November 15, 2007

Sleep, Interrupted

The past few nights have been bad. The idea of bed hasn't so much appealed to my lovely daughter. That in and of itself isn't outright horrible. Usually, she's content to hang out in her room, reading books or telling stories to her stuffed animals if she's not tired. The whole bed routine was going wonderfully until this week. Then it got ugly. Instead of singing or reading herself to sleep, Mia's taken up screaming. Full-on, hysterical rabid wolves are gnawing off my feet screaming. As far as we can tell, there's nothing wrong. It's all attitude. It's fun. (I say that with a full dose of sarcasm because it's about as much fun as I'd imagine being sodomized by an angry porcupine would be.)

The other day I looked at both my calendar and my wife and realized that I was going to be a father of two in less than three months. This combined with the new nighttime routine of screaming like a banshee caused me to panic a smidge.

I know what you're saying - Calm down, dude. You've done this before. You know what to expect. Look at how awesome Mia is. And realistically I know this is all at least partially true.

I have done this before. Mia is awesomely wonderful. She is, without doubt, my favorite person in the entire world. But because I've done this before, I also know what I'm getting myself into a second time around. Screaming, late nights, early mornings, sleepwalking through days, rocking my little boy to sleep and crossing my fingers that, for once, it takes and I can successfully make it out of the room before the crying starts again, being a bed and a teething ring and a diaper changer. And then there's the stuff I just don't know - how I will possibly divide my time between Mia and this new little person and how Mia will react to this whole thing. Through all of this, I also realize that I'm the one who gets off the easiest - Beth has the hardest job of all. I fully realize that I don't have it nearly as hard as my wife. Until I learn how to shove a ham through my left nostril, I have no good reason for bitching.

I guess what I'm trying to say, Internet, is that I'm a little scared, nervous, anxious and insecure all wrapped into the one giant bite that I've taken off of the buffet of life that, right now, is sitting, rock-like, in my stomach.

This is when you say shit like Calm down, dude. You've done this before...

Posted by Chris at November 15, 2007 7:11 AM

I've heard one to two is easier than zero to one. Once you have one you can 8, (coming from the person who is only having one). You'll be fine, just like Mia, you will figure it out.
As for the sleeping, Michael is doing th exact same thing. And he was always a great sleeper. What is up with this?

Posted by: jodi at November 15, 2007 7:57 AM

Don't believe those people who tell you adding more children is easier. That's a big lie. It gets harder, dude. Just ask me. My husband and I are totally outnumbered with three.

Didn't Mia just turn 2? Did I hear someone say Terrible Twos??

Posted by: Debbie at November 15, 2007 8:04 AM

Your new baby will be totally different than Mia. He may sleep fine, rarely cry, and eat like a champ. He may not, but he might. And worrying is not going to do anything but let the kids know you're worried.

I had the same thoughts before I had my second baby, and trust me, the worrying was alot worse than the reality. This is coming from the person whose first child NEVER, EVER slept. EVER.

Posted by: Alissa at November 15, 2007 8:05 AM

It is scary yes, and you have done it before, but I swear, it all just falls into place. I just had #2 and was thinking all the same things are you (except I had to carry & birth the baby) but honestly it is not as hard as you are imagining. I hope to give you a little glimmer of hope!

Posted by: Danielle at November 15, 2007 8:17 AM

Here's me looking forward to trying for ONE! You scared me dude!
Only joking, concentrate on how much you will love it rather than how tired you will be....
Pol x

Posted by: Pol at November 15, 2007 8:17 AM

Well we weren't brave enough to for two. But... Calm down, dude. You've done this before...

Posted by: daisy at November 15, 2007 8:51 AM

It is scary, but you'll deal with it. You and Beth. In terms of changing my life, going from zero to one child was a huge leap off a very high cliff, whereas going from one to two children was more like rolling down a moderately steep hill and bouncing off a few rocks on the way down.

Deep breath. You've done this before, you can do it again.

Posted by: alison at November 15, 2007 8:52 AM

You're gonna be just fine, Chris :) You and Beth are already awesome parents. So chill ;)

Posted by: Heather at November 15, 2007 8:54 AM


Calm down, dude.

You've done this before.


Y'know, your imagination makes things seem infinitely worse than than they actually are or could ever be. It also amplifies your memories to make them worse or better, depending on your mood. So, the best advice is to stop thinking and/or using your every time!

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at November 15, 2007 8:58 AM

Hi there, I know how you feel. You will be a-okay. Remember with Mia that this too shall pass and everything will work out with baby #2 AND soon enough you will be dealing with petulant teenagers whom you cannot get out of bed, right?!

Also, Matthew is going through the same thing right now which is just weird. Perhaps it is the way the planets are aligned!? He has been staying up later all of a sudden and waking up for no good reason almost every night crying and upset (or to go to the bathroom) which I can live with but the whole crying because he has no real reason at 2a with ME sleeping on the floor... well I thought we were done with that. It just goes to show us that parenting is gamble and you just have to hope for the best!

Posted by: Christina at November 15, 2007 8:59 AM

I have no experience with 1 or 2 children, or eevn babysitting overnight. But what I do know? You are an awesome father. You are an awesome husband. You are an all around awesome guy. And you WILL be fine. Hell, if you can balance that crazy ass schedule of yours, and still manage to find humor in just randomly yelling FUCK in a parking garage? You'll be fine. =) And Mia will be fine, too. It may be a little harder, but you know that satisfication and gratification you feel when Mia says "I love you daddy"? Imagine that feeling times 2. And that'll make it worth it.

Posted by: Secha at November 15, 2007 9:00 AM

Calm down, dude. You're thinking about the worst case scenario; try imagining all the ways your life will be BETTER. Two favorite little people to love! Watching Mia be a big sister! Good times ahead! So chill!

(Until you're the one pushing the ham out of your nostril, because then I really don't know what to tell you.)

Posted by: Fraulein N at November 15, 2007 9:08 AM

we just had our 2nd- Our daughter and newborn son are 18 months apart. The first few weeks are hard and then it's like your son has always been there, in the picture. Your first child rocks your whole world and leaves you spinning- your second just jumps in and joins the fun! Singing Cat Stevens out loud when they are BOTH screaming seems to help. Hang in there- it's never as bad as you think (but harder than you expect)!

Posted by: Matt at November 15, 2007 9:16 AM

Chris, calm down, you can do this... :) Mia will be a great big sister and even may change her nighttime habits to take "care" of her brother etc....

BIG INTERNET HUG - all will be fine, you and Beth will be fine, MIA will be fine

Posted by: Stephanie at November 15, 2007 9:17 AM

Hey, can we also credit your fat wife with dealing with 98% of the sleep crap, much of it while you are sleeping yourself? Not complaining, just saying.

Posted by: Mrs. Cactus at November 15, 2007 9:30 AM

On the one hand, you will worry less about things with the new baby because you're an old pro. You won't freak out over every little cough or green poop, and there's no learning curve this time around. On the other hand, you may find yourself muttering to yourself, "Why did I ever think that taking care of ONE child was hard? Ever?" Juggling takes some getting used to, as in "The baby's wet AND Mia's hungry! At the SAME TIME! AAAAAGH!"

Posted by: Karen at November 15, 2007 9:48 AM

Go back and read my friend Alissa's comment again.

No two are the same and by then Mia may be over whatever this latest thing is. And this time around you'll have experience on your side.

Posted by: ann adams at November 15, 2007 9:51 AM

I think my husband needs to read your blog; to remember that he gets off easier, even though he does all that stuff too. But the mother does always seem to have it harder and I wish there was some way it could be equal. Oh well. You know you'll be fine. I can't believe I can say that now after only 11 weeks but I sort of feel like I've just made it through something long and grueling and am beginning to see some change so, there ya have it. Having two kids will be great!

Posted by: Claire at November 15, 2007 9:55 AM

I think you're worrying far too much. People don't actually need sleep, and banshee screaming is really cathartic!

Posted by: Meg at November 15, 2007 9:56 AM

Calm down, dude. You've done this before, and if I may venture an opinion, I think you're awesome at it. You don't get kids like Mia by being a crappy parent, you know? There will be some adjustment for everyone, but in the end? I have complete faith that you'll figure it out and will continue to be the Rocking-est Dad On The Block.

Posted by: Dawn at November 15, 2007 9:59 AM

I love that word: DUDE. Thing1 recently told me I'm not cool enough to use the word DUDE in his presence. Am I cool enough here? Cuz seriously... DUDE!!!
Deep Breath.
You are going to be franfreakingtastic!

Alissa is exactly right, BabyBoy will be so very different from Mia. Some struggles might be the same but I am pretty confident here in telling you that most of them will be brand new and manageable (please note that I did NOT say easy).

Remember when Beth was pregnant with Mia and someone told you (because someone always loves you enough to tell you the truth) "This will be the hardest thing you have ever done. It will also be the coolest thing you have ever done."
Well, get ready. This will be harder than that. Anyone who says otherwise is a liar. This will also be cooler than that. DUDE, how lucky are you?

Posted by: Sassy at November 15, 2007 10:00 AM

you're going to be an awesome Dad. Hell, you already are an awesome Dad. In many cases, you won't have to divide your time, because they will both just want to be with you.

But as soon as the little guy gets a bit older, you will be able to play with both of them and they'll just love it- interacting with you, and with each other.

Diapers, smiapers... no big deal. You really will be able to do it. And it's going to be so rewarding!!

Posted by: sarah at November 15, 2007 10:05 AM

Dude - relax. You've done this before.

Of course, this comes from a childless one. But I agree with Alissa. This kid could be completely different than Mia - he might sleep all the time, and eat without trouble. I didn't sleep at all when I was a baby, and my younger brother literally would ask to be put to bed. Besides, this screaming banshee stage Mia's in is just that - a stage. It will most likely be over by the time the new one arrives...

Posted by: Suze at November 15, 2007 10:08 AM

Reading that made me wince a little because I'm feeling all the same things right now. But, just as you handled the unknown when Mia was born, you will handle the unknown this time around. It will all work out in the end. At least that's what I keep trying to tell myself.

Posted by: dee at November 15, 2007 10:21 AM

For us, once we got past the first year, two has been much easier than one. And the first year wasn't so bad, it was just that baby2 wasn't much entertainment for that first year, and in our case, a much worse sleeper than baby1.

There are a lot of things that are easier with the second kid, even if the kid himself is harder. All those freaky things that the first kid did? They don't rattle you as much. And even the new freaky things freak you out less, because you know most of them just work out.

Also, if two kids were so bad, we wouldn't be going for three :)

Posted by: Becky at November 15, 2007 10:45 AM

There, there dude...You can do this! Breathe in, breathe out, yell in your parking garage!

Posted by: Sue at November 15, 2007 10:51 AM

Calm down,dude, you've done this before.
It is scary and you never think you will be able to do it but the pluses far outweigh the minuses.
When you are juggling an infant and a toddler with ease you will wonder what you were worried about. At least you know what to do...things won't be such a suprise.
You are an awesome father with one and that will carry over to two.

Kali (who thought the same things when she was pregnant with her second)

Posted by: kali at November 15, 2007 10:53 AM

Wait, it's less than 3 months for you? Than it's even less for us! PANIC!

Oh and .. "Calm down, dude. You've done this before..."

Posted by: Nadine at November 15, 2007 10:55 AM

You are entitled to a complete wig-out. Your life is changing and that is scary. Being nervous and scared doesn't make you a bad person, it makes you human and realistic. We all know that you're an awesome father and an amazing husband. We all also know that you will handle two young'uns with as much grace and humor as you did with one. But that doesn't mean you can't have a short freak out session. So have at it, sparky.

Posted by: GreenCanary at November 15, 2007 11:01 AM

Dude, you are going to be awesome. :) Seriously the wig out is totally appropriate and also a sign of what a great dad you already are. Hugs and love from us out here in blogoland.
Oh yeah, and "Calm down, dude. You've done this before."

Posted by: tulip at November 15, 2007 11:21 AM

It could be that Mia senses change coming, and she's freaking out, too. My daughter went through something similar when I was pregnant (although it's hard to tell the difference between legitimate freak-out and normal two-year-old freakiness).

Either way, I think your family will be just fine. It's scary now because you don't know yet who this new baby will be, or what will work. But because you've been through it before, you have plenty of things to try, and resources to fall back on. You'll know that infancy doesn't last forever. You'll know not to panic each time the baby does something unexpected, because that's just what babies do.

You'll figure it out. And Mia will love being a big sister once she sees what it really means.

Posted by: julie at November 15, 2007 11:26 AM

You know, this makes me feel strangely better. I was feeling like such a huge wimp because I'm still panicking over having the first.

Now I see that the panic never stops, so I really shouldn't fight it.

Posted by: Alias Mother at November 15, 2007 11:33 AM

Understood... but not every kid has significant sleeping issues. My second is a boy, and the kid is the best sleeper and eater I've ever heard of. He's like, shocking.

Put it this way, by knowing what routines you need to establish early this time around, you're going to eliminate a lot of the difficulty and frustration you had/have with Mia.

And if all that turns out to be bullshit, at least you won't be surprised by it this time. The "holy-shit-what-do-we-do-now" stomach ache that we had with our first was half of the stress we had. Now when our 2nd freaks out, we address it calmly knowing he's "just doing the 2-year-old freak-out thing". It's a relief.

Posted by: Brad at November 15, 2007 11:53 AM

Calm down dude. You're an awesome dad to Mia, and you'll be an awesome dad to a second kid as well. Probably a tired awesome dad, but still a great one. And who knows? Maybe you'll luck out and this kid will be a good sleeper.

Posted by: bad penguin at November 15, 2007 11:57 AM

Relax... you'll find a rhythm around the second month after he's born. It is a little crazy at first, but more than likely, you'll be handling Mia the first two months as Beth gets the whole BFing thing down, what with the midnight feedings and all. We went man on man for a while there, until things settled, and we returned to zone defense. Forrest said he rather enjoyed the extra time he got with Shepherd, since there wasn't much he could do for Colette (unless God decided overnight for Forrest to grow some mams to feed the baby, which didn't happen, much to my chagrin). It will be okay, but in your family's own unique way.

Posted by: Corinne at November 15, 2007 12:30 PM

I know nothing of this parenting lark but you seem to have done fine with Mia and you'll be fine with the next one. I bet sometimes you'll even have a little 2 year old helper with the new one (until she decides to go and do something else for a while).

Posted by: Katherine at November 15, 2007 12:54 PM

Yes, you've done it before, but I'm not gonna lie. Every kid is different. Not necessarily boys from girls...but Kids. Are. Different. People with only one kid have nothing else to compare it to. You're going to be more smoothed out with this second one than you know. Mia will be difficult in some areas where your son won't be...and--of course--the other way around. You just aren't going to panic as much when something unexpected happens, because if it happened with Mia you'll always get this little sense of deja vu with your son when it happens again. And when it's something totally different you'll see that too.

Trust're going to be fine.

Posted by: wordgirl at November 15, 2007 12:56 PM

Yes, you've done it before, but I'm not gonna lie. Every kid is different. Not necessarily boys from girls...but Kids. Are. Different. People with only one kid have nothing else to compare it to. You're going to be more smoothed out with this second one than you know. Mia will be difficult in some areas where your son won't be...and--of course--the other way around. You just aren't going to panic as much when something unexpected happens, because if it happened with Mia you'll always get this little sense of deja vu with your son when it happens again. And when it's something totally different you'll see that too.

Trust're going to be fine.

Posted by: wordgirl at November 15, 2007 12:57 PM

If you weren't worried, there would be someting wrong with you.

I have faith in you. Hang in there.

Posted by: Susan at November 15, 2007 2:54 PM

Nope. Your screwed. We're in the exact same boat and feeling EXACTLY the same way! New baby due in a month and DD will be 3 in a month. We're screwed I tell ya....SCREWED!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: cj at November 15, 2007 3:23 PM

did you know/realize, that you and Dutch/Joe at Sweet-Juniper pretty much have the same post going today?

theme: toddler who won't sleep causing anxiety over being dad of 2.

Posted by: Lisa at November 15, 2007 4:35 PM

Tips to surviving parenthood:
#1 Expect the worst.
#2 Hope that your vision of the worst pretty much as bad as it could possibly be.
#3 Realize that there are worst things that could happen that you never even thought of.
#3 Be grateful that it wasn't as bad as you imagined it could be.

Posted by: Amy at November 15, 2007 4:40 PM

If I can do it you can do it. Calm down dude, you'll do just fine!!

Posted by: chantel at November 15, 2007 5:25 PM

You never get more than you can handle! The second time is far more enjoyable because you are now a Pro!!

Posted by: Steff at November 15, 2007 7:22 PM

Okay so - I haven't done this before, but I babysit for a 3 year old and 5 month old, and I see them so often, I might as well just start paying rent to stay in their 4th bedroom.

I see the frustration that both parents wear and the fatigue. But look at it this way: Beth's home all day and you work normal hours. Both of these guys are cops. He's still in school AND he works the 11 pm to 3 am shift (without choice). He'll get home at 4 and then be up again at 7 every day for a week.

So on the bright side - someone's worse off than you!

That probably didn't help...did it?

Posted by: Emily at November 15, 2007 7:32 PM

If it really were all that bad, people wouldn't have three or more kids.

I'm just sayin'.

Some day you'll look back on this post and chuckle!

Posted by: samantha Jo Campen at November 15, 2007 8:24 PM

Honestly, calm down. It works out. Of course I say this with no first-hand knowledge myself, but there are a gazillion multi-child families and somehow it all comes together and makes for even more love and all the good stuff.

Posted by: Melissa at November 15, 2007 10:02 PM

I hear two kids are much harder than one, but waaaaay worth it. :D

Freak out now, but know you'll make it through.

Posted by: Poppy at November 15, 2007 10:23 PM

Not only will I say "dude calm down, you've done this before", but I'll add to it, "dude, you're not alone." My wife's due to have our second child in about a month's time, and as of late, our two year old boy has gone full-on Rebel Alliance against the whole sleep thing, including both daytime naps and going night-night. I don't know what the connection is, if he senses the change or what, but the thought of two anti-sleep kids under the same roof has me a bit wigged. But we'll all get through it, and hopefully it will make for some good blog fodder. Take care man.

Posted by: Holmes at November 16, 2007 12:05 AM

Mia may have a food intolerance. Hubby's brother screamed in the night as a wee little guy and they traced it back to ketchup. And the time is definitely divided somewhat between 2, but the love grows exponentially. And everyone in the world except for me seems to have been able to make the 2nd one sleep through the night practically the night before they were born, so the odds are in your favor on that one. I mean, you won't have sex anymore, but who needs that, right?

Posted by: Amy at November 16, 2007 12:54 AM

I forgot to write "calm awesome dude dad" in my post so I was feeling left out. That's how Mia will feel all the time because firstborns are crazy like that (even when they're not left out) and the second one really won't until he's much older because he won't know any difference.

Posted by: Amy at November 16, 2007 1:01 AM

All of those feelings are totally rational. and it is not Mia that you will have to worry about. Well maybe in the beginning, but when numero 2 hits 2 i guarantee Mia will be slightly annoyed herself. I only say this because Emily (age 4.5)is so FED up with Cal (age 29 mo) right now. Little brothers are so annoying, or so I have heard.

Posted by: at November 16, 2007 1:53 AM

You know, number 2 kinda just falls into place. Being the second, this little person starts life out knowing he's #2...and with his title, he gets constant entertainment from number one which makes him an easier's not all up to mama and papa anymore. Every kid is different, and having a baby will mean changes for everyone. There are going to be diapers and spit-ups and extra laundry...but there's going to be another entire person to love and give love, to bring you even more of those weekly best moments, esp when you see your daughter and son sharing special sibling moments. Those moments with my boys are what I live for. Watching them together, knowing that it was ME that gave them this special person in their life whom they will ALWAYS have and can ALWAYS count on, forever. One more kid is really and truly going to make your family complete. It won't be just a couple with a child, but a real and true family...and your little boy is the one who will complete the picture...and I can say that, because I live it every day, and I know.

Posted by: Tera at November 16, 2007 8:08 AM

I'm sure you'll feel much better about the thing after a good long nap.

Posted by: angela at November 16, 2007 9:51 PM

I don't know how the statistics stack up, but I do know that everybody I know who had a relatively high-maintenance first child (teething, sleeping, eating, etc) has a totally easy second child. So your son will probably be sleeping through the night in his own bed at 3 weeks, only cry when he's hungry, and be the most laid back kid you've ever met.
And if not...calm down dude, you've done this before ;-)

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