We took a trip to see family. We were gone for 5 whole nights. Baby did pretty well on the long drive there (10 hours with all the stops for breaks); he only fussed in the last 2 hours or so.

He slept great in a borrowed Pack N’ Play with bassinet, (totally sagging by the end of the trip!), and was in general an all-around hit.

I suspected maybe he had a pretty good disposition, but what do I know? Sure enough, he managed 4 days of strangers, of being passed around and constantly gushed at. He worked it like a pro, cackling at every grandparent, cousin, auntie, uncle and friend who came at him maniacally grinning.

Of course, to keep the peace, we fed him at the first inkling of any and all hunger signs, even if it meant feeding closer to 2 hours apart than 3 or 4.

In my obsession with Bringing Up Bebe, , for several weeks before the trip I had been gently trying to make baby wait a bit more and more between feedings. He was starting to be able to wait 3 1/2 to 4 hours without too much drama.

Now we’ve been home 2 days and I don’t know what the hell is going on.

Throughout the trip, people brought up schedules:

“When do you want to come over? What’s his schedule like?”

“We’re home all afternoon. What time does he nap?”

I managed to restrain myself from screaming “I don’t know! I don’t know when he naps! He naps every few hours! He naps when he’s tired! I DON’T KNOW!”

The one part of our day that was almost always exactly the same was the morning. Usually I feed him, then shower and dress with him playing in the vibrating chair, then put him in his swing while I make myself breakfast. Then I eat breakfast and enjoy my coffee while he swings into a nice morning nap, allowing me to finish getting dressed, empty or fill the dishwasher and maybe start some laundry.
Now, all of a sudden he seems to hate his swing.

I bring my breakfast into the living room and he’s not asleep! He’s wide awake and furious about being strapped into a moving contraption.
And the vibrating chair! The vibrating chair has a bar across it with hanging plastic things. For a month, he’s been happily babbling at them. But the other day he started reaching for things on purpose (as opposed to me guiding his little fingers around a rattle while he stares up at the light fixture). Now, he tries to grab the longest hanging plastic thing. And fusses because (I’m guessing) he’s frustrated he can’t get it. Then he gets it, but he fusses because he tries to bring it toward him and it’s not long enough to reach his mouth.

My happy lump of a babbling 3 month old is suddenly a complainer. I find myself saying “What’s your problem? What are you, a baby or something?”

I keep trying to leave the house, but he fusses and ends up napping. I made it to the grocery store parking lot and climbed into the backseat to try to put him in a carrier. He screamed like he was being tortured so I tried to feed him. He screamed some more. People were watching; I might be on YouTube. I finally gave up and started the drive home. He was quiet by the time we were out of the parking lot. By the time we got home he was out cold for 2 hours.

I keep track of all feeds and diapers and sleeps, so I should be able to figure this stuff out, but I can’t. I knew he might be tired on the way to the store but I figured he’d nap on the way. Last time I tried to wear him while shopping, he fussed a bit (no torture screaming!), then slept like an angel while I shopped with a grocery cart like a normal human being.
Now I’m afraid. Every day I tell myself I’ll get it right. Every day I tell myself “2 hours. He gets tired after being awake for 2 hours.” And every day I don’t know what happens.
So today I have been trying to make sure he has room to sleep about every 2 hours.

So far, we managed a happy trip to the mall.


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