Thoughts about Boston

In lieu of writing about my daughter’s increasingly disruptive sleep patterns, I spent yesterday writing an essay about the bombings at the Boston Marathon. One that I’m not exactly happy with and probably won’t publish anywhere. And that’s fine. It came from the heart, but it just felt too self-serving to show anybody else. The world is filled today with people using the bombings for their own political, social and religious agendas and I’d prefer not to be a part of that. My piece was supposed to be about how this has affected me as a father of a 9-month-old daughter. Rather than try to rewrite it to not sound as wooden, I’ll strip it for parts. Here are the couple thoughts I had that I think are worth sharing.

  • I’m thankful my daughter is of an age where she doesn’t understand what happened and I don’t have to figure out how to explain it to her. I’m not there yet and I don’t envy anyone who is.
  • This bomb was placed in the stands and set to go off at the four-hour mark. This guy knew there would likely be kids and families in the line of fire. That’s a real messed up kind of sickness.
  • I’m happy so many people enjoyed what Patton Oswald said on facebook about how the good people outnumber the bad and we always will. And he had some eloquently presented points, but I never really felt that we didn’t outnumber the bad people. This was never an issue for me. But I’m still happy so many others found something about it that helped.
  • I’m sick of people saying that we will come back from this stronger. Maybe that makes some people feel better, but I feel like it’s the most disingenuous phrase out there. This was a terrible tragedy committed by someone who got his wires crossed and that sucks. Hopefully we catch him and there are less sickos in the future. That’s actually something from Patton’s diatribe, so I guess it did have an effect on me.
  • I’m not going to let this stop Mabel from experiencing things of the like. I’m just going to pray to the God of probability that this doesn’t happen to us. She’ll just have to learn that there are people who don’t value life like they should and cannot ever put themselves in the shoes of someone else because they are too self-absorbed. I look forward to the day where she understands that.

Baby Knows Basketball

Congrats to Mabel, who came in 4th of 27 in our Tournament Challenge pool, beating daddy and mommy and finished in the 79th percentile nationwide, proving that any idiot picking up random blocks to fill out their bracket has just as good a chance as anybody else.

And my daughter will beat that idiot four out of five times.

babys first bracket 2

REAL Sleep Training: Weeks One & Two

Saturday, March 16th (Day Two of REAL sleep training)

I almost had to abort Day Two of sleep training because Mabel was acting weird. Kind of like how you can’t operate on someone who has the flu. She wasn’t facemashing nearly as much as normal during the first feeding phase, nor were her eyes shutting uncontrollably. These are my two go-to signs that she’s tired. Because of this, I extended the reading phase by Horton Hears a Who, which added about 15 minutes. She was climbing over me, around me and grabbing my glasses by the time that ended and looked tired enough for me to continue with the second day of this experiment.

Despite the Phase Three facemashing, she seemed wide awake and content when I put her in the crib. Which was good and bad. She normally protests being put in there even before I leave. This time there was no protest, but there was also no hint of sleepiness. As I type this right now, I am 8 minutes into my strategic neglect and I can hear her making noises, but not crying. I put Walter the Puffkin (her second favorite toy (the remote is #1)) in the crib with her to keep her company. Instead of counteracting the crying, it may have counteracted the tired. It’s possible she actually enjoys being alone, which is fine. Encouraging, actually. I would just rather that she sleep instead.

The Day Two Sleep Training Timeline:

13 minutes: She has now started crying. This has made me actually feel better somehow.

16 minutes: The crying stopped. I went upstairs to check to make sure her blanket and/or pillow hadn’t fallen down, preventing her from lying down comfortably. They hadn’t.

18 minutes: This is the last whimper I heard from her. But I fear that she has just gone back to playing temporarily rather than sleeping. But I’ve decided this should not be on my list of things to be worried about.

Sunday, March 17th (Day Three of REAL sleep training)

Things have been going so well the first two nights, I decided I would just go into our section of the bedroom instead of downstairs to live blog the event on facebook. It turns out those screams are much louder when there isn’t a door or two between us. I expected after last night that the screaming would only last 5 minutes, but when it was still going strong at 10 minutes, I figured I may have made a mistake. I stayed anyway, much like how Donovan McNabb stayed on the field to watch the Patriots celebrate their Superbowl so he could remember how it felt and let that motivate him to be better. Only he never won a Superbowl, which makes this a crappy analogy.

But I should know our baby better than that. After 12 minutes, the screaming stopped. I went to peek on her to make sure she was asleep. I cursed the creaks both the floor and my 38-year-old legs were making, often time not being able to distinguish between them. She was asleep of course. And unlike the first night, she wasn’t clutching the corner of the crib like those skeletons of people found to be buried alive.

Monday, March 18- Thursday, March 21 (Days Four-Seven of REAL Sleep Training)

The rest of Week One went swimmingly. Mabel was usually asleep within five minutes and was slept through the night twice. Of course, she woke up at 5am on those mornings. I haven’t decided if I’m a fan of that or not, but it gives me hope for the near future.

March 22-28 (Week Two of REAL Sleep Training)

Mabel seems to have figured out the pattern and now she has started crying before I leave. Sometimes even before I put her down in the crib. Or pick her up from the bed. I still forge on with my song as to not break the pattern, since the stupid book says to try to have a bedtime ritual. But it’s hard not to stop singing with Mabel standing and staring right at me, screaming at the top of her lungs with tears streaming down her face. I don’t want her to start to associate daddy playing guitar with a feeling of abandonment. That can’t be good for her future music career. I also don’t want her to have to go to bed with half a song lingering unfinished, wondering all night what the heck happened to those poor people in Allentown. So I’ve been finishing songs, sometimes starting and finishing songs with our precious bundle of joy bawling her eyes out. This can’t be right.

She also stopped sleeping through the night and often requires night changings. These periods of wakefulness have been lasting anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours. I fear we’ve taken a step backwards. This sucks.