Last Friday, my sister needed to get a steroid shot into her epidural space to alleviate some pain associated with a slipped disc. She was nervous, so I told her I would come in and sit with her before her appointment. We were going to get some food at a deli afterward, and then I would head home. Operation Bumbysleep had been carrying on with moderate success (naps improved, nights much the same, with the exception of putting him down easily in his crib at night for an hour and a half before bringing him down with us).
Long story short: I went into the city. The appointment took longer than I thought. The lunch eating took longer than I thought. Bumby refused to nurse politely in the restaurant, which means he did not really get a good meal, because while I am all about public breastfeeding, I am not about public boob exposure while a screaming baby draws attention to my toplessness. While changing Bumby’s diaper during my sister’s appointment, I discovered a disturbing rash on his abdomen. I texted a picture to my wife and asked if she thought I needed to get him to the doctor. I had to drive my sister home from the Upper East Side to her apartment on the Lower East Side at 4pm on a Friday because her back was numb and I didn’t want her taking the subway (although – this is why there are CABS, people).
The end result was that at 4:48 on Friday, I had a starving baby and was driving up First Avenue looking for a place to pull over and feed him when my wife called. “YES! I think you need to get him to the doctor!” Now she tells me. I can’t call while driving, the traffic is horrific, and of course there is no place to pull over on First Avenue. I am a ball of stress. She reminds me, over the screaming, that I had promised to go to the Boy Child’s baseball game at 6. Although we live less than 15 miles outside the city, there is no way I am making it in this traffic in less than an hour. I hang up on her. I pull over into a no standing zone — hydrant, I think — and call the pediatrician, who of course is already closed even though they are supposed to be open for another 4 minutes AT LEAST. My wife calls back. She has also called the pediatrician, while googling baby rashes, and decided it is a post-viral rash from Bumby’s cold. Meanwhile, Bumby is crying and screaming through the whole thing. I get back on First (because the FDR is even more backed up than the surface streets) and keep driving. Bumby is long overdue for a nap, but won’t sleep in the car because he is starving. And has a rash! And is exhausted! But at least I got matzoh ball soup? Ugh. I was so frustrated with myself, which was exacerbated by my wife calling while I was navigating through Manhattan rush hour traffic with a screaming baby to tell me she was also frustrated with me.
When I finally get on the FDR at 6, we are creeping along at less than 5 miles per hour. Bumby is screaming and hyperventilating. I see a stalled car on the shoulder and take the opportunity to pull over in front of it, throw my flashers, and climb into the back seat to feed Bumby. At this point, I don’t care if it’s legal, I don’t care if I get a ticket, I don’t care if the truck drivers crawling past at 5 mph get a good eyeful. Bumby is starving, and I am going to feed him. I figure that if someone goes off the road, firstly, they will only be going 5 mph, and secondly, they will hit the stalled car before they hit us.
After I feed him, he zonks out. I am 45 minutes late to the baseball game, and Operation Bumbysleep is thoroughly fucked for the night. He is so overtired that he cries all evening and won’t go down. He is up every hour all night long. I feel I deserve this punishment, because of being the Worst Mother Ever. Saturday naps were short and ineffective, and Saturday night was just as bad — lots of fussy crying, difficult to get down. When he was up for the day at 4:30 Sunday morning, my wife, who had forgiven me for being the Worst Mother Ever, decided to take him on a little driving tour of City Island and then read and play in his room while I got some much-needed sleep. Sunday he took 4 long naps — two of them were over 2 hours — and he was back to being a delightful baby. He went down easily last night, so I had some hope he would sleep a couple longer stretches, but he still woke every hour or so to eat all night long, until he was up for the day at around 5. This was tragic, as I am super anxious about a work meeting I have today, and really didn’t want to go into it on four hours of broken sleep.
In summary: Operation Bumbysleep was derailed by my own foolishness, but we have had some success. He is still a much better napper than he ever was before, even if he is no better at night. He is getting too hot in the swaddle, and it’s too small for our big boy, so we bought him a mesh Woombie that’s made for bigger babies and will keep him a little cooler. We’ll see how he likes it. I am inclined to keep him in it all night and put him in the pack and play in our room to see if he sleeps better near to us but not with us, although I love sleeping with him and don’t really want to let it go just yet. I was also pondering the Magic Merlin suit, but I’m afraid he’ll totally overheat in it, and I’m not sure whether it will work as well as the swaddle. Any thoughts on the Woombie and the Merlin suit would be greatly appreciated. The naps are great but this mama is desperate for some nighttime sleep.
PS The rash was gone in the morning, so we decided it was indeed a post-viral rash. Whew.