Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Mixed Messages

One of the unexpected joys of parenthood has been how frequently our son makes us laugh. In particular, we regularly find ourselves getting a kick at all the methods the little guy utilizes to communicate.

While he’s not talking yet, Master Blackwell is quite the chatterbox. He knows “Mama” and “Dada” — though he’s just as likely to repeat these words while playing with his toys as he is when he’s looking at his mom or me.

We consulted this feelings chart and
determined the boy covered each of these in
about 90 seconds. 
His squeaks and squeals are gaining evermore inflection to voice varying degrees of contentment and displeasure and it’s not difficult to determine which is which.

He’s adopted a fake cry now too. It’s especially interesting to watch the little guy pivot from an all out bawl to a smile in the time it takes him to turn his head from his dad to his mom.

His vocabulary will come (we’re in no rush for it to get here) and in the meantime he’s an effective little communicator — except when he’s not.

Last night was one of these times.

The little guy went to sleep at about 7:30, his normal bedtime. But sometime after 11:30 pm, he woke up angry (not normal).

So, I popped up made him a bottle and that seemed to placate him, as it usually does. But, when I moved to put him back in his crib, he cried. In one of his less-loveable quirks, when he’s upset, the little guy doesn’t like to be held by someone who is sitting. He only stops crying if you’re standing while holding him.

So that’s what I did — for a long time. I stood and held him and waited patiently for him to fall asleep on my shoulder so that I could place him in his crib. This is a delicate process because if you don’t wait for him to be fast asleep, the slightest jostling will wake him and you start back at square one.

So my philosophy is to eat the time on the front end and make absolutely sure he’s asleep before attempting to put him down. Except last night he didn’t fall asleep. He moved his head around observing the darkness and occasionally rested his head on my shoulder.

But he didn’t sleep. So, I did what any responsible parent who’s read anything about kids should never do. I brought the little guy to bed with us. (We’re past the point of worrying about rolling over on the little guy but I’ve been told you don’t do this unless you’re prepared to share your bed with your kid until he’s 12.)

That said, I was tired and so was he — or so I thought. Once in the bed, Master Blackwell proceeded to put all of his best traits on display in a matter of moments.

First he laid down and appeared to be falling asleep. Then, with no prompting, he yelped, squealed and giggled, like it was playtime, which also included popping up and kicking his feet. Then he started crying for a few moments before he decided he was tired and wanted to sleep again. This is nice except his sleeping involves frequent movement and making his little frame occupy an incomprehensible amount of space.

He alternated between these states for some time — and at maximum volume — before Mrs. Blackwell and I agreed it was time for him to go.  

So I returned him to his crib and while he wasn’t thrilled he did eventually fall asleep — sometime after me for a change. 

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