Print Story We are not horrible parents
Eleven days in, Little Mistress MildlyNaughtyPuppy prefers to sleep all day and party all night. A 24-year-old Papa would probably have beamed with pride at this, a 44-year-old Papa not so much so. Both of us read piles of research and peer-reviewed studies (along with thousands of sites loaded with anecdotal "wisdom") in an effort to Not Fuck Up.

Intellectually we knew all the pros and cons. Physically and mentally we're both already ravaged. It's not her fault and we'd never blame her for being a baby, but sooner or later, well... we gave in.

It's not helping that her front teeth are already threatening to expose themselves like the baddie in a $400 direct-to-DVD film even if they may be "floaters" (not real, semi-rooted baby teeth but tooth-like bits of enamel and calcium which could later present a choking hazard). Her rooting on Papa's fingers has shown him exactly why Mama makes the face she does immediately upon successful latching. Our little MildlyNaughtyPuppy is rather orally fixated, nothing uncommon in the World of Babbies.

Deep in our box of Baby Stuffs And Things -- most of which was bought at 2-8% of retail during last December's Massive Receivership Party in the UK was a piece of plastic and rubber we received from a baby shower which we didn't immediately bin just in case and which was meant only for emergencies.

The Puppy now has a binky, a.k.a. "dummy", "pacifier", "bobo" and whatever the hell you want to call it. The instant it hit her mouth she started sucking like a 14-year-old emo chick's MySpace page.

We were both more than a bit wary about using a pacifier. Not so much because of the bullshit old wives' tales about them causing a later need for orthodontics but rather as a matter of gratification, expectation, promotion of simple solutions, dependence on foreign objects, and other ideas along these lines, concerns which at 1:30 a.m. on the seventh consecutive I-ain't-going-to-sleep-and-you-can't-calm-me night, we succumbed to.

I thought the thing was a godsend. I was so tired I actually thanked Oðin in Icelandic before falling asleep, a rest which lasted a whole 17 minutes.

Babbies are (and I'm just being honest here), Teh Stoopidz. Ours -- despite certain developmental signs to the contrary -- is nevertheless a member of this group, not understanding that if she opens her mouth the thing will fall out. Not understanding that if she's busy crying to have it replaced in her mouth she can't actually keep it in there. Not understanding that if she flails her arms about in Yet Another Fit that Papa can't get the damned thing back in. RIG's closest friend may yet have a chance at instant adoption.

RIG was asleep. Papa jumped up and went feeling around for the damned binky knowing it had to be pretty close to where her mouth is. It was, and this is where PapaDog began to grok the above paragraph. Binky back in place, Papa went back to bed... for another 15 minutes or so. Lather, rinse, repeat. Mama got some much-needed and well-deserved sleeps until the 4:20a.m. Dropping of Teh Binky which was prolly actual hunger (it was).

What we thought to be a godsend turns out to be a Devil's Game.

We were in agreement in stalling the usage of a binky (they'd offered us one on Day 2 at the clinic). We are still in agreement now. The binky is for nighttime only, and we even turn out all the lights in a futile effort to help our little whelp understand the difference between day and night.

We didn't FAIL. It's not even that we outlasted a majority of Western parents. As I did a bit of research this morning I came across a 2005 meta-study from the American Pediatric Association which showed a strong correlation between the use of binkies and reduction in SIDS. It's probably due to the shape of the binky and the fact that it keeps the kid from being able to suffocate itself (babbies do that, dontchaknow) because the nose can't rest on anything with that slug of plastic on the outside hanging out.

We care. We worry. We're probably very good parents although our academic backgrounds and RIG's research access to every paywalled site out there results in us having to read hundreds of pages to confirm that we're not killing our baby by doing X.

She's asleep now. MildlyNaughtyPuppy, that is; RIG's up and not too groggy after another awesome breakfast burrito provided by her One True Love. The puppy will awake up to feed in another hour or two. Twelve hours from now it'll be time for her to scream and cry and be inconsolable. And suck on a binky, waking Papa every 15 minutes to have it replaced.

And I wouldn't trade this for the fucking world.

< So would you kiss a corpse? | "Cherry Blossoms in Tokyo - 2009, & 1991 Summer Festival, Etc." >
We are not horrible parents | 40 comments (40 topical, 0 hidden)
Breastfeeding. by sugar spun (4.00 / 4) #1 Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 06:33:29 AM EST
I can't believe you'd talk about mustard in the context of food, my love.

Speaking of which, I see a beautiful little face scrunching up all red and a pair of little fists balled up on the ends of stiff, straight-out arms. I think you have a date with the lady on the Pampers package in your very near future.

I swear to God by jayhawk88 (4.00 / 1) #2 Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 06:51:09 AM EST
There were times when I seriously considered what it would take to tape the pacifier into their mouths, especially Megan who was very fussy about having it. I found myself thinking thoughts like "Maybe a couple strips of Scotch tape, cut in half to make it thinner, just a bit going around each cheek to keep it in place".

My only thought overnight: by BadDoggie (4.00 / 2) #3 Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 07:10:46 AM EST
"Low elasticity rubber bands."


OMG WE'RE FUCKED! -- duxup ?

[ Parent ]
You are a better person than I. by sugar spun (4.00 / 3) #5 Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 07:33:55 AM EST
I was pondering the existence of some sort of modified ball gag.

[ Parent ]
Someday she's going to read these diaries by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #22 Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 08:21:07 AM EST
and be Traumatized For Life.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
Not to worry, by sugar spun (4.00 / 1) #28 Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 10:44:15 AM EST

She'll have discovered the Grown Up Toy Box long before that happens.

[ Parent ]
That grossed me out for a second by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #29 Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 10:54:30 AM EST
until I realised that you talking about a real thing, and not using a euphemism for vagina.

[ Parent ]
Baby Muzzle (tm) by jayhawk88 (2.00 / 0) #12 Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:15:08 AM EST
Has some bad associations attached to it for a brand name, surely there is something better. Baby Bridle perhaps? There's a marketing opportunity here, I feel it.

[ Parent ]
Binky, dummy, pacifier by Breaker (4.00 / 2) #4 Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 07:30:04 AM EST
Every single health visitor and midwife was like "oooh dummies, really bad".

They were not the people up at 4am with a screaming baby.

And even now at ~4 months, MiniBreaker is entirely unable to hold a dummy in her mouth without it falling. 

Like other posters, I have designs in my head for an elasticated harness to hold it in place.

MBW and I must have read, re-read and read again about 60 books in total, ranging from Gina Ford, the SS storm trooper of baby care to Tracy Hoggett, the hippie.  Worthy stuff in all of them, but the one thing that really did help us was "the Dunstan method" - teaches you to seperate the cries into "hungry, tired, windy, uncomfortable" - really useful in the first couple of months.

Also, Infacol before every meal if she's colicky at night - won't stop the crying but it reduced it for us.

Apologies for the unsolicited advice!

We managed to isolate the cries by sugar spun (2.00 / 0) #6 Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 07:37:37 AM EST

It's just when nothing at all has ever or could possibly ever be invented that will make. it. stop. and she's staring up at me all teary-eyed and woebegone, normally in the middle of the night, that I curse myself for not being magic.

[ Parent ]
If only by Breaker (4.00 / 3) #8 Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 07:45:06 AM EST
We could have that magic wave of the hand to guarantee a good nights kip for the bairn and by extension the parents!

Minibreaker would scream incessantly from ~6pm to about midnight from 3 weeks old to about 2.5 months, during which time MBW and I did indeed wish ourselves to be magic.

But now, Minibreaker sleeps midnight to 8am, and cries only for food or when tired.  It was just those first 2 months that were really hard.

Wish I could find some magic for the pair of you!

[ Parent ]
Gina Ford is childless. by sugar spun (4.00 / 1) #16 Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 04:20:45 PM EST
I want to stamp on her face.

[ Parent ]
I have never installed HURD. by BadDoggie (4.00 / 0) #17 Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 04:22:34 PM EST
RMS may be fucking brilliant when it comes to software concepts but only in a very abstract manner. Likewise midwives tend to themselves be childless. Whether this is like men with small penises compensating by becoming cops or simply a manner of their demeanour resulting in their chasing off potential donors, the fact of the matter is that their advice comes from practical but not personal experience.


OMG WE'RE FUCKED! -- duxup ?

[ Parent ]
babies are hard work by codemonkey uk (4.00 / 3) #9 Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 07:51:59 AM EST
Interesting face: Women cope better with broken sleep, men cope better with reduced sleep.

This means, an effective team effort when dealing with baby night time fussyness, is (or rather, can be, not every couple fits the stereotypes, unique butterfly disclaimers etc, etc), for the father to breakfast, dress, and entertain the baby in the early morning, while the mother has a sleep in, and for the father to do the evening-to-midnight shift, but for night-time feeds and fussyness (midnight till 6am) are dealt with by the mother. 

Throw in some daytime naps (when baby sleeps, mummy sleeps), and mum is getting enough sleep over-all, and dad is getting that sold 5-6 hour chunk at night, and everyone ends up less frazzled at the edges.

Works even better if mum can breastfeed in her sleep (co-sleeping).


--- Thad ---
Almost as Smart As you.

Heh by Phage (4.00 / 1) #21 Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 08:21:00 AM EST
Works even better if mum can breastfeed in her sleep (co-sleeping).

We used this. AKA in-flight refueling.

[ Parent ]
I called it by StackyMcRacky (2.00 / 0) #26 Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 09:10:33 AM EST
"slacker nursing"

[ Parent ]
Don't stress about it by marvin (4.00 / 1) #10 Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 10:14:29 AM EST
You'll do worse things without being bad parents. You love your daughter, and you're doing everything you can, learning as you go because every child is different. That fits the definition of good parenting in my book.

I put the books and research in perspective by remembering that somehow, civilization arose, and thousands of generations of my forebears were somehow raised successfully without the benefit of Dr. Spock's book. I think my parents read that one, and by the time I had children, much of Spock's book was thoroughly discredited.

Just do what works. You'll die from stress within a year if you try to meet all of the expectations of every medical professional in the world. From the age of a few months, our oldest would scream, squirm, and kick for at least a half hour (and often up to two hours) while my wife tried to rock him, sung to him, latch him on to teh boobie, and generally did everything she could think of to try and put him to sleep. Every night. Until he was one year old. I'm sure the neighbours thought we abused him, because his screaming was uninterrupted, and loud enough to wake the dead.

The only reason he stopped? The Babylock™. One particularly trying night, after my wife rocked this screaming child for two hours, I gave it a go, because she was at the end of her endurance. For some reason, I cradled him in my arms, facing outwards, his head nestled by my left elbow, my right arm between his legs and across his chest, clasped onto my left arm. He could kick and squirm all he wanted without hitting anything or even having a chance of wriggling out of my grasp, as I held him firmly (not tightly), and gravity helped keep him in place. I would rock him, and the first time, I think it took me under ten minutes before he settled down, stopped screaming, and went to sleep.

Bedtime became Daddy's job from that point forward, because even though she tried it, but it didn't work for my wife. After less than a month, he would recognize the Babylock™ position immediately, look up at me, give a little shrug of resignation, and be asleep within a minute or two. No more screaming, most nights.

Call it child abuse if you want, call me a bad parent, but it worked and saved our sanity. And I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

I use a couple of similar holds. by BadDoggie (2.00 / 0) #18 Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 05:25:24 PM EST
You may have seen her comment in an earlier diary of mine. She's too young to be really resigned to anything but generally any sort of restraint seems to work wonders, be it swaddling, a holding position or what have you. I can't imagine why this is but I'm grateful for having figured it out.


OMG WE'RE FUCKED! -- duxup ?

[ Parent ]
couple of friends by LilFlightTest (2.00 / 0) #19 Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 05:53:06 PM EST
have a kid that can't be soothed to sleep. no amount of rocking, holding, etc, would put him to sleep. they learned about a month or so in that the best way to put him to sleep was just to feed him, lay him in bed, and let him cry. 5 minutes in, still screaming. At 9 minutes, the screaming starts to pause for a few seconds...11 minutes, silence. after a couple months of this, baby no longer even fussed. lay him in bed, he plays with his toes for about 10 minutes, and then starts snoring. he loves to cuddle otherwise, but at bedtime, leave him alone.
if de-virgination results in me being able to birth hammerhead sharks, SIGN ME UP!!! --misslake
[ Parent ]
Sadly by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #11 Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 11:00:24 AM EST
My son rejected the pacifier.  The second it hit is mouth, he'd spit it out at high velocity.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
We had one who loved it. by Phage (2.00 / 0) #24 Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 08:26:17 AM EST
And the rest mostly hated it.

[ Parent ]
same here by StackyMcRacky (2.00 / 0) #27 Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 09:12:48 AM EST
then again, The Dude didn't really need it.  he really only cried if he was gassy (THANK GOD FOR MYLECON), hungry, or wet.  we were sooo lucky that he was just a good baby.

now, he's making up for it.  sigh.

[ Parent ]
Well by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #30 Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 11:17:14 AM EST
He is two, right?
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
two smart for his own good by StackyMcRacky (2.00 / 0) #31 Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 11:41:38 AM EST
and two busy running around.  and has two many opinions.

somebody told me i need to have a completely childproof room to put him in time out in.  not.  possible.  there is just no such thing as "childproof" with this dude.

[ Parent ]
Just wait until three by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #33 Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 02:37:11 PM EST
At four, you can start reasoning with them.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
did you try soaking it in WIld Turkey by dev trash (2.00 / 0) #38 Sat Aug 22, 2009 at 01:02:12 AM EST
Mine was and I turned out okay!

[ Parent ]
I read no failure there... by atreides (4.00 / 2) #13 Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 12:36:41 PM EST
Every baby is different. Some babies never need a pacifier. For some it is extremely helpful. You guys did what had to be done to keep her comfortable and keep yourselves sane so I think you have made a decision composed almost entirely of WIN.

As for being worried about fucking up, well, I've already figured out that there is no such thing as the perfect parent. No matter what you get right, you mess your kid up a little in some way or another. And since there is no perfect and foolproof way to raise a child, the standard shouldn't be "perfect" but rather "good enough". If the Cania Minora grows up to be a healthy, relatively well adjusted person who can cope with the world and society in a relatively normal and non-serial killer way, you'll have done just fine.

And in a few months, you'll be sleeping through the night again so this too shall pass.

He sails from world to world in a flying tomb, serving gods who eat hope.

Everyone think they're rubbish at it by Herring (4.00 / 4) #14 Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 01:32:13 PM EST
Except possibly the people who actually are - who are probably too pissed/stoned to care.

Just don't drop it and remember to keep it clean at fed. It's annoying that they don't come with decent instructions but that's Open Source for you.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

freakin' baby teeth by muchagecko (2.00 / 0) #15 Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 02:16:00 PM EST
Both of mine had teeth at 3 months, and consequently were teething from day 1.

The binkie probably helps sooth the gums as well as all the other stuff. Good work.

A purpose gives you a reason to wake up every morning.
So a purpose is like a box of powdered donut holes?
My Name is Earl

in the pursuit of sleep... by clock (2.00 / 0) #20 Sun Aug 16, 2009 at 10:35:26 PM EST
...there are very few things which are not fair game.  it's pretty safe to say that you'll not being doing any of the ones that aren't, so piss on anyone who looks down on WHAT WORKS.  it's all about the ends, people.

sounds to me like everything here is on target.  excellent work!  keep it up!  sleep is coming soon right about the time you adapt to not having it.  the best part of the game is that right when you get good at the current level, it all changes.  it's badass.

rock on!

I agree with clock entirely --Kellnerin

There's no right answer by Phage (4.00 / 1) #23 Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 08:24:01 AM EST
Our first was a dream, the third a nightmare. The only way we could cope was by taking it in turns to sleep. One parent would take all the wake-ups from 11-6, the other gets to sleep.

NB women have the advantage with in-flight re-fuelling.

(Comment Deleted) by xth (2.00 / 0) #25 Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 08:42:55 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by xth

Sounds great! by littlestar (2.00 / 0) #32 Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 01:40:24 PM EST
Baby being baby-like, you guys being parents like, worrying, trying, worrying, trying other things.. hahahaha. That's the way it goes! I'm sure you are doing a wonderful job, it certainly sounds like the delight of an infant. (Yeah! I'm passed that!) Enjoy it though it is draining it's so special and fleeting. (Not that you'll miss the sleepless nights... ever.)


you miss the snuggling! by StackyMcRacky (2.00 / 0) #34 Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 06:52:50 PM EST
all they want to do at this age is snuggle up and nap. 

when they're older, IF they want to nap with you it means things like getting a foot in your face.

i miss sweet baby snuggles.

[ Parent ]
Hah. by sugar spun (4.00 / 1) #35 Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 04:37:25 AM EST
Right now the monster is using her sharp little fingernails and prehensile monkey toes to climb Mama. There's a foot in my c-section scar and my collarbone area is shredded.

I would love to be napped on.

[ Parent ]
ah, yes, foot to the incision by StackyMcRacky (2.00 / 0) #36 Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 10:21:57 AM EST
The Dude could hit my incision dead on, with laser-like accuracy every time.

I used to make nursing time = nail clipping time.  Those fingernails grow FAST!

Even when they're older, they'll still climb Mama.  It's just heavier.  :)


[ Parent ]
And in other news.. by LinDze (4.00 / 1) #37 Wed Aug 19, 2009 at 01:54:28 AM EST
I found this little gem at work today:

lindze$ ping mrsplashypants
PING mrsplashypants ( 56 data bytes
64 bytes from icmp_seq=0 ttl=54 time=21.455 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=54 time=24.483 ms
--- mrsplashypants ping statistics ---
2 packets transmitted, 2 packets received, 0.0% packet loss
round-trip min/avg/max/stddev = 21.455/22.969/24.483/1.514 ms

Thanks BD. Your trolling has actually infiltrated my work life at this point.

-Lin Dze
Arbeit Macht Frei

Thank you for that. by BadDoggie (2.00 / 0) #40 Sat Aug 22, 2009 at 07:12:52 PM EST
I laughed and laughed... very quietly because the little hellspawn is actually asleep right now. If you want revenge you could always name some server lemonparty.

I am both proud and dismayed about my... "success"... with that fucking whale's name. It's still nowhere near the mastery of Is your son a computer hacker? but I'll take what I can get.


OMG WE'RE FUCKED! -- duxup ?

[ Parent ]
not a bad idea.. by LinDze (2.00 / 0) #41 Mon Aug 24, 2009 at 01:58:06 AM EST
Im personally anti theme naming, but a "greatest trolls" cluster could just work...

-Lin Dze
Arbeit Macht Frei
[ Parent ]
Thireteen year old loved her binkies by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #39 Sat Aug 22, 2009 at 06:37:01 PM EST
we would put her to bed with three, one in the mouth, one in each hand, and she'd often make 2 am before losing them all.

We are not horrible parents | 40 comments (40 topical, 0 hidden)