Friday, May 14, 2010


Kate and I are healthy, competent adults.  One might even suggest we are reasonably intelligent and hard working.  Early thirties, with plenty of energy and optimism, we’re adaptable people who have seen a bit of the world accomplished some stuff.  If you asked me a year ago whether Kate and I would have any trouble caring for an infant I would have laughed at you.  If everyone else can do it, then of course we can.  I can assemble IKEA furniture and find my way to the airport just like everyone else because there are big pictures of airplanes on road signs and little pictures of Swedish cartoon dudes putting together my shelving... so we’re good.  Because if something was designed for the average person to handle, then I expect to handle it.  And caring for a baby? Everyone else can clearly do so  this should be an absolute piece of cake.  Feed, change, wrap up warm, and scene!

But I have learned a thing or two in recent weeks haven’t I?  Yep, those of you who have had an infant at home obviously understand.  Kate and I are honestly blown away by the difficulty of making our little ‘bundle of joy’ comfortable.  It’s far from a ‘piece of cake’. 

The problem can be summed up in two words: sleep deprivation.  There are some numbers involved.  First, Wally’s average daily sleep-wake-cycle is a lot shorter than ours.  He sleeps and wakes roughly 8-12 times per 24 hours.  Wallace breast feeds every 2-3 hours without exception.  During your average feed, Wally eats for 20-40 minutes, get’s a diaper change (5 min), and is then free to do what he wants (either sleep or look around or cry).  Pop quiz: what is the longest amount of ‘consecutive sleep’ Wallace could ever expect?

2 hours and 35 minutes - well done (I hope) - assuming that Wallaby falls asleep the second he stops eating.  But that would be quite an erroneous assumption my dear reader.  The boy needs to be ‘helped’ to sleep by chillin’ on mom or dad for a while.  Oh he just adores the smell of mom and warmth of dad!  Sometimes ‘on mom or dad’ is the only place our son will sleep quietly and comfortably for more than a few minutes.  Right now, as I type these words, Wallaby is sleeping soundly on my chest.  In practical terms, this means Kate and I don’t sleep much.

Of course, those of you with kiddies know all of this already  Wally’s poor little breastfeeding mommy barely sleeps at all.  An hour or two at a time at most, and often much less if I am asleep or at work.  A night or two of sleep deprivation is fine... but two weeks already with no end in sight (months longer) is ridiculous.  Actually, given what has been asked of her, Kate has kept it all together remarkably well.  She is calm and productive, sleeps when she can, and doesn't complain.  And Wallace is happy and very well cared for.  It's not easy but she's good at this.  I can't help but be impressed by this random new mothering talent in a girl I've known for so long.  Here's an action shot: 

Of course, this would all be much easier if we were not living all alone so far away from our families.  And that is why my mother has been a huge help since her arrival a few days ago in Brizzy.  She is just here briefly, but it will be a much appreciated visit.  First, she arrived on a Canadian clock, so she was happy to stay awake all night.  Secondly, Wallace is her first grandchild so she was absolutely thrilled to sit with him all night!  Now if Wallace gets just one bottle of breast milk from my mother in the middle of the night... Kate can and I can sleep for 6 HOURS!!!  At the same time!  The first six hours that Maria gave us felt like six weeks :) 

Thank you, thank you, thank you babcia!

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