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Daddy's Corner

Zombie Kraft

One thing I’ve had the privilege of doing over the past few months is to have some individual time with Olivia. Vanessa has been helping out at the school, so O and I have been able to bond more on those mornings. Really, it has been an absolute blessing to have this time alone with her. I’m not very good at it though.

I like my sleep. I’ve been able to function, at short intervals, with little sleep. I was one of those college students who could pull an all-nighter on a regular basis and not show any effects. During finals, getting a few hours a sleep a night for a week was no biggie. Friends and roommates sometimes needed at least one or two nights a week with 10-12 hours of sleep. I couldn’t sleep that long if I tried. I was awesome at little sleep, or so I thought.

Since O’s birth, sleep has been a completely different beast. In her first few months, we simply could not figure out how to get her to sleep. She would scream endlessly when we tried to put her to sleep until we gave in and held her when she slept. It didn’t matter how asleep she was, she would awake as soon as we set her down. V and I made an agreement. I was still working a 9-5 job and just couldn’t stay awake much past 1 am. She would take the solo shift with O from 1-4 a.m. I would awake at 4 a.m., take O solo until 7 a.m. while The Lovely Lady slept. At 7, she would awake, I’d get ready for work and head out. Rinse and repeat.

While sleep has improved in the 14 months since then, I don’t think it’ll ever return to our pre-O sleep levels. Or at least, I’m telling myself that so I’m not always pining for that magical day to come, whenever it would be.

Fast-forward to November 2010. I’m typing this at 10 p.m. and I’m ready to crash for a long time. On the average weeknight, I could still be out for work. Haven’t had dinner yet. Still have a pile of stuff to knock through. In short, I can easily stay up until 1 a.m. trying to keep my head above water with paperwork, household matters, food consumption, a little downtime, etc. O has been down for sleep since around 7 p.m. and stays down, on a good night, until about 5 a.m. When she wakes up at 5 a.m., without any thought, I bring her to bed with us. I’m sure there are plenty of parents out there ready to tell me exactly how much damage that is doing to O and how we’re shooting any future sleep in the foot by doing so, but honestly, I don’t remember doing it most days. It’s my body’s natural reaction to O’s crying. Short of restraints, it will keep happening. Period. I’ve gotten in some trouble before when she wakes up at 2 a.m. since my subconscious reaction is to bring her to bed. I’ve been working on trying to read the clock and forcing myself into reality if it doesn’t show 5 a.m. If it’s earlier, it typically takes about 30 minutes or so to calm her down and get her back to sleep. Yes, we know about this or that sleep training method. We’ve done most of them, this is our happy ground for the moment. When Baby 2 comes, well, we’ll take it as it comes.

I digress.

At 5 a.m., she cuddles with me in bed. She’ll go back to sleep until 6:30 a.m. exactly. No matter anything else–bedtime, the time she wakes up in the early morning (or if she doesn’t at all on a really blessed morn’), she will be wide awake at 6:30 a.m. She’ll yell at me, pull my ears, kick my face. Something, whatever, anything to make sure I join her in the land of the living and provide her with her morning (soy) milk.

This is all a little background to why I’m not very good at my alone time with O. I always have high hopes. We’re going to take an awesome walk or I’m going to restart my jogging habit. We’re going to go to some new and exciting place. We’re going to play at the playground and she’s going to have a ton of fun. It’ll be all laughs, giggles, puppy dog tails (don’t tell the Lady) and the terrorists will know they’ll never win. But, Zombie Kraft emerges…

Zombie Kraft gives O her morning milk and banana. Stares blankly while trying to play with her and her toys in the living room…sometimes while lying down on the floor. We do something simple-a walk to the mailbox or something. Uh oh, too close to snack time. We shouldn’t go anywhere. I’m not awake yet… just a few more minutes. Oh, it’ll be too difficult to get her upstairs so I could get dressed without her causing a fit, so I’ll stay here. Look, the V will be home sometime in the next 30-90 minutes, we shouldn’t leave. Then, typically about 30 minutes before the Lady actually will be getting home, I’m pumped and awake enough to do something worth blogging.

We have our good days. We got out of the house early to attend the Austin Veterans Day Parade, which she had a great time, dressed the part and was proof that Zombie Kraft can be killed early in the day. We figured out how to slide down the slide in various ways, assisted and unassisted–very good day. But, Zombie Kraft still has a one up more days than not. I tell myself each morning I’m solo with O will be better, but haven’t yet taken that chainsaw to Zombie Kraft once and for all.

UPDATE: Over a year later, still not there.

By Brandon Kraft

My life is an open-source book.

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