Up all night (not me mind you)

Who ever said that parenting gets easier with each additional kid was out of their frakin’ minds. Prior to the arrival of each kid, some well meaning but delusional1 acquittance would slap my back and tell me that this one would be easier. If anything, I have found that managing each new bundle of unbearable joy has in fact been harder and harder. I think the fallacy is thinking that now that we’re experienced parents we won’t go through the same mistakes that noob parents do, but that’s not true.2

With each new kid, you again remember at three in the morning that one trick you had forgotten that suddenly shunts the baby back down into a quiet bliss. Whether its swaddling or rhythmically ‘shh-ing’3 or reading them excerpts from Lacan’s le stade du miroir, these epiphanies will come back, but aren’t instantly recalled until sleep deprivation kicks in.

I try to discuss this with Jennifer but these days she is bone tired and all she hears is “wah-wah, Jennifer, wah wah wah,” like the Peanuts’ trombone sound effect4 of adults speaking to Charlie and the gang. But in her moments of lucidity, she tells me that she has been told it’s tough to go from one to two kids, but that each additional one thereafter really doesn’t matter; she agrees that these same fountains of wisdom had run dry some time ago and forgotten some of the siege-like trappings of parenthood.

  1. Would “deluded” be the right adjective here, instead? []
  2. You go through whole news ones too! []
  3. which is supped to reproduce mom’s beating heart they heard in the womb []
  4. to listen, click here []

quick notes jan 21, 2010


one. Jackson, if he resembles anything, is starting to resemble his older brother. Initially there was some hints that he was looking more like a Whitman/Bradley, but suddenly today, there is something in the shape of his eyes and chin that reminds us of Mac. But what he really looks like is a small wizened man that is mostly all head, the rest—his body,legs, arms—merely being superfluous, not useful, not needed

two. Scarlett’s ability to manipulate me and others keeps increasing, exponentially. I grow more and more concerned that I will soon learn the true power of a Daddy’s Girl. She is not even two and so I can only imagine her at 24. I only hope that my Jedi-mind training will be up to snuff by then.

three. Maconnell’s routine is to start slowly in the morning. Much like his mom, he is comatose and moribund first thing in the morning and really needs his cup of Joe (milk) and at least a half hour of quite reflection while he eats breakfast and catches up on the latest news on MSNBC (Wonder pets), before he can be addressed or spoken to without eliciting a snarl (again much like his mom) but then he will rev up and up throughout the whole day until he is refusing to end the night and go bed. This evening he took off his pajamas and tossed them away and then hid in his play-tent, informing his mother that “I don’t want to put on my pajamas and go to bed.” Strong logic there: No pajamas, no bedtime.

Jack. Thanks!. Taking Mac to the Movies

Jan. 15th 2010, 6:06PM CMT BGKY

Location: Great Escape cinema. Sub-section: Screen #2: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel

Before I say anymore, I again give a hearty thanks to Chuck and Pam for weathering the initial, tantrumic storms when Jackson was brought home, and Mac and Scarlett realized he was here to stay. They (Chuck and Pam) went beyond the call of duty and did real yeoman’s work.1 Hat’s off.

And lest I forget, my folks2 soon came afterwards and took the brunt of another blast of sibling anxiety3 and were able to give Jenn the much needed help with the Bataan-Death-March-like feedings newborns demand. However, even Jack is trying to do his part: the kid is literally only sleeping, pooing and waking up4 every 3-4 hours to eat in such clockwork fashion that much like Kant, we locals can set our watches to his ruminations.

At night (and during most of the day too) I am of no help, maybe waking up enough to roll over so that Jackson can be placed in my arm for Jenn to finish pumping, and staying up long enough so she can take him out of my comatose clutches and finish burping and cleaning him, changing his diapers and putting him back to sleep.

So, today, this evening, I decide to take Mac to the movies. He had gotten an Alvin the Chipmunk figurine from McDonald’s so he seemed to want to see a movies about them but it was a bit of a bust. He spent the first ten minutes playing with the theater seat, bouncing it up and down and then walking up and down the stairs but then found the concession stand more interesting than the movie.5 So over the next 40 minutes, we got up four times to get Twizzlers, SourWorms, PopCorm, MagicDot Ice Cream6 and finally we gave up and left halfway through the movie. I noticed that a few minutes later, another Dad with four, young kids also left, so I was glad to know it was not just us.

Oh. I have to go, Mac is asking, “You want to talk in my bed for a little while?”

-Gerardo 7:22pm

  1. pronounced “yo-man” []
  2. I also don’t want to ignore the contributions of my brother Ivan and his wife, Laura, who helped with some background operations that allowed my parents to come down to help. []
  3. Mac is surprisingly gentle and sweet to his new bro; I suspect this is because (A.) it has been made exceeding clear to him and (B.) his faculties have developed enough to understand that if he were treat Jack in any way like he is currently treating Scarlett, he would suffer most grievous time-outs. Scarlett on the other hand hasn’t quite realized that Jack is not one of her dolls and so, while well meaning, she is kept a close watch on in case she accidentally manhandles and squishes Jack.

    However they both are clearly not totally comfortable with The New Guy, because Scarlett has been waking at three or four in the morning with a crying jag that is only soothed by some rocking to be done at a set cadence and only to be done in her room; she brooks no weaselly behavior like trying to bring her back to our bed so we both can get needed sleep. As for Mac, he has become even harder to put to bed than before. Until recently, taking him up his room, reading a book with him and singing the ABCs was enough for him to say goodnight and plop off to sleep. Now I am having to engage him in extended discourse on what he did at pre-school that day, doing deconstructive readings of his bedtime books.

    We now spend many a night pouring over the tome: Fifteen Animals! where all the animals are named “Bob” and so while Mac innately grasps the Descriptive Theory of Proper names as espoused by Bertrand Russell, we will inadvertently get hamstrung on some Wittgensteinian wordplay and BANG! Just like that, Mac has delayed his bedtime by yet another half hour. Not only does he quickly subvert any tricks but he makes it clear that you are abandoning him to his lonely fate every time you go away—He will never give you permission to leave, never let you know that he is not permanently scarred by your dastardly selfish actions. []
  4. no inexplicable colicky crying episodes []
  5. Which is either a very strange movie or I just don’t remember what kids movies are like because it seems to be aimed at a pre-teen/kiddie market but the movie takes place in high school with all the usual high-school tropes that seem bizarre or downright inappropriate, eg they show one of the chipmunks, on their first day of school, getting a “swirlie”—dunking a rookie’s head in a toilet and flushing it. []
  6. which tasted like chilled colored sugar []