I’ve just emerged from a week of deep hibernation over the Spring Festival holiday. Though I left the house a total of five times (to buy groceries) during this time, the seven-day break from work flew by – primarily because my wife and I were utterly consumed with caring for Marianne 24/7.
Our yue sao left us to our own devices right before the holiday and we were happy to finally have the chance to spend some quality time bonding and caring for Marianne on our own. Of course we did this fully anticipating a challenge, and, indeed, after a shaky start the first night (in which Marianne cried almost the entire night), it seemed that our daughter finally started to recognize us as her mommy and daddy – as opposed to the yue sao – the morning after.
From then on the days settled into a regular routine of blessedly long baby naps, sprinkled in with the odd diaper change, feeding, bath time and trip to the store – that and cursing to ourselves over the incessant sound of fireworks going off in the streets below us.
The nights, however, have been a different story. Aside from a couple of evenings when our baby managed to sleep four or five successive hours at a time, most have been an unpredictable mix of crying, feedings, diaper changes and middle-of-the-night poops. Sleep, for us, has been relegated to an hour or two here and there, and I now constantly feel like I just stepped off a trans-Pacific flight.
I suppose this is all some form of karmic justice: my mom has reveled in the opportunity to remind me how back when I was a baby, I would keep her and my dad up all night by screaming at the top of my lungs from dusk to dawn. “Every following morning your father would make a point to bow to your crib and announce out loud ‘I’m off to work, boss!’” she gleefully regales.
And now it appears to be my turn: I trudged into work this morning a virtual zombie after our third sleepless night in a row. Last night was especially bad as it seems that Beijing’s arid climate and our reliance on formula (my wife is still lactating far less than we’d like) has made little Marianne into a backed-up little gas-bomb (her new nickname, thanks to my mom, is “Fart Princess,” or Pi Gong Zhu – 屁公主). It took us a while to figure it out, but after listening to her wail away as she squirmed around in my arms with an excruciating look on her face during the wee hours of this morning, we also figured out that our daughter has a rather nasty case of colic, a digestive ailment that plagues many newborns.
The wailing didn’t let up until daybreak this morning, when an eerie calm descended on our house as she settled into an exhausted sleep. Since then*, I’ve been calling my wife every couple of hours or so for an official poo report, and am prepared to rush home this evening with a glycerin suppository ready for action if need be – though I’m fairly confident some a few drinks of water, a warm bath and a little belly rub this afternoon will do the trick.
As for my assessment of “handling it on our own,” I can say that despite the sleepless nights and our ringing ears, it’s definitely been worth it – I fully look forward to someday laying into Marianne about how she would keep us up all night when she has a little gas bomb of her own.
*We are thrilled to report that at approximately 1600 hours today, Marianne did indeed poop. Hooray.