and then they were four.

Before committing any impressions of dear little Lucas to print, I wanted some time to elapse. Words committed to print can take on a life of their own so I wanted the birthing dust to settle, external pressures to abate, and just feel a tad more normal before making proclamations.

We are now three and half weeks into Lucas’ life and much about this little man is clear. I find it easiest to explain via contrast. If you might recall, we commented profusely on how wonderful and easy to raise Kayla was. We received a number of baby books, and we bought a few more. We read them and created a synthesis of how we wanted to parent. Most everything we tried “just worked.”

It would have been easy to succumb to The Great Parenting Lie, that it was easy because we are such great parents. However, many a conversation with other parents had prepared us for what the future could hold. Now that that future is the present, the words of wisdom bestowed upon us are embodied in a mass of flesh that can best be described with a single word, needy.

Mind you, I am not complaining. We really do love this little destructor of our tranquility. By comparison to Kayla, there is little comparison. A typical feeding for Kayla was quite easy by most any standard; wake her, insert nipple (natural or synthetic), let her eat until satiated, burp her, keep her awake for an hour, swaddle her and put her back to sleep. Feedings could often be done in 30-45 minutes. Then we had that 1 1/2 hours of blissful peace and calm afterwards. Sweet blessed calm.

With Lucas, everything takes much longer. Waking him enough to eat is a 15 minute ordeal. So far the most successful technique is to uncover him and wait until he gets cold enough to stay awake. Feeding is sporadic, sometimes he eats well and at other times he fusses all the way through. He clings to his burps as if they are part of his dinner that we are trying to take away. Burping often takes 10 minutes.

He has caused us to use words in new ways. For example, we have seldom before farted something, but Lucas needs regular farting. When he wakes up crying at 3AM, we grab his legs and push them up to his chest and he breaks wind. We repeat the cycle and so does he. Sometimes a dozen times. Genetics predisposes him to having a highly active gastrointestinal system and his reticence to belch compounds the issue.

Warming him is best achieved with direct skin contact. Pick him up and hold him and he melts onto us. If it is the least bit chilly, he burrows in burying his head against our neck. We noticed his burrowing nature in the hospital. Even swaddled, he’d find a way to burrow down into his blankets. We could sell Lucas Technology[TM] to the military for use in heat seeking devices. During his warm up, he will invariably drift off to sleep. The problem is that he won’t stay asleep.

It is bitter irony. At 18 months, Kayla is in a stage where snuggling with her is vigorously protested. She is quite independent and has her very own conceptions of order in the universe. Lucas is simply carnal. It warms the heart. We enjoy our snuggle time. But all is not well in the land of snuggles. After he falls asleep, we put him down and within 5 minutes he is awake again. Pick him up, snuggle, and he goes back to sleep. It is all so sweet that he responds to us, but not at midnight, 2 AM, 3 AM, 4 AM, 5 AM, and 6AM.

Because this little man is so carnal, we have tried co-sleeping a few times. The bad news is that he absolutely loves it and sleeps extremely well in our bed. His favorite is either on my chest or between us with my hand atop his head. However, when co-sleeping, neither parent gets any deep sleep. Between the fear of suffocating him and all the little noises he makes, it simply is not possible to drift completely away. This accords with my deep seated feelings that our bed is hallowed ground, not to be encroached upon. Yet, we need a solution. Tomorrow we might be searching online for a bassinet sized electric blanket.

So, if you wonder why there are so few pictures and posts, it is because one of us is preoccupied with a needy little baby. The other is caring for Kayla, making meals, buying groceries, and otherwise tending to the care of our home.

4 Replies to “and then they were four.”

  1. I am convinced that firstborns are God’s way of tricking parents into having a second child. Your tale does nothing to diminish my conviction.

    As my sister said a few months after the birth of her daughter (and second child) some five years ago, “One is one, but two is ten.”

    Still, kids rock. 😉

    Congratulations, again!

  2. Dear new parents,
    You are so good at what you do!
    Betsy was a good sleeper but we did find a couple things that made it that much better. Because she was so tiny, we didn’t use a full size crib until she was about 6 months old. We were lent a beautiful handmade oak rocking cradle by a relative, exactly the same size as a Pack & Play (which we also used.)We also found that she slept beautifully for naps in her Graco stroller, which could have the back let down flat, leaving her in a smaller space reminiscent of the hospital bassinet. My own feelings, purely my own, nothing scientific, is that the crib just felt too big, too open, and the smaller places perhaps gave more of the still in the womb feeling.

    The other thing I did was keep an electric heating pad right by her bed. Every time Betsy was lifted out for feeding, changing, whatever (day or night) I laid the pad into the crib and turned it on low, then covered it with her quilt. When it was time to put her back into bed, I laid her directly into the warm spot and covered her with the warmed blanket. Worked like a charm. I mean, think about how reluctant WE are to lie on cold sheets!

    I hope these help. Just a much, much older mom and her two cents’ worth (we were 39 when we adopted Betsy Rose.)

  3. Oh, sorry, and…

    Betsy had troubles with her digestive tract, too, and lots of cramping and tummy aches. There is a medicine you can get called Tiny Tummies (I think, forgive, the child is 7 now and I’m old!) It’s a liquid, and you give them a few drops and it was SO helpful. Also mint is a natural reliever of this, so you might try dissolving a peppermint in some warm water and see if you can get him to drink that. We’ve been fortunate, because Betsy continues to love mint of any sort (all those early bottles, no doubt) and I can always give her peppermints instead of Pepto-Bismol, which makes ME sick–just the smell of it!)

  4. I recall that Jorgen was difficult to burp as well, whereas Jarrett was a champ! I like Beth Ann’s idea of just keeping the blankets warm rather than using an electric blanket while he is sleeping. I know that they make pet sized ones for little doggies – try looking at pet supply stores to find smaller sizes?

    I know what you mean about the bed being halllowed ground. Keith and I think that too… we’ll see how we think when this little one arrives though. 😉

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