Here's the day, as best as my creaky memory can relate:
11 p.m. (Monday night): NJ's cries come through the baby monitor on The Wife's nightstand. Twenty-five minutes later, after a steady escalation, I go down to check on her. After a few moments cribside, I leave and the cries intensify. Fifteen minutes after that, The Wife trudges downstairs to feed her. We haven't had a problem with NJ waking up in the night in months. The Wife gets back in bed at about 1.30 a.m.
4 a.m.: NJ begins crying lustily again. There's no point in trying to wait her out, so The Wife climbs out of bed and heads downstairs to feed her. NJ woke up at roughly three-hour intervals, something that hasn't happened since her first month. This does not bode well for Dad Solo's Super Solo evening, I think as I stretch diagonally across the bed and drift back to sleep. Willie rests his chin on my leg.
7 a.m.: The Wife wakes me up, saying that NJ's ready for her morning nap. That's what happens when you don't get enough sleep during the night: You're napping again shortly after 7 a.m. I take NJ to the basement and strap her in the swing. After puttering around a few moments and saying my goodbyes to The Wife, it's almost 7.30 a.m. I lay down on the bed next to the swing. NJ is already out like a light. In a matter of minutes, I am too.
9.30 a.m.: NJ stirs and coos. I'm pretty sure I mumbled something.
10 a.m.: The coos escalate to that sort of irritable crying babies sometimes do -- not flat-out bawling, but the I'm-tired-and-vaguely-unhappy-about-something-I-can't-put-my-finger-on whine. I sit up and she smiles, knowing that Dad Solo is dragging his butt out of bed. Finally, Old Man. Finally. I e-mail the first of the day's batch of NJ photos to The Wife.
10.30 a.m.: NJ is having her first Dad Solo bottle of the day. I'm trying to make sure she doesn't turn her head toward A Clockwork Orange on the TV.
11.30 a.m.: Needing to get out of the house on a surprisingly sunny day, I dress NJ in her tiny Mom jeans and "Born to Love" t-shirt and we head out to run a couple of errands. In our neighborhood, I pull over to talk to someone on my phone and, after a five-minute conversation, I look in the rear-view mirror to see the child out cold. The car used to have no effect on NJ, but now it's an automatic sleep-maker. It's like me on an airplane. Ten or fifteen minutes in, and it's "Who's snoring?"
12 p.m.: I've decided against the supermarket run, because NJ had a rough night and she is pooped. However, I realize, this early nap is going to throw her (us) off for the rest of the day. I grind my teeth and go on a long drive that includes a drive-through coffee and a stop at Burgermaster for lunch.
1 p.m.: I'm eating my burger on the coffee table and NJ is in her car seat on the floor, staring at me so sleepily that she is as still as a statue for least ten minutes. Maybe I was really wolfing down the chow and she was too horrified to move.
2 p.m.: NJ is eating again, while on the TV Alex is getting his first taste of experimental aversion therapy. His appreciation of Ludwig Van will never be the same again.
3 p.m.: The Wife receives another batch of photos. NJ and Dad Solo are having a grand old time playing in his office.
4.30 p..m.: We've sailed through NJ's usual naptime, because of the car nap she had early in the afternoon. I finish up the movie as she slurps on her bottle, occasionally trying to rub the tired out of her eyes.
5.10 p.m.: NJ collapses in my lap, and I move her to the crib. This late nap is not good, not good at all. I get on the phone -- software customer support -- and after thirty minutes on hold I hang up, go upstairs and make a lot of noise in the hallway in hopes that she'll wake up naturally and easily. She does, at about 5.50 p.m.
6 p.m.: Determined to keep NJ occupied until a 7 p.m. bath, I plant her next to me on the couch with her music box, which she frantically punches in hoping of hearing some tunes. (It plays Mozart, not Beethoven, so I won't have any Clockwork Orange flashbacks.) She's happy up until the second the sound stops, or the second her rattle is out of range of her mouth, and then it's fussing time.
6.20 p.m.: I strap on the Baby Bjorn and wear NJ as I do a little laundry and other housework.
6.40 p.m.: Not wanting to do too much housework, of course, I switch to kitchen dancing as I get her bath ready. NJ in particular likes "Twisting By the Pool" by Dire Straits and "Happy" by the Stones. At one point she cranes her head back to get a look up at me. She does it again, smiling big, and this time I lean down and kiss her forehead and then bow my head down to sort of hug her. She continues to smile and mashes her face into my cheek, holding it there for several moments. I am convinced she's kissing her dad and the room starts to get a little dusty. I am, indeed, "Happy."
7 p.m.: Bath time goes off without a hitch. The Wife receives a batch of (tasteful) nude photos of her daughter splashing and smiling in the tub.
8 p.m.: Dried and fluffed, NJ finishes off every bit of her evening bottle and tries to keep her eyes open as I burp her. She gets into her sleep sack and goes down in the crib without a peep. It's an hour later, and as far as the baby monitor knows, she's out like a light. I've already got a pot of coffee ready to be brewed, all I'll have to do is stumble downstairs and switch the coffeemaker on as I get her. I hope she's going to sleep through the night, but if she doesn't -- eh, no biggie. I'll get up whenever, try to nap when she does, drink lots of java. It's not like I have anywhere else I'd rather be.