Today was not a good day.
Today was the day my full-time “job” started … my title: Stay-at-Home Dad to Sienna Giselle Jaffe. As w/ most start dates, the night before was nightmarish. I lost it right before going to bed and Elaine [my wife] had to calm me down. Then, I couldn’t fall asleep until after 4:30 am. By the time Sienna awoke me at around 8, Elaine had left for work and I was already in a daze. I fed and changed Sienna and put her back in her crib, took a shower because the building was planning on turning the water off from 10 am-3 pm, and crawled back into bed hoping to fall back asleep. Side note: Elaine always says she’s going to “take Sienna a bath.” I’ve never heard this expression. It’s always been GIVE a bath, right? Am I nuts that I’ve never heard this or is this a common phrase? Opinions and experiences are most welcome.
Anyway, I fell asleep for a bit but was awakened by a phone call from my friend…she hung up because I was half-asleep but called me later to tell me she wasn’t able to come visit today. It’s probably a good thing. I didn’t get to sleep that much, though. Maybe an hour. I fed and changed Sienna again around 11 and then let her play on her safari mat which she enjoys immensely. The girl LOVES to kick when she’s happy or excited and she kicks like mad whenever on the mat forcing this hanging thing to make this crackling sound. After awhile I decided to give her some tummy-time. She’s really doing well at holding her head up. Most impressive. Then, I picked her up and sat w/ her on the couch. She was perfect…until she started whimpering and then crying and then bawling and then screaming. This went on for about 2 hours as I tried everything I could think of to help. I rocked w/ her in a chair. Nothing. I placed her in her swing. Nothing. Pacifier? No thanks. Holding her? Get the the hell away from me. Rocking her in my arms? Uh-uh. Change of temperature (aka AC on)? Cold shoulder. Burping? Burp this! Singing? Talking? I can’t hear you over my SCREAMING! Rolling in her stroller? Not interested in rockin’ and rollin’…only interested in shrill heavy metal-style shrieking! More food? Stick your bottle where the sun don’t shine.
I asked for help and received much advice from my friends across the ‘net, but nothing was working. Sienna’s rarely like this. I have no idea why it happened. It’s the last thing I needed on my first day on the job that terrified me and had my nerves in tatters…or so I thought. Finally, I took the Hootie & the Blowfish approach and just let her cry. Eventually, as I lay on the couch w/ my legs up and Sienna resting on my knees, the screams just stopped and Sienna passed out. And the next thing I knew was a *thud* and screaming again. Seems, I’d passed out too and Sienna had slipped off me. I felt sick.
I grabbed her up and started apologizing. The tears were flowing from both of us. At this moment my mom texted me (I guess she’d tried phoning, but I didn’t pick up) and I told her what happened. I went to fix Sienna a bottle. My mom must have written back that she was coming right over because shortly thereafter there my doorbell rang. I started crying pretty much right after I opened the door. I was sick w/ guilt and shame and fear. I was becoming unglued. Side note: as my mom fed Sienna, I got a call from Elaine’s sister, Mimi. This was shocking to me because as Elaine has said, Borja women don’t do stuff like that. She had called to check up on me and to see how Sienna was doing. I told Mimi what happened and she comforted me, told me she loved me and Sienna and sent big hugs through the phone. She told me I’m a great father and this is NOT a reflection on me as a dad. Thank you so much, Mimi.
Unfortunately, I was too shaken to let this sink in. I kept staring at the computer while my mom took care of Sienna who then got hiccups. Do all babies get hiccups as much as my daughter? She hiccups at least 2-3 times a day whether or not she’s just eaten. And she hates it! My mom kept trying to talk to me, but I couldn’t really face her or look at Sienna. I stayed engrossed in the computer. At the end of the night I apologized to my mom for that and I apologize again…it was the only way for me to keep any sense of composure otherwise I would have completely gone off the rails. My mom kept telling me I don’t have to be a martyr and that she’s here to help…the same things Elaine told me last night…we have people here to help. I learned my lesson, I hope.
My mom took Sienna and I out for pizza (Sienna had nothing, I had a salad and a couple of grandma slices…that doesn’t sound right). Sienna was all calm by this time, but I still had trouble looking at her. She had smiled for my mom earlier and my mom was giddy about that since it was the first time she’d seen it. Later my dad came over for a bit and he too saw her smile. He was thrilled. And it’s always on the changing mat. She smiles and smiles when she’s on that changing mat. Bizarre. As my mom was leaving, Elaine came home. She hadn’t had a great first day either. She’d learned someone she’d tutored in college had passed away and was a bit rusty at work. So it was a hard day for both of us! Tomorrow, I get a little break as I head into the city for session. My mom will watch Sienna a bit and then Elaine will be home mid-afternoon to take over. Thanks all for your advice and for caring … and, Sienna, no more screams until Halloween, please.