Like Taking Your Car to the Mechanic

This morning, I took Katie to open office hours at the pediatrician. That’s probably not what you call it. But to be honest, I haven’t had much sleep lately, so I’m too tired to look up the real name for the walk-in hours for sick kids.

I didn’t really think she was sick. I was just at my wit’s end. OK, I thought there was a chance that she had an ear infection. But I was pretty sure her symptoms — chewing her fist, crying, drooling, rubbing her nose and face — were signs of early teething. But I wanted to be sure.

Also, after sleeping through the night for months, she’s been getting up every four hours, ravenously hungry, so I thought maybe they’d let me put some rice cereal in her milk for her last feeding of the day, to keep her full longer.

Well, the good news is that she doesn’t have an ear infection. The bad news is that:

  • They don’t recommend giving rice cereal anymore, because it apparently has arsenic in it.
  • They don’t recommend giving any cereal before six months … five weeks from now.
  • The solution to her being hungry every four hours is to feed her every four hours.
  • We’ve been giving her Tylenol. We have to stop doing that. It’s okay, but only sparingly. We can use cold teething rings and frozen washcloths instead. Katie licked her teething ring when I offered it and looked at me like, “Come on, cough up the drugs.” It’s possible that I’m projecting.

She also cooed and giggled at the doctor like she didn’t have a care in the world. Fortunately, our lovely pediatrician assured me that this happens all the time — like when you bring your car to the mechanic and it won’t make that weird noise.

The other problem is that I am absolutely shattered with exhaustion. I got a two-hour nap yesterday, but otherwise, I’ve been running on four hours of broken sleep a night for weeks.

Why am I so tired? Well, because the miracle of science has shown that everything parents used to do to make parenting bearable — Tylenol, rice cereal, cosleeping, crying it out, etc. — is potentially dangerous. The only right answer is to get up every four hours and feed your baby and then sit up all night wide awake when she’ll only sleep on you.

Be sure you look your baby lovingly in the eye and engage with them positively once they awake, refreshed, in your weary, tendonitis-raddled arms. They can sense your negativity. And put down your phone, you whore. You’re probably irradiating your precious child.

Yesterday, I informed my husband calmly and coolly that the problem is that babies are giant jerks. Don’t get me wrong: I love ours. She’s amazing and beautiful and so sweet and my favorite person. But also I feel like she could be just a little more mature about all of this.

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