The infant "witching hour" is a thing around here - that period of time from 5-8 p.m., otherwise known as the universal time for happy hour, when Harper is generally too tired to eat and too hungry to sleep and too beside herself to be consoled. So, we do this:
It only took us one trial run (on a night over a month ago when I simply demanded fresh air despite a fussy baby) to learn that the baby carrier is magic. With very few weather-related or social-event exceptions, we have bundled the little munchkin up in any one of her delightful Eskimo outfits every day since she was about 10 weeks old for a lengthy family walk after Darren gets home from work.
We have received more than our share of "are you INSANE taking that child out in the cold?" looks from our neighbors, especially during the inevitable 3.5 minutes that it takes for Harper to stop her screaming and nuzzle in to dad (when this happens, she truly goes from full-throttle red-faced wailing to silence in an instant - this girl does not "wind down").
Who knows what will happen to our nightly routine in the next few months, especially once I go back to work, but I do hope that a version of this tradition will stick around for awhile. For now, Harper gets her much-needed power nap before bathtime, Bruno gets a legit walk, and we get to talk like adults for 35 quiet minutes a night. There have even been a few times when we've exploited the bouncer's soft spot for bulldogs at a new favorite local bar and have popped in for a beer:
Our delicate dance when we get home has all the makings of a TV sitcom. I turn off the alarm and the lights and turn on the TV so that the white noise will help keep her asleep all while Darren continues to walk in place on our front porch (yes, we've actually become those parents who walk in place and pump the brakes at red lights to fake that we're still moving). Often, the carrier is removed and she stays bundled up in the exact same position squished on Darren's chest for overdue cuddle time (we've also become those parents who remove each other's gross wet boots for couch time so as not to disturb a sleeping baby). On days when we both need our hands free to cook dinner, we gingerly place her - Eskimo and all - into her chair, and we hold... our... breath: