So This is What Hell Sounds Like

Screen Shot 2013-01-29 at 5.03.18 PMToday, from 2:50 p.m. to 3:25 p.m. Dylan Bayer cried. I know, look at that face. It seems impossible, right? Look closer. If you stare long enough that face kind of becomes Jack Nicholson doing his version of the Joker. This crying fit wasn’t funny though, it was just pure evil.

I have to confess something. Until this point, Dylan has never cried for more than 10 minutes straight while I’m on duty. Never. Yes, he’s been fussy on and off for hours, but never has he been continuously crying like the bellow he burst forth today. It was awful. It was nonstop. I tried everything. I held him in every possible position. I did the shushing, rocking, swing, pacifiers, and an extra feeding. Nothing quieted the desperate, near gagging, full throat screams coming out of my son. I even went to the quiet room. It works 99 percent of the time. The vent in the laundry room is so magical at relaxing our boy that we actually recorded it, and use it as the white noise in his room. This was the one percent. He wasn’t having it. It got to the point that I actually took his clothes off and gave him a physical (I didn’t ask him to cough). I check to see if maybe he had an injury, and I spent a few seconds wondering if I’d be happy to find him injured  because that would explain the crying fit that has never occurred before. Nope, he was OK.

A combination of holding, rocking, and shushing finally calmed the beast. Though lets be honset, I think he just wanted to stop, because he went from insane tears to that smile you see in seconds, and I don’t feel like I did anything to deserve it. He’ll be back for more, and I’ll be attempting to solve his problems while weathering the storm.

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The Checklist: Everything You Need to Own to Raise a 0 to 3 Month Old Infant

If you feel like I have missed anything, please leave a comment. Otherwise, for all of you people who are considering parenthood, here is the most efficient list of things you need to own to raise a child.

I’ve even attempted to list this in order of importance. The key factors are cost, how much time it saves you, how much satisfaction it gives you, how much laundry it saves you from doing, and a few things for fun.

The List

  • Diapers. Find whatever makes you happy. It’s safe to say you’ll use an average of 6-10 diapers a day. We finally settled on Pampers Sensitive Swaddlers, mainly because of some diaper rash issues, and this diaper having a mesh-like wicking layer. If you find leakage out the small of the back (aka a blowout), you’re ready for the next size. We were told to make sure the penis points down in the diaper, but it never felt mandatory.
  • Wipes. I feel like their are four types to consider. Standard (Target brand), Deluxe (Earth’s Best), Intelligently Economical (Viva paper towels with warm water), Insanely Deluxe Reusable (BabyKicks Baby Wipes). We ended up with BabyKicks only because of diaper rash issues. Otherwise, we’d be using Viva paper towels.
  • Burp Cloths. You can’t have enough. Seriously, you can’t have enough. The more you have, the less laundry you have to do. Sure, you need one during feedings and burping, but your infant can spit up an hour or two after eating. If you set down your infant, have a burp cloth underneath his head. It saves the bigger things from being cleaned (like blankets, changing tables, and activity gyms).
  • Bottles. He could be using up to 9 bottles a day, depending on your schedule. My wife uses the medela breast pump, with eight medela bottles, and three pump attachments. Most health insurance companies cover breast pumps. We then use tommee tippee bottles to feed with because we noticed less spilling and spitting up (compared to Avent). We have eight tommee tippee bottles. Each feeding is approximately four ounces. It’s all dishwasher safe, but you’ll need a dishwasher basket (we have two). Almost everything will still be wet once done in the dishwasher, even if you dried. This drying rack works great — Boon Winter Grass Countertop Drying Rack. At times, it definitely feels easier to hand wash everything.

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  • Bibs. You can’t have enough. The more you have, the less laundry. We love green sprouts 10 Pack Waterproof Absorbent Terry Bibs. Whenever your infant has a bottle, they need a bib. Also, there is a “correct” bib, and it is a velcro attachment. Having a snap in the back will add to seconds of frustration. Yes, seconds. Trust me, not worth it.
  • Clothes. Six onesie pajamas with footies and mittens (paws). Yup, that’s about it. Zippers are easier than snaps, but harder to find. Six is the correct number because the most you’ll go through in a given day would be three (we went through five once). There’s a chance it will only be one per day. This clothing tip is the most important piece of advice I can give. Keep in mind, my son was born in October, so this is many if you are dealing with an infant in the fall, winter and spring. You don’t need short sleeves. You don’t need separate pants. You don’t need socks. That is just more work. If someone buys you theses things, graciously accept them, then return them. You will receive so many clothes you will never put on your child. Also, if you pay full price for onesie pajamas with footies and mittens, you’re doing it wrong. Every place that sells baby clothes has a clearance rake. Make that your best friend. Also, stretch the clothes after you dry them, and your kid will be able to wear them for an extra month.
  • Clothes. Four nightgowns. This is what he’ll sleep in every night. It makes changing diapers easier. We found one nightgown that had snaps. It is the winner. Our boy doesn’t love getting the nightgown pulled down over his head. The snaps prevents that from happening.
  • Blankets. Thin blankets, thick blankets, small blankets, big blankets. You’ll use this to keep him warm, carry him, protect him from rain or snow, and to set him down on the floor. You’ll also need them for swaddling. Swaddling will be frustrating. You’ll wrap him up like a burrito (but tighter) every time he naps and he’ll get out. Save yourself tons of time and energy and buy the next thing.
  • Clothes. Four Summer Infant SwaddleMe wraps. It’s kind of like a straight jacket. Your kid will sleep in this EVERY SINGLE TIME he naps or sleeps. He’s still escape on occasion, but not as much as the blankets. If you think, “My infant doesn’t like to be swaddled.” My first response would be, “You’re probably doing it wrong.” The SwaddleMe takes the “wrong” out of the equation.
  • Hand cleaner. One bottle for every floor in your house. Avagard D (Instant Hand Antiseptic with Moisturizers). Especially in the winter months, you’ll need something with moisturizer.
  • Waterproof pads. He may need bare butt time (because of a diaper rash). Also, we have a waterproof pad in-between the sheet on his crib, and the rubber mattress protector (again, less laundry). Speaking of “bare butt” time, we used old t-shirts during this stretch.
  • Diaper rash cream. Use it every time you change a diaper, no matter if your infant has a rash or not. CLICK HERE for more info on diaper rashes from the hell we went through.
  • Diaper Pail. We picked the Munchkin Arm and Hammer Diaper Pail. So far, his room doesn’t stink.
  • Pacifiers. You don’t know which kind your infant will love more. Get a variety. Our son still hasn’t totally figured out how to keep them in his mouth. Also get three pacifier clips. One should definitely be attached to the car seat.

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  • Pee-pee Teepees. You don’t have to have the Pee-pee Teepees, but you need to protect yourself and your boy. So, when you change a diaper, make it your priority to not get pee or poop on you, him, the changing table, the walls… Use the new diaper, paper towels, wipes, whatever you can. Cleaning a three-foot radius of liquid poop out of your carpet is not how you want to spend your time.
  • Changing table. Just make sure you have easy access to the diapers, diaper cream, and wipes. If not, add a shelf.
  • Laundry basket. Keep it in throwing distance from the changing table and the crib.
  • Laundry detergent. There is baby detergents. We use “Free and Clear” All.
  • Crib, Co-Sleeper, Pack ‘N Play. We have one of each, though after three weeks, we really just used his crib. The Co-Sleeper is good if you can sleep with your infant trying to sleep next to you. Any noise he made, and we were up. Period. He didn’t need that much attention, and we needed our sleep.
  • Swing. The swing is very necessary. It allows you to cook, eat, clean, work and all of the things you don’t want to do, but have to get done. Use the highest/fastest setting. It truly is your first babysitter, and no, I’m not leaving him unattended. You’ll get 20-minute breaks with this.
  • BabyBjorn Baby Bouncer. Almost as good as the swing. Worth the expensive price tag. Use your foot to slightly rock him, work on your computer at the same time. You’ll get 20-minute breaks with this.
  • Activity Gym. With the swing, BabyBjorn bouncer, and activity gym you will have plenty of time to get the little things done in life, play with your infant, and have your baby actually be entertained.
  • Car seat. One car seat, two bases (one for each car). We went with the Chicco Keyfit 30 because of the safety ratings. Start working out now, it’s heavy (they all are) and it’s an awkward carry.
  • Stroller. The Bumbleride Indie is what we went with. It folds easily, and you can jog with it in the future.
  • Stroller attachment for car seat. So far, my son has only been in the stroller if he is in his car seat.
  • Clothes. One “coat.” It’s actually a heavy onesie that covers his hands, feet, and head for when we walk in the stroller.
  • Diaper bag. The best diaper bag that doesn’t look like a diaper bag is the Stork Diaper Messenger from Timbuk2. I highly recommend.
  • Nail clippers and nail file. Otherwise your infant will cut … mainly his face.
  • Baby nasal aspirator. Luckily, we haven’t had to use it often, but the Nosefrida Snot Sucker is great.
  • Books. Yes, you’re reading to your child, and showing him the pictures. I rotate through about five books, with “Trains Go” being my favorite.
  • Parenting book. “Baby 411” is perhaps the only one you’ll need. If not, it will recommend other books for you.
  • Vitamin D drops. We just put in a drop with this first bottle of the day (only for exclusively breastfed babies).
  • Baby lotion. I love California Baby French Lavender Everyday Lotion a little too much.
  • Baby bath. We set the routine of doing one a day, just before the long sleep. California Baby Shampoo and Body Wash feels like it will last us forever.
  • Baby washcloths. For a bath, we use two every time. If you don’t do the daily bath routine, you’ll use the washcloths to clean his face and butt once a day with a mild soap.
  • Cotton squares. Dampen with water and use to clean around his eyes.
  • Flashcards (Art Cards for Baby). Get some black and white pictures. He’ll eventually focus on them, and you’ll think it’s amazing.
  • Baby carrier. I wrote about the Ergobaby and Baby K’tan. Honestly I don’t use the carrier in a typical week. Early on in the first three months, you’ll put your infant in a carrier to get things done (frees your hands, keeps him close). I know I’ll use the carriers more going forward, especially when my infant has full control over his neck. Right now, I feel the car seat/stroller is easier.
  • Toys. One ball, one stuffed animal (both infant safe). Yeah, that’s enough.
  • Baby monitors. We bought it. We don’t use it. Unless you live in a mansion, you can hear your kid cry from anywhere in the house. Trust me.

That’s it. That’s the list. What did I forget?

My Boy is 3 Months Old

Dylan Bayer turns three months old today. It feels like he’s been in my life for two years. That is a compliment and insult. Now that he’s officially out of the “infant” stage and properly just a plain old “baby,” the training begins …

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The Rooster is Alone in the Hen House with the Baby Chick

Yes, that title was code. I hope you were able to decipher it.

It’s official. I’m home alone. Well, I’m alone if you don’t count Dylan. We should probably count Dylan. I suppose that’s kind of the point.

We had Dylan October 27. Lisa’s sister was here. Her parents were here. My parents showed up. Lisa went back to work. My parents left. OK, you’re all caught up.

Now I am attempting to raise Dylan, and work a couple of part-time (pretty flexible) jobs.

Don’t worry, I made a schedule and put it on the wall. Here it is. We’re still on an approximate three-hour rotation of eat-play-sleep, repeat.

The Life of Jeff

Morning
work
Vitamin D drop in first bottle
play with Dylan
Dylan nap (work)
swing time (work)
read to Dylan
tummy time

Midday during Dylan’s nap
Lunch
Laundry
Dishwasher

Afternoon
walk
exercise
website
check schedule
write 1/2 page of something
Dylan nap (work)
tummy time
pack-n-play time (work)
flash cards for Dylan
errands
groceries?
dinner?

Evening
Lisa
work
movie*
write
bath @8
read Dylan book

*luckily, most advanced screenings are at 7 p.m. in Portland so I am able to continue being a film critic

So This Just Happened …

Today I started heating up the bottle on the stove instead of just running it under hot water. I took the bottle out of the water in the pot, and noticed it was a little warmer than usual (but not hot by any means). It still had a lid on (yes, we have fancy “tommee tippee” bottles). The lid popped off easily and a little milk shot out. I dabbed some on my wrist (like they do in the movies) and put a little more on than usual. “Not too hot,” I thought to myself. Then, I stuck my wrist in my mouth, and sucked up the milk [insert record scratching noise here].

No, I wasn’t thinking. Well, I was “kind of” thinking. I remember some sort of, “I should double check” thought going through my head, while bringing my wife’s breast milk to my mouth.

Yes, I immediately spit everything in my mouth out.

I didn’t get a good taste, and hopefully this is the closest I will come to ever finding out what it does actually taste like.