When I'm staring at your happy, alert baby, it's 10 pm, and all I want to do is be in bed 30 minutes before, that's when I feel old.
Following two successful nights with Ben and Rex in one bedroom, all heck broke loose last night, by our definition. Lynn and I are both a bit tired, still catching up from, well, the last six months, even as routine settles in. Last night, Rex ate his first solid food (see photo), went down with little grumbling at about 6.45 pm, and we thought all was well. But before we'd even brought Ben into the bedroom an hour later, Rex erupted. Lynn brought Ben in and got him into his bed, and then tried to nurse Rex so he'd fall back asleep. No go.
Lots of bouncing, nursing, switching Rex back to our, darker room (Ben was upset about losing Rex for the night), and so on, and no go. Awake baby. So we brought Rex back out to the living room, and he was very calm, and still, but just wired alert. This time, pretty sure caffeine wasn't the culprit; just brain development. Ben would get the same look on his face, like a whole bank of neurons just made their connections, and electricity was flowing through at excessively high current.
Lynn was exhausted and I seemed to have nominally more energy, so I volunteered (put that done in the Things Husbands Do For Brownie Points and Because They Love Their Wife/Children column) to get a bottle ready, and stay up with him for a while until we figured out what to do next.
Rex didn't last long. He seemed to fade pretty soon after Lynn went to bed, so I wrapped him up (he's still being swaddled, but likely not for much longer--that's another adjustment), made the room mostly dark, gave him the bottle in which he expressed nominal interest, and tried to figure out what to do next.
With Ben, I would spend hours overnight in the early months rocking him. Rex has never gone for that. In the interests of trying something new, I hoisted Rex onto my shoulder in the rocking chair, started shushing--"shuhhhhhh...shuhhhhh...shuhhhh"--and rocking, and tapped him lightly on the back, something we know makes him go quiet and sleepy.
Within a few moments, he seemed to get into it. His head lolled onto my shoulder, and then rhythmic breathing followed. I had no clock, no watch, and my arms were going numb. Still, it was one of those precious moments that'll never come again, and so it was pretty sweet despite what I'd rather have been doing.
I rocked for an incalculable time, which later turned out to be about 30 minutes, and after a few test moves, got him up, into the bedroom, and down, where he slept from 11 pm to nearly 6 am, which is past his normal wake up (you can set the clock by him at 5.30 am these days). Lynn managed to sleep from about 10.15 to 6.15, which is a full night's sleep, despite our worries, and I picked up an extra hour in the morning after handing him off to her.
I know we're pretty blessed to have a baby that sleeps this well. That's what throws us off. We have friends whose babies are all over the place at night, but mostly easier during the day, including being more adaptable about sleeping anywhere. We have always had real trouble with Ben and now Rex in terms of them only sleeping in their cribs or beds, and that means we basically can't travel much or have an unusual day without lots of crankiness or just outright screaming. So we like the nights, but we miss the daytime flexibility.
If Rex was uneven at night, we'd have developed some coping mechanisms, and arranged things differently. But since he's so solid most nights, we're at a loss when something weird happens.