Musings of a Mum: 3 Months

September 30, 2012 Candace Morris 4 Comments


 (i like to pretend you are dancing to Madonna in this montage)

We are getting to know each other, and I must say I really like you so far. I feel the need to apologize.  I continue to slam back and forth from reality to reality.  One day, you are real and make sense and mean things.  The next, I am lost and frightened and leave your soul behind in the wake of "what about me!" Some mothers feel the deep love for their babies right after birth, and while I am logically and physically connected to you - my soul seems to have been sitting back for a bit, observing, afraid to attach to something so deep and lasting.  I will now be a mother until I draw my last breath, and that was not true only one year ago.  It's a dizzying transformation.  I like to think you are assessing me too.  We look at each other, not with suspicion, but with the curiosity of a stranger's gaze. I have no doubts the passionate, mamma-bear love is there (and could easily be accessed if there were a real threat), but for now - I curiously admire you, but you don't feel like MINE necessarily.  What does that mean anyway?  Do we own people?  When will I feel like a mother?  Will it be when I have to say 'no' for the first time, or will it be when you reach for me before you reach for anyone else? Oh, I am sure you'll melt me then.

The question posed to me, "How do you like being a mamma," is as baffling for me to answer as was, "Don't you just LOVE being pregnant?!"  I have come to terms with the fact that either the masses lie about the bliss of pregnancy and motherhood, or a few of us are just different.  Perhaps both are true, but the best lesson I can give you - rather than covering my natural self in shame - is to tell you that I am giving myself permission to attach slowly.  I give myself permission to define love and its stages as I see it.  Just as you are growing and developing as a human, I am growing and developing as a Mom, slowly and painfully breaking into my new identity.  You know, I did not love any part of pregnancy, nor do I yet see the overwhelming joy of being a mother.  I see work. I see a long trajectory of hard work - not in loving you, that's easy.  You are cute and smell like Jesus and rain and pancakes.  No, I am talking about the HARD work of molding a human being.

It's hitting me hard, I suppose.  The daunting nature of our future.  Honestly, I want to jump to the part where we get together as adults for a glass of wine and I tear up with pride at the wonderful woman you are, and also where you tell all your friends that your mother is fabulous.  But I am sure I will still worry about you.  I told your father this last week on a date that I am realizing that I'll never be truly alone again.  That even when I am not with you, I am still with you.  It's strange. Though I never thought I would feel this way, we are beginning to seriously entertain the notion that you will be our only child, and so I really want to cherish each kiss.

And I do.  You are such a delicious baby - and gorgeous...with beautiful, big eyes and chunky, rosy cheeks, and dark, heart-shaped perfect lips.

You make Joel and I laugh all the time with your facial expressions and sweet, easy cries.  You are RIDICULOUSLY expressive.  You seem to be a textbook baby, hitting all your markers on time and generally only crying when you have a need.   You are happy to have anyone hold you and have smiled at several people.  All in all, you are easy and we have enjoyed you!

Sleep is a challenge,  and has been my main focus for the last few weeks - because Mom and Dad are struggling with this lack of sleep.  You go down easy and sleep for a good while until your stomach wakes you up - about an hour into your nap.  That is the saddest cry of all, tugging at my heart-strings. It is so obvious that you don't want to wake up, but that some stabbing pain in your pea-sized stomach has brought you out of slumber.  Though you easily distinguish nighttime by sleeping much longer stretches than daytime, you still wake to feed (or out of habit, I cannot determine which) during the night.  I am determined that you will be a good sleeper, so we have begun to research and implement sleep training. You can now go to bed drowsy and put yourself to sleep.  I am so proud, it's like you love your bed.  Before each nap, I hold you as we look out your bedroom window and I see a lullaby your father taught me that his grandfather used to sing to his mom. You seem to love it. "One misty, moisty morning...when cloudy was the weather."

 I suspect you are a structured person, as discovering and solidifying your schedule has been quite easy.  I am not sure you had any hope at being UNstructured since I am your mother, but hear me say this - feel free to not be!  I am not intentionally trying to structure you (though children do thrive in it), but it is my natural way of being - and therefore will be familiar to you.   I will show you how to do it, if it suits you.  To make your schedule, I've noticed your pattern and then put a stamp on it, so that we can both have a predictable day.  For data purposes, I'll include it here:
7am: Wake/Feed/Change/Activity Time
8am: Down for nap
10am: Wake/Feed/Change/Activity Time
11am: Down for nap
1pm: Wake/Feed/Change/Activity Time
2pm: Down for nap
4pm: Wake/Feed/Change/Activity Time
5pm: Down for nap
6pm: Wake/Feed/Change
7pm: Down for the night
(9pm, 12am, 3am wake to feed).

You are still exclusively breastfed, though more often via a bottle than via breast.  You eat roughly 3-6oz each feeding, and still have a bit of reflux post feedings. We feed you, then burp you, then prop you up for no less than 10min.  Dad always falls asleep in that 10min "vertical time."  It's adorable seeing you two sleep huddled together. Don't tell him I told you, but he's a SUCKER for your whimper.

You found your hands a few weeks ago, slobbering all over them as you try to get them into your mouth.  This last week, you found your thumb!  Success! You spit out your pacifier and then pacify yourself with your thumb.  It's adorable.  I sucked my thumb for most of my childhood, so it seems very appropriate.  Midway into your nap, I can hear you trying to find your thumb, getting frustrated as you flail, then finally locating it and putting yourself back to sleep.

You are holding your neck up like a rock-star  for long periods when you first wake up and shorter periods throughout the day as you tire.  You like your infant seat, trying to grasp for the dangling monkey that you have stared at for weeks.  You like your swing, but only for 10 or so minutes.  You are smiling more and more and beginning to coo, especially at your grandma.  You actually remind me of her in personality.  Before you start to cry, you stick out your bottom lip and it quivers in the most pathetic way.  OUCH, my heart!  Your eyes are getting lighter and lighter, but they remain a cool blue - which makes me think they may not turn green as I had thought. You hate your car-seat when we are stopped, but love the passing shadows while we are driving in tunnels.  I've noticed you getting both bored and overstimulated by your surroundings, as you wake up more and more to what is around you.

Whenever I start to get a bit anxious about you not reaching whatever milestone I think you should be at, I remember that you were five weeks early and I adjust my expectations (as well as unpacking them psychologically) to give you more leeway in my sleep hopes.

I've been forcing myself out of the house more, realizing that the days I speak to other adults are my good days.  This is a surprise for me since I usually love staying home alone,  but being out helps me remember that we are a part of each other's lives, you and I....that my life isn't all about you.  It is my strong purpose that you will see me modeling self-care in the hopes that you realize that no one can care for anyone if they are at their personal end.  So we've been socializing with friends during the day, or walking to the library, or going to a Mom's group.

Grandma threw you a baby shower this last month, one where you received a lot of books!  You were passed around and loved on by all who attended.  You also attended the funeral and wake of Peter Gomes, your Uncle Ben's father.  It was sad, but soulful.  You slept calmly through most of it.

Love MUM.

Bowie Andromeda, 3 months old

On Becoming BabyWise: Giving your infant the gift of nighttime sleep
Secrets of the Baby Whisperer
Chronicles of a Babywise Mom

I strongly hesitate to list this information because people are so opinionated and convicted about their choices, but I want to reassure people that I am 1) educated on the various theories/practices of both attachment-style parenting and parent-directed-style parenting and have chosen what is the best for us and 2) I do not want unsolicited advice or opinions.  However, I do want to list the resources in case there are other moms who may want to follow how I am doing things and for record-keeping purposes.  Also, please remember to read everything with a grain of salt and your own logic.  Some of the above resources say really stupid things, but I use their overall outline for infant care.

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