Archive for January 12, 2009

The Daysleepers

Scene of the crime

Scene of the crime

This photo isn’t quite properly staged. Against that brown cushion, whose type I’ve always for some strange reason called “a husband,” you’ll need to imagine, in fact, a husband, replete with boppy pillow and third woozy boy. After night two on our own, we are gradually settling into something of a routine, and it goes like this: we get to bed some time before 11; I get up at 11:15 and do that feeding by myself. The feeding deserves, I think, a paragraph (or several) of its own.

So, it’s waking up the two behemoths, one by one, changing their diapers, warming their bottles, and keeping them sane with all powerful, soul saving, life affirming binkies, until I’m ready to plunk down between them. The arrangement is Pablo on the left, Levi on the right, strapped in (or not strapped in) to bouncy seats (there was a time when I did not know the difference between “boppy” seats and “bouncy” seats, but that time has passed) – me leaning back against the husband (or – as someone else close to me calls it, quite delightfully, “a Jewish sofa”) bottling boys beatifically. [note that the above photo was taken later than this moment, after brother #1 had already displaced Pablito in the orange bouncy.]

Occasional, soft whimpers come from Satch, whose lot in life as the gentlest, least aggressive and most patient of the brothers it may be to always get the second seating. So it’s the gentle tug of resistance, the stealth manipulations of the 4 oz. Dr. Brown’s specials, until at some point I see fit to burp the small groggy men. I lift up Pablo, cup his chin between my thumb and first finger, pat his back, or rub in swirls, or do a long, slow pinwheel with the boy (a trick I learned from Joyce, one of our NICU nurses), until a series of disproportionate belches are shaken loose. This action generally takes place directly above Levi, who sits transfixed, helpless to defend himself against any liquids propulsively ejected by his rounder sibling. Then, Levi himself is subjected to the same treatment, and Pablo must cool his heels. This is no small task for the triplet I’ve come to refer to as Tiny; he wears his feelings on his sleeve, and these mid-feeding enforced siestas can result in a wave of convulsions, tremors of whiny, desperate greed for his mother’s milk and its imperfect delivery man.

After all excess air has been satisfactorily rattled loose from the tots, bottle feeding continues as before, sometimes with greater, and sometimes with lesser intensity, until the kegs are kicked or the clients pass out in a stupor of drunken floppiness. If they actually sleep, the next part is easy, but often the binkies must be redeployed. Then I sneak away from what I think Alex once called a “man pillow,” to get the patiently whinnying Satchmo, deswaddle, clean up, change, grab bottle, and return to my perch, now equipped w/ a boppy (not pictured), on which to delicately position his Smallness. This part is easy(ish). Satch has become an amazingly quiet, efficient and quick drinker. He seems to sleep through his feedings, but I think he’s just composing free verse in his head. He sucks down no air and is stingy with his belches. A bottle – which for him is still set at only 80cc (while Levi gets 100 and Pabs 110) – always seems just right, and when it is removed he makes a few final kisses at the air with a one-handed Italianate pinching gesture, as if signaling a gourmet’s exaltation at a perfect repast, and then floats without resistance into sleep. At this point, ideally, all three boys are ready for bed – but often Levi is working through some reflux, or one or two of the three have made audibly clear that though their diapers have all been replaced before a drop was sucked, a repeat refresher is indicated.

The test with this ritual is whether or not the screams, at any given moment, are enough to draw Alex from her slumber into the fray. Last night, I successfully managed it. Then at 2:30, I stayed put and Alex went off and had some similar adventures of her own – though she is far better equipped to feed the boys with efficiency than I. At 5:30, I did the honors and let her sleep – and then ran out to get the Vanimal which was parked in some distant spot to comply with a citywide  snow parking ban. My plan was to sleep through the 8:30, but then I went and wrote this post, and now I hear rumblings from the nursery and I can’t quite see fit to shirk out of this one. I think I’ll just diaper up a couple of dapper young fellows and bring them into mama as a surprise – there is no better morning treat, after all. Then, I’ll see fit to make some sense of the title of this post after all.


January 12, 2009 at 8:20 am 3 comments

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