout the night until finally, near morning, we found a routine that allowed us at least an hour and a half of sleep in between cries (about what he'd been doing in the hospital).
On top of other care, such as feedings, burpings, holding and diaper changes, we made several changes to his sleeping arrangements. In no particular order, here they are:
Plan B - Turn off the phone that an idiotic telemarketer called at 9 p.m., waking Kung Fu Panda.
Plan C - Set the air conditioner on a baby-comfortable 76 degrees and turn off the energy saver mode that upset him every time it turned on or off.
Plan D - Turn a light on in the room (after realizing he'd never before slept in a completely dark room).
Plan E - Give up on putting him in the much-too-spacious crib and placing the vibrating chair (set to off) inside the crib, with him buckled safely inside.
Plan F - Exchange the sleep sack (apparently not swaddling him tightly enough) and returning to swaddling the way we'd learned in the hospital.
Plan G - Giving him a binky.
Plan H - Consulting the invaluable book, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg, recommended by the very wonderful theafaye.
Plan I - Walking around with him.
Plan J - Sitting in the room and talking softly to him until he fell asleep.
And I'm soon there were a few more that my sleep-deprived brain is forgetting.
As I said, by morning we'd managed to figure out a way to get him to sleep, swaddled, in his crib, for much longer intervals. Since I'm still having problems getting in and out of our mattress on the floor (having found it impossible to get a queen-sized box spring up our narrow stairs and never finding it worthwhile to invest in one of the box springs that splits in half), I had to sleep downstairs on the couch. The Gryphon kindly handled all non-feeding issues, and I got a little more sleep.
In the morning, we called the pediatrician and managed to arrange our first well visit for that morning, just to make sure he wasn't having any problems other than the usual, expected adjustment issues. After a similarly long ordeal, involving a longer-than-expected wait in the testing center to have his blood drawn (my son having inherited my yellowish skin undertones), and a breastfeeding and diapering session in the car, we received a call from the doctor's office to tell us everything looked good.
"Just keep doing what you're doing," she told us.
Teamwork is amazingly effective when each of you is functioning on half-empty.