The FTS turned one week old last night, and I’m fairly certain I’m averaging less sleep than he is. You may think this is a cute or clever statement because you know what everyone else knows: newborn babies sleep all the time. News flash: It ain’t true.
Babies, it turns out, thrash and move and dance far more than they sleep. I remember reading about a study years ago in which a gymnast tried to mimic the movements made by a baby; he had to give up after a few hours because it was just too taxing. (I somehow conveniently forgot this when we decided to conceive.) As I watch the FTS move like a boxer in a mosh pit, I imagine him in utero and now understand how and why the FTM had such a rough pregnancy.
Don’t get me wrong, the kid has a sweet disposition. He’s not screaming when he’s awake, nor is he throwing things or sitting too close to the television or refusing to eat his vegetables or getting in trouble with the law; he’s just constantly moving. If I could figure out how to wire a circuit breaker to him, I’m pretty sure we could power our house. What he seems to be craving is attention. A pacifier or a song gently sung or a book read aloud will generally hold his attention. (We tried teaching him Scrabble, but he didn’t seem that interested, and he kept spelling the same word over and over again: LIRIPOOP. We didn’t have the heart to tell him he had too many letters.)
So sleep is rare. But it doesn’t have to be. And here we arrive at my first piece of legitimate advice for other FTFs: The single most important thing you can learn to do as a new parent, and the single most difficult thing you will learn to do is to get your own FTS or FTD to burp. Seriously. It’s all about the burp.
When the kid burps and clears gas from his system he’ll be a lot more comfortable, will spit up a lot less, and will sleep a lot more. So just burp him. It’s that simple.
Yeah, right. Short of a flying knee drop to the solar plexus, none of us – me, the FTM, the FTGM, the FTGF – have a clue as to how to get the air out of the FTS’s stomach. If we hit this kid’s back any harder or any longer after a feeding, the neighbors are going to call social services. But the few times we’ve bumbled our way into a burp – even the blind squirrel finds the occasional acorn – it’s worked like a charm. Down he goes.
So, FTFs, pay attention at the hospital when they teach you the art of burping, and pray your kid cooperates.
I’ll borrow a page from blogger extraordinaire Manager Mom, and embed a little relevant video in the blog. Normally the only thing I like less than talking babies are television commercials. But somehow this series of ads -- and this one in particular -- gets a smile out of me every time. Of course that could just be the sleep deprivation talking.