Husband-and-wife journalists Bob Miller and Callie Clark Miller use this space to offer their views on everyday issues.
SHE SAID: Here's the ultimate proof that newborns are hard to take care of: Going to work feels like a vacation.
It's my first week back at the Missourian, and I quickly realized how I'd missed little luxuries like getting to go to the bathroom when you need to go and getting to eat a snack when you're hungry (using both hands, if necessary, instead of trying to peel a banana while holding a 10-pound thrashing, wailing baby).
And yup, I said 10 pounds. In seven weeks, our little sleep thief has doubled in size. So have the dark circles under my eyes. I'm hoping the two won't be proportionate in the future.
Even the rather fast-paced, occasionally disruptive and often loud newsroom seems like a peaceful retreat after a 20-minute car ride with my screaming little boy. Unlike other, more tranquil babies, Dawson does not find car rides all that soothing, and they sure don't make him drowsy. Another parent recently suggested to us that we invest in a pair of ear plugs for car trips. "You do what you have to do to survive," she advised us.
Dawson is still eating about every three hours, which means at night he is not sleeping in more than three-hour intervals, and he typically starts fussing about 30 minutes before it's time to eat, which wakes us up.
I now have evidence that Southeast Missouri has a serious eyesight deficiency that is quite widespread: People keep commenting to Bob and I that we don't look like we have a newborn at home. Hah! Either that, or people here are very adept liars.
I've had a lot of separation anxiety kind of questions this week, and it has been hard turning Dawson's care over to another person. I didn't think I'd be one of those parents who are bothered by that. I am.
But I tell you what, instead of being grumpy about having to feed him at 3 a.m., I've come to sort of treasure even that time spent with Dawson now that I'm not with him every second of the day.
That doesn't make me any less exhausted the next day, so if you see me out and about and I'm slurring my words, or falling asleep at a restaurant table, don't think I've been drinking.
In the meantime, it's good to be back.
HE SAID: One of the things I find funny about babies, or at least our baby, is how quickly he can transform.
The power of formula should never be underplayed. Dawson will cry like he's been attached to a torture device, his tiny mouth producing high-decibel screams that affect me like fingernails on a chalkboard.
But as soon as a bottle is inserted, he's quiet with the exception of some pleasant grunting and subtle gurgles. I wish everything were that easy. Although I did find a few nights ago that my cute and talented wife's attitude improved dramatically when I brought her home an ice cream treat.
Another thing that calms Dawson is when we pick him up. He'll be fussy, whining like babies do, until I lift him in my arms. Then he'll look at me, as if to say, "What took you so long?"
When it comes to making babies happy, there's a lot of work involved, some of it messy, some of it simple. It's all very tiring and time-consuming. But fairly predictable.
If only women were so easy to make happy.
Callie Clark Miller is the special publications managing editor for the Southeast Missourian and goes through a bottle a week of concealer for her circles. Bob Miller is Southeast Missourian managing editor and is now much stronger for all the 10 lb. reps he's been doing. Reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.