Here’s how week day mornings go.
Dad wakes up, sometime between four and five (there was an experiment with waking at 3, but that was silly). He flips on the espresso machine’s power and sneaks down the hall to find Zane and his accessories.
Well, Zane goes to bed at 8 or 9pm, dad goes to bed shortly afterwards, and Mom goes to bed who knows when…but usually into the next day. Zane wakes up sometime in the night (but only once these days!), hopefully before Mom has gone to bed, eats a snack and zonks right out. Where he zonks out depends on Mom. Her choices include the crib, the co-sleeper, and the snuggler.
Dad tries to figure out, A) where the baby is, B) where the baby’s food is, and C) are there any surprises (see references for Cat and/or Zombie Mom). All of this with as little (if any) light and hopefully without waking anyone up. Baby knows dad is out there and bides his time in shallow sleep, waiting to catch him. If all goes well dad deduces the layout of the morning and lays back down to wait for baby to stir. Or he may find baby and boldly decide to find the bottle later. Baby, displaying the patience of a poker player, waits until dad gets settled and breathing slow before starting his day.
Baby’s day begins with a wiggle.
There are many wiggles that follow, but the first wiggle sets the tone of the day and is most important to get right. The second wiggle, after a short rest, may be accompanied by a small grunt or squeak, but nothing aggressive. Casual squeak. The arms will be captive in the night’s wrap so he may lift his legs and slam them down. A more aggressive squeak may be uttered. And wiggles, there are many wiggles.
Dad has the choice of waiting to see if this is a sleep-wiggle, or the real thing. If it is the real thing there isn’t much time before a bottle is required. The leg slam is a pretty good indication of the real thing. Still, sometimes dad will risk it, especially if he has the bottle at hand and is hoping the baby will sleep a little longer and break a sleep record. If it is the real thing and he waits the baby will turn on the desperate cry generator, possibly waking Mom. Waking Mom is a bad thing.
Most likely dad will pick up the baby, plant a kiss on his forehead, and hold him close. This is comforting to dad but means nothing to the waking baby, who’s timer is all but run down. There will be wiggling, there will be snuffling, there will be slightly more desperate squeaks, and then there will be crying if dad doesn’t figure out how to get a bottle in baby’s mouth in the next twenty seconds.
Dad can extend this time by releasing baby’s arms from the wrap. Baby then spends valuable time performing big baby stretches, time that dad can use to finish organizing or repositioning his charge.
Inevitably, and within minutes of baby’s first wiggle, the baby will be eating.
Now that sleep times are much longer baby will consume more food on waking. A good indication that he is done is when he resumes stretching and starts whacking the bottle. A good dad (i.e. awake) can get another 20 ml into baby even through this barrage of flying fists and wiggling head. There is burping, which may put baby to sleep, but only momentarily because …
It is time to feed dad.
Feeding dad consists of pulling a latte and constructing a bowl of cereal while baby coos and wiggles, or snoozes, in the car seat at kitchen’s edge. Dad takes the breakfast downstairs to his office, turns on the computer, walks back upstairs to retrieve baby and bottle, places baby on the office bed (all offices should have a big bed) and goes about reading emails and enjoying breakfast.
Baby entertains the baby. Some mornings it can be quite the show, sending dad scrambling for his camera and flash. Other mornings consist of a solemn fist chewing. Mornings like today find baby and dad playing peek-a-boo with the covers. All mornings culminate in baby falling back to sleep.
Dad posts a picture on the web, puts baby into crib, gets dressed and goes to work. Typical elapsed time: two hours.