My wife left on Sunday for a 4-day business meeting that goes from Monday-Thursday. This her first trip away from the little guy. It was/is not easy for her, and if you think about it, this makes sense. She not only has had this little human near her every day since he was born 5,5 months ago, but she was also carrying him for 9,5 months, too. So we are basically talking 15 months of the two of them being together every day. She loves him with every ounce of who she is, and I understand that. I feel the same way.
Fortunately we have Facetime and Skype to stay in touch, and it is cool to see that the little guy is responding to her voice when we have been on them. I am unsure if he is responding to the video part and understands that face is his mom, or if he is just enjoying the video in general. He smiles, and he even laughed and really got into a little game of Peek-a-Boo where my wife turned the phone so she was out of the picture, then turned it back, so I think he must have some awareness.
So, how has he been doing so far? He has been very much the same little guy, laughing and generally in the good mood that we have come to expect. This is probably largely because I am spending most of my days with him, so it is nothing strange for him to be spending a lot of time with only me. There are also days when we are in Hong Kong that he goes to bed before his mom is home (not always fun), so he has now gotten more used to me putting him to bed.
I was most worried about the middle-of-the-night feedings, which have been exclusively my wife as she has been breastfeeding, but he does not notice (or does not care) – he just wants the food, the comfort, and to go back to sleep. As it is, he is going to bed around 8:15-8:45, and then waking up as usual at 2:00 and 5:00. He really wants to stay awake at 5:00, but we bring him into bed with us at this point and this allows for us (me, my wife, and the little guy) to have that extra hour or more of sleep. Yesterday for example, he slept until 7.30, today until 8.30.
I previously posted about sleep, and I believe that specifically for our little guy going forward, his sleep needs are going to be most tied to him getting him enough food thru the day and having some regularity with the sleep schedule (including naps). The feeding schedule is now involving solid foods (pureed vegetables and porridge), and thru the day he eats every 2-3 hours, as well. He is napping regularly, and I wonder now if I shorten his nap times, if this will help him sleep longer at night. I have read a lot of places that this is not how it works – more naps and long naps do not adversely impact baby sleep in the night – but I think at some point it must matter. I will dig into this more when we are back in Hong Kong.
And how am I doing taking care of the little guy alone? Of course everything is more difficult without a “partner” – even if it is just at the end of the day or for a few hours in the morning. I have a whole new respect for single parents after just a few days with my wife gone. Simple things, like feeding babyfood to the little guy, become a circus that takes a while to clean up after. Cleaning, cooking, and other “regular” things are also harder when you are alone with the baby all the time with no person to take some of the weight. It is not the time away from the baby that is important to me since I like being around him, but what is important is the time without the baby relying on you so that you can take care of things.
Now the little guy and I have a few more days ahead as “bachelors”. As bachelors, we have an obligation to play video games, work on a car or something else involving tools, and watch sports, Star Wars, and Will Ferrell movies until my wife comes home. Or I could just do my best to keep giving the little guy what he needs – love, attention, love, reading to him, love, playing with him, and love. And I can’t forget to burp him, either. 😉