Thursday, January 14, 2010

Max: Filling our hearts even when he's wearing us out

This afternoon, as I drove by the day laborers outside of Home Depot while nibbling on M&Ms in my Lexus, I thought about how lucky I am. Lucky to have an amazing wife who's also my best friend; lucky to have a newborn baby that's healthy and filling our home with love and joy; lucky to have a 12-year-old son who cares about others, does well in school, and finds happiness from the little things; lucky to have a career that allows me to work when I want, how I want, and (to a certain degree) on whatever I want; and, not to be sneezed at, lucky not to be standing outside Home Depot hoping some self-satisfied jerk popping M&Ms in his Lexus would throw me a freakin' bone.

Which brings me back to the topic at hand, my amazing little Maxwell, and how he makes me feel so lucky even when he's testing my mettle. To explain...

After filling us with the hope of an 8-hour sleep two nights ago, the little bugger has shown us the other side of babyhood, waking up every 3 hours last night, fussing pretty much all day today, and then putting us to the test tonight with a persistent cry-fest that went on for a good 2 hours straight. I'm happy to report that I was able to convince mom to stick to our guns and let the tyke cry it out. He'd been fed regularly all day. He'd had his diaper changed at every juncture. He'd had his temperature taken. He'd farted and burped all the possible gas out of his system. And he'd been comforted throughout. But now it was time to draw an early line in the sand.

As he cried, Sarah and I agreed he had no un-met needs at the moment, other than to reinforce his growing sense that a good cry would get mom or dad, or both, to drop everything and cater to his whims. Enough was enough. We needed to establish that a) we would not let his crying deter us from our parenting objectives, and b) he could cry himself to sleep if left to do so. And lo and behold, that's exactly what happened.

When he finally started running out of steam, his cries growing weaker and weaker until they were barely a whimper, we felt a sense of satisfaction. Eventually, his cries completely gave way to the little coos and baby utterings that make a parent's heart melt. It was like music even to our worn-out ears.

Chalk the whole episode up as mom's and dad's first victory in the battle for the upper hand. How long that survives is anyone's guess, but at least we've drawn first blood. And we're feeling might lucky about it.

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