Monday, April 20, 2015

The Strange Case of Baby Jekyll and Baby Hyde

All smiles by day, all screams at night

During the day, Little Fragrant Junior is the perfect baby: plump, pleasant, and affectionate. He can melt hearts with his coos and squeaks. He brings joy with his excited flailings. Watching him gum a melon can entertain a grandma for minutes on end.

But his wide toothless grin and sparkling eyes hide a dark truth: at night, he transforms into a hot mess. He just. Cannot. Sleep. Without. Melting. Down.

The science: baby sleep cycles are shorter than ours. They go through active sleep and deep sleep at regular-ish intervals. When they transition from one phase to another, they briefly wake up. The good sleepers fall back asleep.

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However: After waking, Fragrant Junior will scream bloody murder and keep going despite being held, cuddled, rocked, sang to, or walked around in a covered stroller. He'll spit out his pacifier. Even nursing will only quiet him down for five minutes. Nothing works. He'll just wail and wail until he gets too exhausted to keep it up, at which point he'll pass out.

And then cycle begins again in two hours! Hurray!

What I'm trying to say is: BABY FOR SALE, GENTLY USED.

...Or at least, that's what I tried to say last night (as with all my blog posts since motherhood, this one took at least two days to write).

Last night, I decided enough was enough: Junior was going to sleep in his own room, no more cuddling with Mama and Papa! So at the Appointed Hour, I got him into his sleep onesie, eased him into the guest bed, nursed him, and boom, out like a light. Then I snuck off to rejoin the exclusive Game of Thrones Dinner Club -- last night's entree was duck, with a side of tempeh, and we had cider and beer with a raven on it -- and we watched another excellent episode of AGoT.

The goal was to have Junior sleep in what had previously been the guest room/baby play area. He had slept in the bed before; I used to nap there with him during my postpartum days. So I figured the transition would be okay.

But I made a rookie mistake: I didn't tell Fragrant Husband specifically that Junior was to sleep in the bed. See, he has his new crib in that room too, and we're currently getting him used to it by making him stand in it, like so:

So when Junior woke up crying at exactly 12:38AM, Hubby hurried over, picked him up from the bed, soothed him, and put him the crib. Junior was like, OH NO YOU DID NOT. And it was the worst screeching you have ever heard.

We endured it for about 30 minutes total, with Hubby going in at timed intervals a la the Ferber method. Fortunately, when it was my turn to go in, Hubby read about a gentle alternative to CIO (crying it out), which was: stay with baby until baby falls asleep, then sneak off like a ninja. So we did that, with Hubby taking first watch. He was so tired that he forgot about the sneaking off like a ninja part.

So I was alone in bed, with my husband's resonant snores rumbling throughout the apartment. It was weird at first, but then it was glorious! I had all this space, extra pillows, and no snoring in my face!!! I immediately plunged into dreamland.

Afterwards, I took the 3AM and the 6AM shifts. Junior settled in nicely after he was nursed back to sleep. He even slept until 7AM, instead of smacking his parents awake at 6:08AM! Will miracles ever cease!

So now our next goal is to wean him away from night feedings. No more 3AM snack! The plan is to tank him up when he goes to bed at the Appointed Hour, and then follow up with another session before I go to bed. Then hopefully his next nursing will be at 6AM.

Gawd, just the thought of getting all that sleep is super exciting.

In conclusion: Will we finally be rid of Baby Hyde? Tune in and wish us luck!!!

This post brought to you by Panera. Panera: it means bread basket en espaƱol!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Game Review: Uncharted: Drakes Fortune

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune came out in 2007 and is a strong start to the series. It's full of impossible physical feats, dead-easy puzzle solving, snappy banter, and lots and lots of bad guys and bullets. It introduces gamers to Nathan Drake, a bro / Indiana Jones hybrid who plunges into certain-death situations in his search for treasure.

It's clear from having played the series in disorder (I played 2011's Golden Abyss first -- review here) that the developers learned the right lessons as they moved forward. Drake's Fortune is light and diverting, but there are gunfights that are just plain ridiculous with the amount of bad guys and bullets flying from every direction. It took me a while to get the hang of aiming and shooting quickly and accurately (with some backseat shooting from the ever-trying-to-be-helpful Fragrant Husband -- "Here, honey, use this post-it on the screen to aim!" uuurrrgh), but I eventually got pretty good. Subsequent games are much more forgiving when it comes to the point-and-shoot mechanics.

In terms of other elements -- Drake's Fortune is thin when it comes to plot: Drake and his mentor Sully search for El Dorado. There's an unpleasant surprise past the halfway point, offset by the presence of Elena, an attractive, intelligent, and resourceful woman, and also jet skis. The graphics are gorgeous, the voice acting is the gold standard, and the soundtrack is exciting. It's a little less balanced than the other games in the series -- there would be long stretches of just traversing obstacles, followed by a shootout with what seems like a small army, but that made completing checkpoints so fulfilling. It was like, "Finally! I did forty-seven hundred pull-ups and defeated ten thousand criminals using one million bullets! And it only took five tries!"

I was having a blast. And then, just as I was becoming the queen of shooting all the bad guys, the game was over. Alas, everything must end.

I enjoyed this game so much, and felt that it finished too soon, that Drake stayed on my mind for a few days after the game. Which is why I'm so excited about Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, coming out in 2016!!! It shall be AMAZEBALLS.

TL;DR: A terrific action/adventure game. Entire series recommended!

This post brought to you by lamb and pork pie made in honor of the Game of Thrones season 5 premier! 

Movie Review: Hereditary (2018)