Friday, April 20, 2007


I remember paying close attention to something I read in one of my baby books before I gave birth, a caution to parents not to be fooled by the sweet little angel in the hospital, the one that slept for 7 hour stretches and didn't cry and pretty much just looked cute and chilled. They said to wait until you got home and give it a couple days and then sweet baby would introduce you to the real little one behind the curtain. So I did. I did't make any presumptions that the marathon sleeping, chill baby we brought home would stay that way. And then 2 weeks passed. She wasn't sleeping for 5 hours anymore, but that was ok because she was, well, chill. She didnt' scream, she didn't spray poo, she batted those spooky blue eyes and smiled in her sleep and pretty much made anyone within a five foot radius fall in love.

And then Harlow met her digestive tract and everything went to shit.

Fortunately Nana was over the first night the piercing, godawful shrieking cries came out of my sweet baby girl's body and they only lasted about 2 minutes - but it was enough to reduce me to tears. Why was she sounding like somebody was stabbing her body with a knife? A call to the pediatrician's office resulted in the expected - give her some mylocon drops, say a Hail Mary and good luck. Caleb and I were a little iffy on the drops and I happened to find some homeopathic version at MOthersville so we gave some to her. And lo and behold it worked. The only thing is that fructose is one of the ingredients and I really wasn't keen on giving my child sugar. And then the painful, gut wrenching screaming started again and I suddenly knew what it was like to be one of those parents with best intentions. The one who was only going to use cloth diapers and make baby food and only give her the purest of nutrients. Give screaming baby the stuff with the sugar. Baby stops screaming. Peace reigns. For a bit.

This was my first full week unassisted. Caleb was back at work, no family was safely within reach to pass her off so I could steal 30 minutes reading a magazine in the tub. And she made the most of he time. She was pretty much wide awake when daddy went to work and then would stay up until she go tired of looking at the ugly dolls and stripey burp cloths I trotted out for her amusement. And those wide awake stretches got longer and longer until today where she basically decided nope, no sleep for me no sleep for you, so let's get this party started. The problem was that I skipped my nap yesterday so I pretty much was extremely ill-prepared to handle the meltdown. She is 3 weeks and a day and again, thanks to the baby books, I knew to expect the 3 week growth spurt, i.e. lots of fussing, demanding and eating around the clock. But the thing is that sweet baby is putting on the pounds. She's gained like, 3 pounds in 3 weeks. Now I'm no pediatrician, but that sounded a bit excessive to me. The "Whoa!" exclaimed by the pediatric nurse I talked to when I called concerned didn't make me feel much better.

(An internet search a bit later mentioned that breastfed babies' weight gain are judged by the percentile scale developed in the 1970s when most babies were bottle fed. The WHO has since updated their chart to relect that breastfed babies gain weight much more rapidly in the first 3 months and then suddenly drop off until 12 months or so. But apparently most pedes don't know this.)

So this afternoon Harlow was screaming. For what I had no idea. I had fed her, burped her, changed her, walked her, promised her a new car on her 16th and nada. I put her in bed with me and shushed and held and rocked her but nothing. And I was getting dangerously tired. In a fit of exhaustion I curled my entire body around her and willed all the love I had in my body into hers.

And she stopped. And apparently so did I. 1 hour later I woke up, my daughter curled up peacefully in my arms. 2 minutes later she was screaming again, but so it goes.

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