Today was an unusual day as I got to enjoy the many faces of Maddie in a rapid-fire succession. She went from euphoric to angry to unmanageable and back again all in less than two hours. To be fair though, Maddie is almost 8-months-old and has more than enough on her plate right now.
She’s dealing with a daily assortment of new foods being introduced to her, there are some teething issues, her new found ability to standup and the frustrating talent of zipping backwards when she wants to move forward. Couple this shopping list with the fact that she’s a bit on the impatient side and we have a full menu of possibilities.
Maddie woke up on the right side of the crib this morning, even it did happen just before 5am. She went right to town on breakfast and was in the perfect mood. The baby was playful, full of wonder and ready for a little outdoor time. We got out early and took a brisk walk into this stunningly warm Jersey weather.
She delighted passersby across Jersey City with a smile that lit up the Hudson River along with the rising sun. Each feeding and nap was met with good-natured cheer and enthusiasm. That is until the 1:30 bottle-feeding.
This is when the wagon slid off the rails so to speak. Right at the beginning of the bottle, Maddie flipped the script. Suddenly she was troubled, angry and had no interest in being held at all. This is when I started trying out a variety of possible remedies to help stifle this 0-60 mood shift. Tummy time worked for a while and so did some quiet time in the crib. But these fixes were only temporary.
After about 30 minutes, I tried to feed her again with mixed results. At least she drank something on this go around. Then we struggled with the possibility of another nap, but Maddie finally relented.
When she woke up this time, it was if nothing negative had ever happened. She picked right back up with the good mood she had presented first thing in the morning. Based on her wakeup diaper change, I deduced that she had a bad tummy earlier and just wanted to be left alone to work through it.
When it comes to Maddie, these changes are lightning-quick so you have ready for carnage or love at a moments notice.
Nobody has any passionate fondness for stomach issues and certainly babies are no different. But the real trick with a baby is running through your personalized set of baby diagnostics to find out what is troubling the little one in the first place.
When Maddie woke up literally screaming at 6pm this evening, it certainly wasn’t to help ring in the new year. In the past, such an extreme reaction has been exclusively reserved for negative post-vaccination issues. Since the baby was pretty much hysterical – the first order of business was to try and calm her down.
I wrapped my arm around her stomach and started walking with her – within 30 seconds; I could actually feel the disturbance in her churning tummy. It became obvious that her stomach was under siege from gaseous anomalies and that the baby needed some real relief and distraction from what was taking place in that crazy belly. We actually spent the next two hours trying to get that tummy settled before bedtime and strangely enough, it seemed to work.
This was accomplished with multiple tummy positions designed to put pressure on the baby’s stomach. This included, but was not limited to putting her tummy of my knee, my shoulder and even placing my hand under her stomach and flying her around the room. Each new position led to various expulsions of gas, but just as important, it helped bring out the smiles and relax what had been a desperately upset young lady.
It’s not an easy situation to deal with when you see your child consumed by discomfort, but in this case, various manual tummy time techniques seemed to do the trick.
There are very few hard and fast rules regarding a diaper change. A diaper emergency can strike at any time in any place, but until today, it was always the baby who needed the emergency assistance.
That pattern took a bizarre turn this morning when a standard feeding devolved into an unprecedented toxic spill that would leave Maddie’s PaPa scarred for at least the next 30 to 40 minutes.
It all seemed so innocent; Maddie was in the process of being burped in the sitting position when she unexpectedly whipped her head towards the left while expectorating a thick stream of undesirable fluid. Never let it be said that my little girl is anything less than a crack shot!
The stream of regurgitated milk hit my thigh and aided by gravity, tumbled relentlessly down my leg into areas we can’t mention on this family blog. Now it’s really a party!
PaPa’s privates and his boxers are both swimming in this barbarous baby cocktail and there’s not too much that can be immediately done about it. We are in the middle of a feeding and Madeleine has made it perfectly clear that we are far from done. I can’t remember the last time I was sitting in a pair of soaked britches!
My mind is swimming (no pun intended) with possible exit strategies, but each outcome would just make things worse. What could I have done to prevent this?
I even stop to ponder the crazy female astronaut solution. Remember the wiggedy whacked Lisa Nowak from 2007? She’s that NASA astronaut who drove nearly a thousand miles to try and murder some chick. Lisa wore diapers during the drive so she wouldn’t have to take any bathroom breaks on the way. That must have been one heck of a diaper!
In the end, I decided that I’m still a little too young for adult diapers, but I know that my little girl is like a tiger crouching in the high grass – waiting for her next chance to strike.
5:30 seemed to strike a little earlier than usual this morning – but Maddie was in high spirits. I think were both looking forward to a good day with a nice long walk, but it was still a little bit early to get carried away making too many plans. After breakfast and a little bit of playtime, Maddie and I thought we might catch a little 7am catnap.
But just twenty minutes later, we were immersed in a Texas-sized Maddie meltdown of biblical proportions that would plague us well into the afternoon. It turns out that I used a batch of mother’s milk that did not agree with baby’s digestive system. (Information that would not be uncovered until later that day)
For those who know Maddie, it’s safe to say that when the baby is unhappy, she’s not terribly shy about sharing those feelings of discontent. So when the screaming started, I had no idea what was going on. Strike One!
I changed her diaper and that only seemed to make mattes worse! When her anger and screaming intensified, the only option I had left was to try and feed her an hour early. (At this point, I still have no idea that her stomach is torn up) So when I offered Maddie the bottle, she went right after it. Suddenly all was quiet, the anger faded into the morning light and all was seemingly forgotten and forgiven. But our success was far too short-lived
Moments later when I put Maddie on her tummy to get a burp, there were multiple eruptions from various exit points including burps, gaseous emissions, poops and copious amounts of spit-up. Houston, We have a PROBLEM!
For the next three tear-filled hours, I think both of us might have been crying, we went through 5 diapers, 4 bibs, 3 Motrin tablets (for PaPa) and two swaddle blankets. I held, rocked and soothed Maddie through the morning, but it was tough going for my little girl.
I was in the process of the 6th diaper change and I saw the shift right away, from the ashes of sickness arose the smile of a little girl who was feeling MUCH better. Maddie’s expression said it all; she had purged the morning stomach demons and was once again ready take on the world. I love a happy ending!
I’m not a huge oatmeal eater, but every once in a while I’ll grab a bowl or two. But I learned a very serious lesson this morning; never eat oatmeal before you feed the baby! –NEVER-
As you might have guessed, I did have a nice big bowl of oatmeal this morning right before I fed Madeleine. Just like the baby, eating is one of my favorite past times too. So when I gobbled down breakfast, I didn’t have a care in the world.
Just as I finished up breakfast, Maddie had sent up her first signal flare that it was time to share the love and feed her as well. The bottle was heated and ready to go and the baby and I settled right in.
The feeding was going very well – we were getting burps using our new Aussie method and the finish line was well within reach. I picked Maddie up from for her last little bit of food when she unleashed a downpour of high grade, toasty warm spit up onto my chest and stomach.
Normally, this is no big deal at all – trust me when I say I have endured much worse at the hands of my little girl, but something about this batch of spit-up was eerily reminiscent of the oatmeal I had just eaten. A flash of nausea swept over me as the smell curdled into my nostrils. Whoa buddy, let’s not barf on the baby!
I laughed it off, but as her juicy discharge started to penetrate my clothes, the bad feeling hit again. Surely we are not going to be sick on the baby, are we? I fought down the queasiness with images of Quaker Oats guy break-dancing on my stomach.
I looked at my innocent little girl and realized we were on the brink of disaster!
Somehow, we made it through the feeding and Maddie was spared a little bit of payback from PaPa – but it was touch and go for a while. I don’t know if I will ever eat oatmeal again, but it sure as heck won’t be anywhere near feeding time for the baby!
An Australian woman created the Dunstan Baby Language DVD because she claims to have cracked the code of understanding baby language. I have to admit, I was very skeptical when my wife and I sat down to watch the show. However, I picked up a tip for Maddie that I will always be grateful for.
According to this Australian woman, our baby falls into something called the “WINDY” category. She says the best way to deal with that condition is by placing the baby on her stomach when she’s not feeling well. I was very reluctant to try this as a soothing mechanism for Maddie because it seems like it would be very uncomfortable.
However, the next time Maddie seemed out of sorts with stomach issues, I decided to take a shot and go for the recommended impromptu tummy time. Maddie started to cry almost immediately and five long seconds ticked by before I decided that this female Croc Hunter had her facts mixed up and had obviously gone Walkabout. I was just about to reach for Maddie, when she suddenly took a quick look around and decided that this tummy thing was pretty nice after all. OYE – No rules just right!
Since that time, I have continued to put Maddie on her stomach and every day she seems to like it more and more. This isn’t the typical tummy time where you try to strengthen the baby’s neck muscles, it’s more of a relaxation device for the baby which triggers the exodus of explosive and troublesome gas wherever it might be hiding.
This afternoon, Maddie took things one-step further when she decided that this precarious tummy position was not only a great gas reliever, but it was also a good place to catch a nap. You can’t be serious!
Warning, this is not a position you want to be stuck in for an extended period of time, but for the sake of the baby, no pain, no gain. Just make sure to keep a hand on the baby at all times, they can be slippery little suckers.
If you have been following the exploits of Maddie – you already know that she’s gotten quite vocal during feeding time. OK, that’s a gross understatement, my little girl has fought tooth and nail time against the burp by screaming at the top of her lungs. But today Maddie’s grandmother, MiMi rolled into town for a clash of the titans, Jersey City style.
MiMi and Maddie were delighted to see each other, but clearly there was a bit of trouble brewing! Despite the dire warnings, MiMi embraced the challenge and headed down that long hard long road known as feeding time.
It all began so peacefully, but you could see trouble looming just over the horizon. Maddie knocked down three ounces, eyeing MiMi the entire time and when it came time to burp – the pleasantries were over.
Maddie went right to work; battering her opponent with a series of jabs, kicks and cries. MiMi took the flurry in stride, but was amazed by the ferocity of the baby’s attack. However, at this point, Maddie was just getting warmed up.
The temper tantrum grew in intensity and it was game on! MiMi continued to pat that back and started matching wits with the 3-month-old.
“Oh my goodness! This is just anger, young lady.”
“You’re going to have to give me a burp – being angry won’t help!”
The clash rolled on and MiMi held on tight praying for burp.
Neither side was ready to give an inch. The more Maddie protested, the more MiMi tried to talk the baby off the ledge.
“Oh my goodness – you are so loud! You are just going to get louder, by the time you are six months old, you’re going to shake the paint off the walls!”
Suddenly, a tiny burp rang out and the stalemate was over. I’m not sure who registered the win in this opening match – but it’s only day one. Perhaps this is the test where we finally determine who has the edge – the irresistible force –OR- the immovable object, stay tuned!!
Halloween is a time for costumes, not costume changes – but try telling that to Maddie. For some reason, possibly as a civil protest to an article I wrote earlier this week, the baby has recently decided to boycott burping. If the baby doesn’t burp, her rate of spitting up increases significantly.
It took a while to fully understand this concept, but Maddie was kind enough to begin my education last night right before bedtime. After an uneventful diaper change, I picked up Maddie for a little nighttime stroll around the house. Just as I lifted her up, she launched a perfectly placed dollop of spit up right down her fresh nightgown. She smiled sweetly at me as if to say, “My bad, PaPa!”
Well this isn’t my first rodeo – I grabbed a clean nightgown, stripped off the soiled garment and changed the baby. Just as I finished adjusting her sleeves, the baby spackled up some more liquid love and this time it coated her collar. Again, she gave me loving smile that told she was feeling no pain.
This time, I fished out a bib along with outfit #3. I made the change, secured the bib and we made our way to the living room. I had Maddie up on my shoulder when she gave a gentle little cough – and sure enough, there was a new deposit of spit up, and this time it was running down the arm of her newest outfit.
Do you see a pattern here?
I fished out a nightgown with stars on it and was finally able to put the baby to bed in a clean outfit. I mention that the outfit had stars, because when I woke up the next morning, the stars were gone and Maddie was wearing pink. (Obviously her Mom had encountered some wardrobe excitement of her own during the night) That’s four changes in just one evening – but as you might have guessed from the title of this article, we’re still not halfway home!
After the morning feeding, the baby peppered a total of three bibs, two swaddle blankets and two more outfits, but the best was yet to come just after lunch.
Maddie and I were leaving a local restaurant and made a quick detour for a diaper change in the restroom. Once we were done, I lifted the baby off the changing table only to be hit with the ultimate baby booby trap. Maddie fired a blank point liquid round of regurgitated mother’s milk straight onto her PaPa. The bulk of her molten magic raced down the front of my pullover, while the rest breached the top of my collar and found my t-shirt and bare chest below.
I looked at the baby and asked, “Do you feel better now?” She gave me her best smile and encouraged me to hit the restaurant with the costume she had just created for me – “the human burp cloth.”
Today’s Lesson: It’s always good to have backup clothes for the baby, but it doesn’t hurt to have a spare shirt stashed away for yourself.
One of the constant struggles between the baby and her PaPa is the never-ending battle of the burp. This is a contest of wills that never goes the same way twice. At first glance, who knew that this seemingly simple act would become such a hotly contested issue? To help better understand the stages of burping, we have broken Maddie’s reactions down into categories.
Hostile Takeover: Sometimes the baby sees the attempt to gain a belch as a hostile takeover and who can blame her? She’s enjoying a nice satisfying meal when some thug robs her of the bottle and chucks her over his shoulder. Maddie is less than impressed by the audacity of such an intrusive act. She strikes back with a series of primeval howls aimed directly into the eardrum of the offending party. This doesn’t actually sidetrack the burping process – it just makes it a little more enjoyable than anyone ever really thought possible.
Fast and the Furious: This quickfire challenge is truly every parent’s favorite. The moment you push the baby up onto your shoulder – a thunderous burp echoes through the house. No fuss, no muss – just a violent burp that allows the feeding to resume immediately. This is a win-win for all parties involved.
Snickers Burp (Not going anywhere for a while?) This is when you boost the baby up for a burp and time seems to stand still. Maddie takes her time to enjoy the scenery, think about life and ponder future moves for her fantasy football team. After several minutes, she gets fussy and restless and starts to struggle. During this scenario, it’s actually the struggle that triggers the burp.
Wild Banana: This is when the baby goes up for the burp and wildly struggles to get down. Her mother refers to this behavior as the “Wild Banana,” because Maddie will kick, punch, head butt and scream to get back to the bottle. This process has it good and bad points. The BAD part is the beating you have to take to get the burp. The good part is that it usually doesn’t take too long.
T-K-O: The TKO is truly the baby’s version of a technical knock out. You lift the baby up for the feeding and before you know it, you here a very soft purring or growling sound. These sounds mean that Maddie is down for the count. (Sound Asleep!) And this is not just any sleep, but a deep slumber that means mealtime will have to be rescheduled for a later time.
Splashdown: It’s always important to be prepared for the splashdown! Your burp cloth should already be strategically in place when the baby begins to spit up copious amounts of that creamy regurgitated milk. We think this action actually takes the place of a good belch, but we have yet to confirm the validity of that statement.
Maddie made the trip to Western Jersey today to celebrate her grandmother’s birthday. The plan was to feed Maddie once we got to the restaurant, but she had a hunger initiated temper tantrum at home a good hour before feeding time.
I pumped her full of mother’s milk that induced a full-bore food coma and hit the highway. An hour later, the baby was still zonked out when we walked into a very noisy Panera restaurant. The raucous lunchtime crowd didn’t phase Maddie a bit as she gently slept in her chair.
An hour later we arrived at her grandparents house and still the baby kept sleeping!
Finally I decided if nothing else, I had to at least swap out her diaper. Maddie came to with a happy grin on her face, ready to cast her spell of charm over her grandparents. Grandma fed the baby and the entire scene was nothing short of butterscotch and ponies.
All we had to do now was drive home. We hadn’t made it very far when Maddie started rocking and rolling.
(Warning, warning we are under attack! This is not a drill!!)
There was a Starbucks up at the next exit – seemingly the perfect place to chill Maddie out and grab some caffeine.
Maddie read my mind and knew she had to think fast. The baby must have slowed her heart rate like a Ninja so that PaPa would have no idea that he was walking right into a trap. We made it to Starbucks and Maddie smiled sweetly as I plucked her out of the backseat. But just as we crossed the threshold into the store – Maddie let go with a tortured cry of anguish that shook the building in it very foundation.
“What is it sweetheart?” I pleaded. This time she screamed even louder and suddenly, we were the center of attention at the coffee house – the main attraction if you will. I implored Maddie to take it easy – and for a moment it looked like she was ready to settle down. I quickly ordered a drink when the Madster lashed out again. This Starbucks now reminded me of the restaurant robbery scene in the movie Pulp Fiction – everyone stared at the baby – dreading what might come next.
The tisk-tisk looks were already floating towards our direction and it was time to get out of dodge. Then I heard a little girl ask her Mom, “Is that really her father?” Whoops, there goes my parent of the year nomination!
I’m not sure what subtle cues I had missed, but the situation was degrading quickly and there was still the little matter of the drive home.
I wrestled my little tigress back into the car and got back on the highway praying for to the traffic gods for little good luck. The motion of the car gently rocked the baby to sleep as my pulse rate slowly slipped out of the red. We were only about six miles short of home sweet home when we ran into the back breaker. Every approach into the city was jammed. It took less than 30 seconds for Maddie to reach the same conclusion.
PAYBACK TIME – Maddie gave PaPa both barrels as we inched along in the traffic and it was then that I realized that my baby has a bright future as an interrogator for the CIA. There’s not a criminal or terrorist alive who would be able to withstand ten minutes of that Maddie-flavored chaos without giving up the goods and divulging everything she needed to know.