Thursday, August 6, 2009

the many faces of leon

the pugilist

the bored aristocrat

the darling

leon is holding steady with his sleep patterns. a 4 hour stretch in the late evening, and then 2-3 hour segments before waking up at 5.30-6am. this morning he napped for 1.5 hours. it was truly amazing. the afternoon? not so much.

the car ride to and from middlebury, vt., was very rough. he managed to sleep a solid hour each way, but otherwise spent his time crying, crying, and crying. i stopped pretty frequently to change his diaper and feed him. at one point i pulled over to check his temperature, i was so worried that he had a fever. my voice was hoarse by the end of the trip because i sang to him non-stop. poor leon. for a kid who doesn't really nap, it's pretty boring and frustrating to be stuck in the back of the car alone for hours. the only way he'll become sleepy is if he plays or is active. strapped into a car seat, his only option is to cry until he's exhausted.

everything else is taking a backseat to leon. i was jogging at least three times a week, but not so much in the past few weeks. i feel completely worn out, more than a little ragged around the edges. carrying him around all day feels like enough of a work-out, but i know i'd probably feel better if i continued exercising. my baby development books warns that spoiling your child can begin as early as 5.5 months. this is probably the last thing i should be worrying about, but it's hard to keep him active and engaged every single minute of the day. the second i stop playing with him, the whining begins. i'm suppposed to avoid the intentional cry, and yet it doesn't look like i'll be successful on this front. leon is always 'on,' except for those rare moments when he's sleeping. he doesn't know how to keep himself amused for even a minute. i am looking forward to the day when i can eat my lunch without him in my lap. the hardest part is trying to keep the food and plates away from his grabby little hands. no wonder i'm turning into a wraith.

this has been frustrating, exhausting, and emotionally draining. i used to tell myself that it would get better, but after 5 months, it is what it is. it isn't really an issue of things getting better. things change, new challenges arise. but he's such a little charmer. all i can do is keep moving and enjoy the good moments without overthinking the bad.


Stephanie said...

It sounds like you need a break. That car ride sounds harrowing. I know there is no break from parenting (ha), but maybe you could find some nice college student to come sit with the baby for an hour or two each week so you can just get out and jog or drink tea or walk through the park ...

melissa k w said...

i LOVE the bored aristocrat! and i'm in love with his curls.

we were just in new york for two weeks and were stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic several times. each time little hugh would throw a huge fit. it got to be so that i didn't even hear his crying any more. so in a way it was nice to be desensitized... but there is nothing like the stress of being stuck in awful traffic with a screaming infant! at least i had someone with me in the car to try (and fail) to soothe him. must have been so hard to do alone.

Jessica said...

i am sorry to hear you are feeling overwhelmed, i know it can be difficult. some advice for you - throw out those books that say you are spoiling your child - what leon needs you are giving to him, as parents we have to learn our babies individual temperaments and leon likes activity as tiring as it might be. in a culture steeped in detachment parenting, don't feel like you are doing the wrong thing.

MrsEm said...

5.5 months...doesn't that seem oddly specific? Not all 5.5 month olds are the same. Since you're an academic, maybe approach this from an academic perspective. Dive into to some Erik Erikson, Piaget and Skinner from the library.

erica said...

i think the main point was that the intentional cry usually begins around 5-5.5 months, and that the best way to avoid it is to keep your baby engaged. i'm trying my best, but lack of sleep night and day, and extreme temperatures that curtail outings make it an even more difficult job.

leon began intentionally crying over a month ago. basically this means that all of his immediate needs have been taken care of. his cries stop as soon as i play with him or pick him up. granted, all babies are different, but it is very very tiring to constantly do a song and dance for him. when he's in the stroller, he shuts off. his eyes glaze over, and he glances disinterestedly at his navel. the moment i interact with him, his eyes light up.

it's clear what he wants from me, and i try my best to give it to him. but i feel worn down, mentally ill-prepared to work on my dissertation.

Catherine said...

He is so gorgeously expressive! A friends baby, who is a doll, seems to have one expression all the time! Audrey couldn't be accused of this. She's always pouting and pursing and smiling her crooked smile.

As for the car ride, man that must have been hard. When Audrey cries it cuts right through me. Anything to make it stop. Maybe a white noise CD in the car? Audrey usually nods off but yesterday on a short return drive home, she cried the entire way home until I burst through the front door, ripped my top open and latched her on. Fun. Not!

Stella said...

i know thats the truth. all you can do is keep on moving...

he is so beautiful!!

i can hardly wrap my brain around how drastically my life is getting ready to change. i appreciate you cheering me on ;-)