I’ve been a mother for just a hair under 70 days. My site has been “broken” since before Henry was born, making it challenging to load photos and manipulate posts. (Does anyone have a blog doctor they recommend, by the way?) I’ve been resting on technical excuses and “new baby” excuses for a while, but now that my son is developing a somewhat predictable nap routine, I’ve got to get back to recording our lives. (Photos may still be sparse until the blog doctor comes to the rescue.)
There are so many things I want to engrave in stone as to never ever forget them.
I don’t have a stone or an engraver, sooo….
When we first brought Henry home from the hospital, we woke him for every meal. He lost more weight than was acceptable when he came home, so we were a ’round the clock buffet- force feeding and doing everything in our power to keep him awake long enough to feed.
After a few weeks, he started to get the hang of it and woke on his own every once in a while.
His moments of being awake were quick (maybe ten minutes after his feeds if we were lucky). Those moments were filled with the most somber, serious, annoyed, and disapproving faces. People joked he most likely would prefer the newspaper over Dr. Suess, and I didn’t disagree. My mother-in-law always giggles about how George was born a 40 year old. When he was little he listened to news on the radio with his grandfather, and at two years old, they say he studied the newspaper to match the pictures with the stories he heard. Those early moments with Henry indicated he would follow in his father’s footsteps.
When I was pregnant, I knew I’d give birth to a laid back baby. He didn’t move much in utero. Unlike many of my friends, he didn’t keep me up at night. On the contrary, he would worry me by his lack of activity, so I felt in my heart that I had a gentle, easily appeased, little snuggler on my hands. But I wasn’t entirely right. At least yet. While he was born an amazing sleeper (so far) (and snuggler), the moments he’s not sleeping have been more complicated than I’d pictured they would be. Swaddling has been a lifesaver, as moments when he’s allowed freedoms are moments that send him over the edge. But even swaddled, he will switch from content to irate with a simple shift of my arm. He enjoys when I wear him. He enjoys feeling close and snug, but if I dare bend to pick something up or wipe a countertop… watch out. There is very little gray with him (another quality he shares with my husband as I am nothing but gray). He’s either the happiest guy on the planet or screaming at the top of his lungs.
When he is losing his mind, we swaddle, then shush, then sway, and if all else fails, we brush his hair. Isn’t that funny? He likes to be groomed. He’s never happier than when he’s in the bathtub. And trust me, if it weren’t for his penchant for pooping in there, I’d probably leave him in until his sweet little toes were pruney.
Last week, his stern, perplexed face did something I began to doubt it ever would. He smiled. Or smirked, may be a better description? Regardless, an electric current flowed through my body and into my brain, nearly making me forget every scream-fest we’d ever endured. From there, all the effort I put into trying to stop him from crying changed course, and now my energy is spent trying to make him smile. His half smiles and smirks transformed (within hours, as all changes with him do) to full smiles and even laughs. “Burrrrring” my lips is apparently hysterical, and touching his chin almost always generates a grin.
From birth, he’s been pretty fascinated by his own tongue. In our childbirth classes and in several of the books I read preparing for his arrival, it was recommended we pay attention to his mouth. We were told he would work his mouth if he were hungry. So basically, we spent lots of energy trying to force feed him. It took some time for us to realize his mouth is his toy, not his hunger bell.
My favorite moments, thus far, are the first feed of the day when he can barely contain his smiles to eat. He fills his mouth with milk, makes eye contact with me, smiles the biggest smile and spills his milk out all over. Loose lips, man. I also look forward to his baths, the moments he drifts off to sleep to the sounds of his own satisfied hums, the determined bobble-head look he gets when lifting his head during tummy time, rubbing my lips on his soft sideburns, his newfound cooperation with his nightly massage (which gets more fun with every ounce of leg chub he gains), and the moments I watch him staring with great intensity as George tells him a story.
Recently I was standing in line at Starbucks with Henry strapped to my chest. Over the sounds of Joss Stone and perky baristas and thundering New Yorkers, Henry lulled himself to sleep with a methodical “hmmm…hmmm…hmmm…hmmm…”. It was loud and sweet and made even the most callous of coffee fiend soften a bit. I patted his tiny butt under the Moby, proud those sounds came from my sweet little slumber hound.
My first Mother’s Day (with a human child) is this weekend. I feel honored to be able to wake up and feed my smiley, healthy infant. There were years Mother’s Day had a different meaning, and for that, I almost mourn the holiday. I’m so lucky, so full, and so grateful, and I’m beyond hopeful this is the last Mother’s Day my infertile friends spend without the same opportunity I have.
I’ll close with a few of my favorite pictures since Henry’s birth. Once I get my blog coding fixed, I will be a lot more liberal with pictures! (I’m sure you can’t wait.)