A few days ago, I wrote – but didn’t get around to editing and posting – the following:
When we first brought Nyan home from the hospital just four weeks ago, he was calm and content. We marveled at our good fortune , because he just didn’t cry much at all. When he was hungry or had a dirty diaper, sure. But that was about it. I remember remarking to Beatrice that this could change, based on what I had read. Of course I hoped I was wrong.
Call it colic, call it fussiness, or just call it what it is: crying. Maybe in those first few days, Nyan just hadn’t yet learned how to cry. Well, he’s a smart kid and a quick learner, ‘cause he’s a crying machine these days.
I guess it really started about a week ago, or maybe last Saturday: Beatrice was out running some errands and was gone for a couple of hours. And Nyan cried pretty much the entire time. On and off, but more on than off. And every day since then – usually during the afternoons and early evenings – it’s been the same thing. We run through the checklists – hungry? Cold? Hot? Dirty diaper? Gas? Does he just need to fart on daddy’s arm? – but more often than not, there’s no discernable reason. He’s just crying.
We try various techniques. We rock him. We hold him tightly as we walk in a figure-8 around the bedroom. Sing to him. Caress him. Talk to him. Put him on the bed. Put him in his little travel crib. Whatever we can think of. But more often than not, it seems, nothing works.
It went on from there – more venting than anything, I suppose, but also a bit of a plea for assistance or ideas.
But nevermind: things are much better the past few days. Not sure why; I’m chalking it up to what I expected all along, which is that, in these early days, as soon as we get used to some pattern of Nyan’s behavior, it changes.
He still fusses and cries, but not nearly as bad. Maybe we’ve just learned how to soothe him better. We’re also keeping to the routine better, which surely helps; a key bit of the routine is bathtime, every day around 5:30. He still gets a bit wide-eyed when we first put him in the tub, but he quickly mellows out and really seems to enjoy as we scrub him gently and pour warm water all over his body. When he comes out and we wrap him tightly in a towel, he looks extremely content, and then it’s right into his pajamas and down for some sleep. The past couple days, at least, he’s slept pretty solidly through the evening. And he’s always been a pretty solid sleeper at night, aside from waking up every two or three hours for some food. But once he’s got a full belly, it’s usually right back to sleep for everyone.
Yesterday evening, he went down for the count around 7pm and hardly stirred after that. I think he was just exhausted, as it was an usual day: I was off from work, and Beatrice had to go get a wisdom tooth taken out in the morning. So Nyan and I hung out all morning and into the afternoon, and then we all hung out for a bit in the mid-afternoon until Beatrice went down for a nap. Nyan, though, was fussing up a storm in the afternoon; I spent a good 90 minutes rocking him and trying to soothe him, finally getting him to take a couple of quick cat naps with me until bathtime. But besides that, he was awake pretty much the entire day, despite our best efforts to get him to nap earlier, so he slept all evening long. Works for us.
Beatrice and I are pretty logical, so when Nyan is fussing and crying for no reason, it vexes us. Mainly because we hate to see our baby in distress, but also because it’s a riddle that we just can’t solve. What we’ve pretty much settled on is that, when he’s crying for no apparent reason, he just wants to be close to us. So, usually – though not always – some hugs or cuddles will do the trick. It keeps us from taking care of many chores or whatnot, but so be it. (Once he gets just a touch bigger and can comfortably fit in the baby sling and/or the Baby Bjorn, perhaps it’ll be better: he can be close to us as we move about the house or the neighborhood, doing our thing. We’ll see about that.)