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A Tale of Two Simons

Last Friday Simon and I had a fantastic day together. He fed well and slept well. He was happy. I read some books to him. We went out for a walk and enjoyed cool autumn weather. I sang silly songs to him and we danced around the house. He visited his Zadie and Nana. It was lovely. I felt positively beatific in my motherhood and could not wait to blog about my transcendent joy. Clearly, we were a superior sort of son/mother team, the type featured in the sweet children’s books I’ve been reading to him.

Then all hell broke loose. To put it succinctly, Simon started crying Saturday afternoon and has been terribly fussy ever since. After each meal he takes an hour or more to calm down — if he calms down at all. And that’s a big if. The crying is usually preceded or punctuated by spitting up. No small drool this spit up, either. Yesterday, after a single feeding, Simon managed to soak through one pre-fold diaper, a onesie, a footed sleeper, and three (3) bibs. It was beginning to look like the Exorcist over here on Cowling Avenue.

Meanwhile, the crying was ferocious and relentless. The poor guy was obviously in pain much of the time. Other times I thought he might just be worked up and hysterical. I’m learning fast that it’s hard to be a baby. Nothing is truly ready for the outside world yet. His digestive system is immature. His nervous system is immature. They really need a few more months before they can handle the world they are thrust into.

Unfortunately for all of us, I am not always calm and beatific when Simon is shrieking. For every moment that I think “Poor Simon” and worry about him, hold him, swaddle him, rock with him, clean him up, etc. there is another moment when I’m at my wit’s end and fighting the irrational urge to be angry at him for screaming at me for several hours. Doesn’t he understand how sleep deprived I am? Doesn’t he realize I need a break to eat something myself? Can’t he just let me read the paper and crank out my thank-you notes?

Stubborn though I am, I know when I am beaten. So Monday I consulted with the pediatrician and started Simon on Mylanta for the reflux. Yesterday I had a lactation consultant come over to the house to see what I could change and improve upon on that end, too.

I’ve now got a schedule for the Mylanta dosing, and I’ve got a new schedule and new techniques for feeding Simon. The goal is to feed him smaller amounts more frequently, as it appears that regular overeating is contributing to his misery. (Matt and I both overeat ourselves into tummy aches, too, but at 36 there’s much less crying about it….) If things aren’t better by next week, I’ll reconsult my pediatrician and we’ll discuss other medical approaches to the reflux.

In the meantime, tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Last year at this time, I was just beginning to think about starting a family. Now, a year later, I am certainly thankful to have a healthy, 9 1/2 pound infant and access to all kinds of support. With a little luck, I’m hoping by tomorrow to also be thankful for a more comfortable, happy baby.

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