Went walking again last night. My shins and hips were really feeling it from the other evening but I still was out for thirty minutes. It's not crazy but it's something!
When I got home Danny and the kids were goofing around in the living room so I went upstairs to shower and get myself ready for bed. When I came downstairs, the kids were eating a snack and the baby was drinking a small bottle while sitting on the living room floor.
That is NOT how I do the baby's bedtime routine.
First off, I wait until he's really REALLY really ready for bed. No point in trying to lay him down to sleep if he's not tired yet.
Second, I fix him a full 8 ounces so he'll have a full tummy and will sleep through the night, not a short 4 ounce bottle (I use the small bottles for water and keep one in his bed if he wakes up thirsty in the night).
Also, I never just let him sit around with a bottle in the living room! I fix the bottle, then carry him upstairs, change his diaper while he starts on the bottle. Then I turn on his fan for some circulation and white noise, turn off the lights, shut the door so it's nice and dark in the room and I hold him in the rocking chair while I feed him the bottle.
While he drinks, I rub his cheeks and eyelids while he drifts off. Sometimes I'll sing or hum to him. Sometimes he grabs my hand and wants to hold it as he falls asleep.
When the bottle is nearly done and he's almost asleep, I lay him down, swap out the formula bottle for the water bottle, pull up the sides of the crib and tip-toe out.
Generally he just turns on his side and goes to sleep. Sometimes he gets up and cries out to me and I'll just go in, lay him down again, give him his water and go out. We might do that a few times, but very rarely do I have to hold him again (last time was when he was sick and wanted to be snuggled all night long).
And that's our routine. It's taken 10 months to get there and it's taken a lot of work but that's it. And it works for us.
Because my husband gets up early in the morning he usually goes to bed around the same time as the kids and therefore doesn't do the baby's bedtime routine, I've always done it. Also twice a week for the last three years he has been at school and doesn't get home until 9pm, long after the kids have been tucked into bed.
That is why he didn't know how to "do" the routine. He said that the baby was getting fussy so he made him a bottle and that was that. I don't know what his end goal was: Simply to make the baby stop fussing or if he really expected Baby D to drop, fast asleep, on the living room floor. I think he was just fixing the situation at hand by offering what he knew would stop the fussing. And as a man I think that is how most dads think (fix the immediate problem) not really thinking about what happens after that.
I scooped the baby up and we started our usual routine. Because the bottle wasn't very big he finished it quickly and then wanted to be snuggled a bit more. I did try laying him down but he just wasn't ready and wanted me to hold him. The little music box with the projection image that shines on the ceiling didn't work either, he wanted me to pick him up. I rocked him in the chair, tried singing a song, but he started getting antsy, sitting up and looking around, wanting to grab my hair and be silly.
I was starting to feel like this was a hopeless cause, that I should just give it up and let him stay up a little longer. And then something happened...
Now, normally Baby D LOVES when people sneeze. He giggles, he smiles and then he copies it with a few fake sneezes of his own.
But this time my sudden, loud sneeze in the dark caused him to throw his arms up in the air and his whole little body jumped. He quickly wrapped his arms around my neck and buried his face in my neck and stayed there until he fell asleep.
Poor kid, I felt bad about scaring him! As I sat there, rocking him and feeling his little heart beating against my own chest, feeling his body finally relax, I thought about those special moments I've had in the dark with him over the last 10 months. Swaddling him in a blanket as a new baby, nursing him in the rocking chair while I nodded off myself, tucking my hand under his little bottom as he curled up against me.
And I thought of my husband, who wishes that the baby would snuggle with him more instead of just wanting to roughhouse. He really was trying to do what he thought he should by offering the bottle last night, just not knowing how the routine usually goes down backfired a bit. He sees how Baby D cuddles with me but it's been those special moments in the middle of the night that have developed that bond between us. I know Danny hasn't really been able to create that with the baby yet and I've told him that the shift will come. That soon enough it's going to be all about "Daddy" and wanting to play and they will have their special time together.
Until then, I'll enjoy my "Mommy" time and those sweet bedtime snuggles with my little boy.