Health and Taking Care of Yourself
It’s going to be another long night. My baby has reached the point where she’s too tired to sleep. She alternates between screaming at 90+ decibels and sleeping fitfully. She only transfers from the crying state to the sleep state after prolonged, labored rocking and soothing. She transfers back to the base crying state on her own after a few seconds.
I still love her. I just don’t appreciate her as much during these times.
One thing that I’ve learned while watching my baby grow a little bit is just how hard keeping yourself alive is. My body is big enough that it can regulate food and water intake—feeding cycles are on the order of 5 hours instead of 2. Even then I can easily go 24 hours without eating anything if I choose. I can force myself to rest in bed, if not fall asleep. My baby can’t do any of that.
Over the past few years I’ve had to be more careful with how I take care of myself. I know the warning signs of excessive sugar consumption, and I’ve learned to value avoiding the sugar headaches over whatever pleasure the treat provides. I’ve had to take a lot of care of my hands recently: I know the signs of RSI, and there’s so much I have to do to avoid another flare-up.
I’ve found that regular running helps my hands stay happy. I guess the increased blood flow with the cardio helps them heal and be more resistant. I have to make sure I stay hydrated. I used to treat my hands very gingerly, but they’ve healed to the point where it’s better for me to exercise more with my hands. (Push-ups, etc.)
Healthy food is so important too. That requires a lot of long-term planning and thinking, which is something that’s difficult for me. For some reason thinking about and planning around food is not something my brain likes to do. Compilers? Easy. Casserole? Not so much. But it has a tremendous impact on how well I can think, sleep, and act. My wife is a lifesaver in this regard; she loves to think about food and has steadily improved our diet.
I can’t wait for my baby to learn how to sleep through the night. Every further step of independent self-regulation will be an exciting (and welcome!) one. In the mean time, she’s provided an interesting instance for me to reflect.
I look forward to all the times she’ll offer similar reflection opportunities.