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When Tyler wakes up in the wee hours between sunset and sunrise (you know the hours. Before parenthood, these would be the hours that you would just be stumbling towards bed, sometimes in a slightly inebriated stupor. These would be the hours that we now cherish as quiet, sleepy time), Sarah takes care of him nine times out of ten. It would be more accurate to say 99 times out of a hundred, but who’s keeping track?

Sometimes, he needs nursies. Other times, he just wakes up and can’t go back to sleep until someone picks his pacifier off the floor and gives it back to him. That cursed (please pronounce it “curs-ed”, not “cursd”, because that’s how I’m saying it as I type it out) pacifier. When Tyler was born, I told EVERYONE that I would rather give Tyler a pacifier than have him be a thumbsucker. My reasoning? Well, because I can take away a pacifier. I can’t take away Tyler’s thumbs. If I could go back and talk to the Joe of seven months ago, I’d slap the white off my own face.

I never considered the flipside of such a scenario. When Tyler falls asleep, his pacifier falls out of his mouth, and ALWAYS drops off his crib to the floor. Upon waking up and realizing his pacifier is not within reach, he will gently call for his parents to come and rectify the situation. If we do not oblige within half a second, he cranks the volume up to 11 until we do so. Many a time have we walked into Tyler’s room to see him reaching through the slats of his crib, looking at us as if to say “What? I tried getting it myself before asking for help.”

Normally, this doesn’t really bother me. Sure, it’s a tad frustrating and a bit of a nuisance, but when I go up there to plug his mouth, it’s usually between 3 or 5 in the afternoon. In the middle of the night, Sarah gets up and tends to him. When a couple sleep in the same bed, the wife will grow accustomed to the husband’s alarm clock going off every morning. Eventually, she won’t even hear it anymore. I can’t exactly say that I don’t hear Tyler yelling, but I hear it in a deep part of my head, and it takes a while to wake me.

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Well, Monday morning, almost simultaneous to my alarm going off, Sarah cried out in pain next to me. We’re both unsure of what exactly happened. She either pulled a muscle in her neck, pinched a nerve, or “something” that would cause severe pain to shoot down her neck and shoulders. Pain so intense that she was sure that she was going to vomit, and actually had to rush – well, as much as a person in that kind of pain can rush – downstairs to the bathroom. After a few moments, it was obvious that she was in no condition to care for Tyler. Feeding him and playing with him would already be quite a chore for her. Picking him up and moving him back to an area where we could keep an eye on him after he crawled into another room and started pounding on Delilah’s crate would be quite another.

We managed to get through the day unscathed, with daddy at the caretaking helm. Sarah and Tyler have their daily routines, and I’m sure I did some things differently, but like I said, all came out fine. He’s still got ten fingers and ten toes, and I’m still breathing, so we won’t talk about the new bruise that is forming next to his right ear.

Tyler was definitely tired when we put him to bed. A few hours later, we heard him crying. I went up to his room to find him sitting upright, just crying. It was a comical sight, and I did laugh. As a matter of fact, I laughed again when I “drew the picture” for Sarah. It wasn’t a big deal, because I hadn’t gone to bed yet. I was simply hanging out, downstairs, watching TV or cruising the information superhighway, I can’t remember which.

Later that night (*cough* one thirty in the morning *cough*), I found my dreams being infiltrated by a strange noise. It almost sounded like…

Screaming? Crying? Is that a baby crying?

“Gimme a break”, I grumbled as I flung the covers off myself. Promptly, I discovered that our house is cold at night! I don’t mean the cold where I need to put on a pair of socks. I’m talking about the cold where I should be wearing a snow suit, over three or four layers of pajamas and shirts, and have all that stuffed with those warm-packs that hunters take with them in sub-zero temperatures. We have one of those smart, energy efficient thermostats. At night, it drops down to 62ºf (17ºc) and I’m here to tell you that the piece of junk is defective. It was cold enough to make a polar bear migrate south. Sarah said that she had just finished breastfeeding Tyler, so he probably just needed his paci. That was fine with me, because I wanted to get under the snuggly covers again as quickly as possible.

“Of course he does”, I thought, as I quickly walked as quietly as I could, or quietly walked as quickly as I could, “Why couldn’t he just be a thumb sucker?”

I walked into his room to see him standing up in his crib, pacifier in mouth, crying. I kept thinking, “I have to be awake in four hours. I have to give a two hour presentation today. And he’s crying just because he doesn’t want to sleep?” *sigh*

I put him back to bed and tucked him in. After listening to him cry for another fifteen minutes, I went back in there to give him his paci that somehow managed to drop to the floor. I swear he must be pulling it out of his mouth and throwing it, just to get a rise out of us. He went to sleep for the rest of the night shortly after that.

Why is it that I get exactly what I wish for when it turns out to be exactly what I don’t want. He shows no interest at all in his thumbs. I’ve changed my mind! I want him to give up the paci and discover his thumbs. I wonder if it would be acceptable to fashion a rubber band on the pacifier, so I could wrap it around his head to keep it in his mouth. Like a doctor’s facemask.

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There is, pretty much, no question as to whether Tyler will be a thumb sucker or not. He’s already trying to find his thumb. A few days ago, he was holding onto my thumb, and he tried pulling it into his mouth. My thumb. When he makes a fist, he tucks his thumb INSIDE the fist. This morning he had his fist at his mouth, and he was trying to get his thumb out and into his mouth. I pulled his hand away and stuck the pacifier in. I know that some people think pacifiers are taboo, and just shouldn’t be used, but if I have to choose between that and thumb sucking, I’m choosing the paci. You want a reason? I don’t want to promote thumbsucking, because he’ll forever have thumbs (unless he cuts them off in woodshop in about 13 years). How do you wean a child off thumbsucking if he always has the tools to do so? With a paci, I can wean him off by removing the paci sometime down the road. Only time will tell if my theory is correct.

On a side note, I added a bunch more pics of Tyler. Go to my galleries at http://TheGearharts.smugmug.com, click on “Our Family”, then “Tyler James”, then “Welcome to the World – Part Deux” to check them out. If you haven’t already done so, bookmark that page (and this one), so you can keep up on the exploits, and watch Tyler grow.

Last night was glorious. I slept for about 9 hours. I thought my mind was playing tricks on me when I looked at the clock. That, coupled with the fact that it was no longer dark outside, threw me for a loop. I looked over to the other side of the bed and saw Sarah sleeping. Between her and I was Tyler, sleeping away.

We all came downstairs as a family, so that Tyler could get some boobage, and I could get some Cookie Crisp cereal. I asked Sarah why she didn’t wake me up last night to take care of the little man for awhile. Her response, though very simple, was clear to the point.

“Because we didn’t need you.”

I guess, when you’re breast feeding, there’s just not much that the father can do. The night before was very rough for both of us. There was only one difference between that night and last night, and it made a world of difference for all involved. Sarah’s milk had come in. I have to steal a term coined by Sarah here. When Tyler gets his milk, he goes into a “milk coma”.

And we’re not complaining. He sleeps anywhere from 2 to 4 hours after getting his fill. That’s much better than the 45 minutes to an hour from the night before. He’s actually in a milk coma now, right next to me on the floor. I’m lying next to him on my laptop. He’s in the boppy sleeping very peacefully.

Something I never knew before this pregnancy is that milk doesn’t “come in” for about 4 to 6 days after the birth of your baby. What you have before the milk is called cholostrum. It’s sometimes called “early milk” and is full of fats, proteins, and antibodies. Well… the cholostrum was running dry and the real-deal milk wasn’t quite ready, which resulted in a very fussy baby.

I’m currently praying that every night will be this easy, although I know that I’ve got a better chance of winning the lotto than having that happen.

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