Saturday, October 18, 2008

Desperate Househusband

I don't know about you, but I don't do well with sleep deprivation. I turn into a Shrek-like being. Any advise about how to manage that is most welcome! I've also been having some adventures putting together various baby gear. I think God is having some fun at my expense. I discovered that the screws included with the bassinet were not the right size and that the screws included with the changing table were designed in a way that made it well nigh impossible to assemble the thing. Perhaps the phrase "screwed" originated with a father cursing his way through assembling some poorly designed baby equipment. On the upside, the bassinet comes with a little gadget that gives off tranquilizing sounds like forest animals chirping and the ocean. I think I enjoy it more than my son does.

"...thou art first in relation to thy son, last in relation to thy father. In thine outward appearance, thou tellest of the appearance of power in the realms of divine creation; in thine inward being thou revealest the hidden mysteries which are the divine trust deposited within thee." (Baha'u'llah, The Seven Valleys, p. 26)


  1. Title: Speech On The Babies
    Author: Mark Twain


    The fifteenth regular toast was "The Babies--as they comfort us in our sorrows, let us not forget them in our festivities."

    I like that. We have not all had the good fortune to be Ladies. We have not all been generals, or poets, or statesmen; but when the toast works down to the babies, we stand on common ground. It is a shame that for a thousand years the world's banquets have utterly ignored the baby, as if he didn't amount to anything. If you will stop and think a minute --if you will go back fifty or one hundred years to your early married life and recontemplate your first baby--you will remember that he
    amounted to a great deal, and even something over. You soldiers all know that when the little fellow arrived at family headquarters you had to hand in your resignation. He took entire command. You became his lackey, his mere body servant, and you had to stand around, too. He was not a commander who made allowances for time, distance, weather, or anything else. You had to execute his order whether it was possible or not. And there was only one form of marching in his manual of tactics,
    and that was the double-quick. He treated you with every sort of
    insolence and disrespect, and the bravest of you didn't dare to say a word. You could face the death-storm at Donelson and Vicksburg, and give back blow for blow; but when he clawed your whiskers, and pulled your hair, and twisted your nose, you had to take it. When the thunders of war were sounding in your ears you set your faces toward the batteries, and advanced with steady tread; but when he turned on the terrors of his war-whoop you advanced in the other direction, and mighty glad of the
    chance, too. When he called for soothing-syrup, did you venture to throw out any side remarks about certain services being unbecoming an officer and a gentleman? No. You got up and got it. When he ordered his pap-bottle and it was not warm, did you talk back? Not you. You went to work and warmed it. You even descended so far in your menial office as to take a suck at that warm, insipid stuff yourself, to see if it was right--three parts water to one of milk, a touch of sugar to modify the colic, and a drop of peppermint to kill those hiccoughs. I can taste that stuff yet. And how many things you learned as you went along! Sentimental young folks still take stock in that beautiful old saying that when the baby smiles in his sleep, it is because the angels are whispering to him. Very pretty, but too thin--simply wind on the stomach, my friends. If the baby proposed to take a walk at his usual hour, two o'clock in the morning, didn't you rise up promptly and remark, with a mental addition which would not improve a Sunday-school book much, that that was the very thing you were about to propose yourself? Oh!
    you were under good discipline, and as you went fluttering up and down the room in your undress uniform, you not only prattled undignified baby-talk, but even tuned up your martial voices and tried to sing!--"Rock-a-by baby in the treetop," for instance. What a spectacle for an Army of the Tennessee! And what an affliction for the neighbors, too; for it is not everybody within a mile around that likes military music at three in the morning. And when you had been keeping this sort of thing up two or three hours, and your little velvet-head intimated that nothing suited him like exercise and noise, what did you do? ["Go on!"] You simply went on until you dropped in the last ditch. The idea that a baby doesn't amount to anything! Why, one baby is just a house and a front yard full by itself. One baby can furnish more business than you and your whole Interior Department can attend to. He is enterprising, irrepressible,
    brimful of lawless activities. Do what you please, you can't make him stay on the reservation. Sufficient unto the day is one baby. As long as you are in your right mind don't you ever pray for twins. Twins amount to a permanent riot. And there ain't any real difference between triplets and an insurrection.

    Yes, it was high time for a toast-master to recognize the importance of
    the babies. Think what is in store for the present crop! Fifty years
    from now we shall all be dead, I trust, and then this flag, if it still
    survive (and let us hope it may), will be floating over a Republic
    numbering 200,000,000 souls, according to the settled laws of our
    increase. Our present schooner of State will have grown into a political
    leviathan--a Great Eastern. The cradled babies of to-day will be on
    deck. Let them be well trained, for we are going to leave a big contract
    on their hands. Among the three or four million cradles now rocking in
    the land are some which this nation would preserve for ages as sacred
    things, if we could know which ones they are. In one of them cradles the
    unconscious Farragut of the future is at this moment teething--think of
    it!--and putting in a world of dead earnest, unarticulated, but perfectly
    justifiable profanity over it, too. In another the future renowned
    astronomer is blinking at the shining Milky Way with but a languid
    interest--poor little chap!--and wondering what has become of that other
    one they call the wet-nurse. In another the future great historian is
    lying--and doubtless will continue to lie until his earthly mission is
    ended. In another the future President is busying himself with no
    profounder problem of state than what the mischief has become of his hair
    so early; and in a mighty array of other cradles there are now some
    60,000 future office-seekers, getting ready to furnish him occasion to
    grapple with that same old problem a second time. And in still one more
    cradle, somewhere under the flag, the future illustrious commander-in-
    chief of the American armies is so little burdened with his approaching
    grandeurs and responsibilities as to be giving his whole strategic mind at this moment to trying to find out some way to get his big toe into his mouth--an achievement which, meaning no disrespect, the illustrious guest of this evening turned his entire attention to some fifty-six years ago; and if the child is but a prophecy of the man, there are mighty few who will doubt that he succeeded.

    -THE END-
    Mark Twain's short story: Speech On The Babies

  2. OK, so you're learning the reality of having a small human being to care for. And there's NO escape!

    The responsibilities may be huge, but the rewards (eventually), are wonderful.

    God bless you all!

  3. 1st piece of advise, which you have already demonstrated, is keep a sence of humor and 2nd, Ask for help. Mom and Dad must be taken care of, don't ever forget that. P.S. Beautiful Baby!

  4. Slowly, but surely, develop a schedule that's reasonable. We have flexibility, but, for the most part, have made sure that Jas is on a regular schedule - even today. Her mood is so much better with regularity. I think that it builds trust and understanding that she is loved. But, heck, you asked for a penny of thought and use it as you wish.

  5. Anonymous10:19 AM

    Here's what my son and his wife, who are younger and wiser than I, did with their twins, who are now one year old:

    In the beginning, they worked in four hour shifts. Then they alternated nights. --(they trained them to accept a bottle of mom's expressed breast milk on my son's shift.)
    The person "off duty" slept in a room far away from the babies, so as not to be disturbed by hearing the crying (although, for men, this usually isn't a problem. You guys can sleep through anything).

    By about seven months, the twins began sleeping through the night--well, at least one of them would do this, sometimes.

    Now, just turning one, they usually both sleep through the night...unless, of course, there is teething or a cold, etc.

    Getting them both on the same schedule all day was a priority, so they could distinguish day from night. As were good naps twice a day--babies seem to sleep more fitfully when they are sleep deprived

    Having said all that, both parents, who hold full time jobs, still had chronic sleep deprivation. When I asked my son how a business trip in LA went 6 months ago, he said: "Great! The first two consecutive night's sleep I've had in 6 months."

    My own thoughts for your sanity can be summed up. :
    "this, too, shall pass".
    and: ponder what virtue(s) God intends you to develop through this wonderful but challenging period

    I had the luxury of not working for the first year of each child's life, I enjoyed the first six months of being so totally in rhythm with the babies cycles, a kind of altered state of consciousness.

    Mom's emotional/physical/spiritual state during this period is crucial to baby's happiness and development, so an investment in putting yourself last will yield wonderful dividends.

    good wishes,
    Judith W