Monday, February 20, 2012
Once her tummy is satisfied (generally after a 4 oz. feed), we move on with our routine as I explain everything that is happening as we go along. "Now, I am going to set you down on your changing table and take you out of the clothes that you wore today. . .What pretty little legs you have. I can see that you are tired by the way that you are wiggling them. . .Before we go to the kitchen for your warm bath, I need to change your messy diaper. I know you don't like it much, but it needs to be done. So, I will keep my free hand on your tummy while I wrap you up in a clean diaper as quickly as I can."
Having had my wife fill up the sink basin with warm water beforehand, the naky baby express moves out there, and my wife and I bathe Harper together. This has become a nice bonding experience for the three of us as we watch and laugh as Harper responds her "my-size-hot tub" by flapping her arms and legs, eyes as round as gumballs. The conversation continues here as we let Harper know what is happening and even ask her how it feels.
From her bath we return to the changing table to dress her for bed while the blanket that we will swaddle her in warms up in the drier. At this point, she is definitely telling us that she wants to call it a day and hit the sack, which we expect and listen attentively to.
With a freshly-warmed blanket and a baby to swaddle, we complete our routine before going to sleep ourselves. I like to spend a little extra time next to Harper's crib before she goes to bed, shhhhhh-ing in her ear, offerring her a pacifier, and reassuring her that after I leave the nursery I will still be able to hear her if she needs me. After a kiss and an "I love you" I walk out of her room, Harper still awake so that she can have the opportunity to learn how to fall asleep by herself.
It is here that pass by my rockingchair too, unused after the sun has gone down. While there might be rocking during the daytime while her momma holds her or I read her a story, there is much more bonding and learning at bedtime as we go through the predictable steps of our routine. There is nothing as heartwarming as the sight of a slumbering baby, which is what I imagined holding as I wished for my rocker. But there is nothing as reassuring, as a new father, as knowing that getting to that sleeping child will be as E.A.S.Y. as it was the night before that and the night before that.