May 16, 2011

Temper Time

Tempers are short in the Rhodes household as of late. I should amend that statement, because the toddler and infant seem to be in fair spirits. Rather, tempers are short between my wife and me. Honestly, the slightest of slights can set us off.

Such is the price we pay for severely limited access to sleep and the silver-winged dreams granted to those enjoying REM land. Souls without access to REM land are a surly lot who are best to be avoided.

Currently, my wife and I are best to be avoided.

Even with one child, sleep is a precious commodity on par with gold or platinum. With a fresh infant now on board the good ship Rhodes, sleep has become an even more unfamiliar territory.

The problem lies primarily with our daughter's stubborn insistence that she only has to drink a maximum of 15 mL per feeding. When she was in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), nurses hooked her up to an automatic syringe that injected 50 mL through her nose and into her stomach, after which Zoey was good for two to three hours until the next feeding.

Once the nose tube was removed and she actually had to work come feeding time, Zoey took a sort of "Meh" approach to the whole idea. It makes sense, after all; if I'd lived most of my life with my stomach magically filling up every three hours, I'd consider it rather annoying to have to suddenly learn how to pick up a fork and ingest food manually. Come to think of it, a nasal feeding tube sounds kind of good right about now.

Anyway, if you do the math, Zoey's milk intake is a little over 1/4 of what she should be taking in per feeding, which similarly impacts her sleep schedule because, even though she's content with 15 mL feedings, her stomach has other ideas and insists on a constant string of feedings to make up for the diminished volume.

Therefore, if you calculate a 50 mL feeding buys a three hour sleep window, you'll correctly deduce a 15 mL feeding buys about 40 minutes, which doesn't take into account the time required to actually administer the 15 mL, which can take anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes, depending on Zoey's attitude. As you might imagine, Zoey's attitude after only about 20 minutes of sleep is typically pretty poor. So, we're basically going through a kind of hellish, sleepless loop.

And, man or man, do my wife and I have short tempers. Our tempers are so short, Vern Troyer towers over them. We'll snap at each other about ANYTHING. Currently, my best temper snap regarded how my wife burnt cookies one time, while she snapped at me once by doing a spot-on impression of me eating Raisin Bran cereal--after seeing it, even I had to admit it's pretty annoying.

So, until my wife and I are actually able to hunker down and get some serious sleep, I want to apologize preemptively to any of you readers out there who may encounter us during the next few weeks. We're really not as awful as we seem.

You jerks.

Posted by Ryan at May 16, 2011 12:51 PM | TrackBack

As one who had my own NICU experience a year ago, with a baby who is finally, finally, sleeping through the night, and who just celebrated a one year birthday, I so sympathize with the constant cries and no sleep. My husband and I perfected the game of "not it" at the first whiff of poop, and who better to hurl snarls at than the one you promised to love, honor and cherish? But oh, getting over that year one hurdle, and especially into year two when they can talk. It's only 50 more Saturdays to get through...

Posted by: Dee G at May 16, 2011 07:19 PM

"into year two when they can talk"

The child, or your significant other?

At this point, it can go either way.

Posted by: Ryan at May 16, 2011 10:36 PM

Wish I lived closer, I'd come take the night shift, I'm up all night usually anyway. Holding a feeding a baby all night? Pretty cool. *if you can sleep during the day.
Hang in.!

Posted by: Donna at May 17, 2011 07:39 PM
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