Thoughts from a sleep-deprived ref/dad

My second son arrived on March 3rd.  Mom, Dad, brother, and little dude are all doing fine, except that Mom and Dad have traveled to that land of the sleep-deprived that only new parents (and, I am convinced, only new parents of a SECOND child) can really understand.

The following is a dispatch from that land.

It was about 4:45 this morning when my son awoke.  My wife was unable to get him down by feeding him or any other techniques, so  she turned the job over to me.  As any dad of a breastfeeding infant knows, for the first couple of months of a child’s life, Dad doesn’t have anything the kid is interested in.

Now. my younger son has a loud, lusty cry…way louder and lustier and more pissed off than the first one.  And I was up–up very, very early–and was left with the task of calming my child.

He yelled.  I kissed him and hugged him.

He yelled louder.  I rocked him and slow-danced with him.

He continued to yell.  I sang to him and held him.

Somewhere around here–at the five minute mark of yelling or so–I was a little bit frustrated.  I was stuck with this inconsolable yelling person, one who was incapable of responding to reasoning, and I couldn’t lash out or show anger.  I just had to put up with it.

Hmmm.  This reminded  me of something.  Actually, of someone…

We’ll just call him the coach of [Deleted] High School.

With this in mind, I decided the singing and rocking and kissing wasn’t working with my son, and rather than baby-pacification techniques, I needed to try some coach-pacification techniques on my son.

He yelled.  I said “What are you seeing?”

He yelled more.  I said “I hear you.”

He yelled more.  I said “You’ve made your point.  Now we need to move on.”

Just like with the [D]HS coach,  none of this worked.  I wound up giving my son back to his mother after more than a few loud, unproductive minutes.

But, as I lay there never quite drifting back to sleep, it occurred to me I might have the whole comparison backwards.  Maybe, rather than attempting coach techniques on my infant, I need to attempt infant techniques on a coach.

I suggested this to my wife.  What if, the next time I have a [D]HS game, I were to employ some new baby moves?

Like what? she asked.

Well, I could go over and hold him, hug him, and rock him.  Tell him  “It’ll all be all right.” Carefully, quietly repeat “sh.”  Vibrate him carefully, as Dr. Harvey Karp suggests.  Sing him songs.  Slow dance with him.  Kiss him lightly.

I giggled at this image.  But my wife is smarter than I am, and she suggested this:

You could swaddle him.

Great idea!  Now we’re really onto something.  Swaddling the coach would turn this:

into this:

You bet.  I’m certain it would calm the [D]HS coach.

But I want to make one thing clear. Even if swaddling fails, even if I can’t find a blanket big enough, even if the coach won’t hold still while I try to pin his arms down nice and tight, there is one card I’m just not willing to play.   The sure-fire way to calm my son, while it might be effective on the coach at [D]HS…well, I refuse to use it on the coach.

I will NOT hand him to my wife to be breastfed.  No chance.


About Paul Hamann
I am a basketball referee in Washington State, working mostly high school games.

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