July 30, 2013 by 8junebugs
(WordPress’s Windows 8 app ate the first draft of this post. Thanks for nothing, Windows 8!)
Dear Grayson —
Boy, have you had a big month! You are now two whole feet tall and closing in on 16 pounds.
Your cousin Peyton weighs 16 pounds, kiddo, and she is three and a half months older than you. You can slow down now, any time…
Actually, they tell me you’ll slow down a bit now, at least once you’re out of your current — and epic — growth spurt. Between your brain and your body, I don’t know which is growing faster, but the two are conspiring to make your days and our nights a little bit difficult. We sometimes feel like we’re back on your newborn schedule. You are fighting sleep right now as though sleep is a monster that is trying to eat you alive. More than a couple of nights, you and I have been up every hour or so for one reason or another. Sometimes, I think it’s just because you simply DO NOT WANT to be swaddled. And yet, you are still unable to sleep unswaddled unless you’re so wiped out that you fall asleep on my shoulder.
So! The swaddle remains. We tried a double swaddle to keep you contained, but it didn’t improve your sleep and just seemed to piss you off, so we decided to pick our battles. I am trying not to freak out about the sleeping, buddy, but I’m not doing very well. We’re struggling through it, trusting that you’ll sort it out in the coming weeks.
You are very aware now — instead of staring blankly at the ceiling fans, you look around and interact with people, and, lo and behold, you have discovered the dog. The best place from which to observe him is from your Bumbo seat (a molded green foam thing that makes your father talk like Jar-Jar Binks and inspired the nickname “Baron Harponen”). I’m not sure if Rodney has noticed the difference yet, but you stare at him from time to time, trying to figure him out.
(He has figured you out. For the next year or so, the dog is measurably smarter than you. Sorry!)
You prefer to stand upright (I walked early — you come by this honestly) and are the kickingest baby I have ever known. You have “invented” the SnuggleAttack, which is basically an excited, open-mouthed attempt to devour our faces or shoulders. It seems like an extension of baby “kisses” and is the current cutest thing that happens in our house.
You and I did one very important thing this month, buddy. We joined a support group for new moms in Oakland and spent some time with other mommies with babies about your age. This has been a lifesaver in a couple of ways, not least of which being that it’s made me much more comfortable getting you out and about in the world. You had such a rough start, Grayson, and then we didn’t want to take you out much until your shots started, and then…well, it’s really easy to isolate when, just by nature, Daddy and I just like being at home. For most of my time at home with you, it’s seemed like we’ve been drifting from calamity to crisis with very little breathing room in between, and we just didn’t go anywhere but the pediatrician’s office for a while. I finally got us to the breastfeeding support group, but by then we’d resolved the breastfeeding issues, so…we were the jerks sitting in the circle saying, “It gets better.”
This support group is different. This was a chance for us to get to know some new people, new mommies who were facing some of the same challenges we face. Granted, you’re the oldest in the group by five days, so we sometimes hit common issues a little earlier, but not by much. This is going to sound silly, but after the last three months, just hearing that someone else’s kid, right now, has the same “I hate my carrier(s)” problem you’ve had all along is enough to make me weep with relief. It also helps when I can sometimes be the one listening and offering support instead of always being the patient in the office with the baby who WILL. NOT. STOP. SCREAMING.
(It’s still usually just because you peed. SERIOUSLY.)
So we met up as a group at least once a week and usually twice, and that second time was in public. We walked in a cemetery and ate in a restaurant and painted some pottery and took a class and just generally took our babies out. You and I needed help with that, buster, and this month, we got it. We’ll keep meeting with these new friends at least once a month, too, with or without our kids, now that the structured group meetings are done. I don’t know if we’ll all still be in touch by the time you read this, but maybe, just maybe, one or two or eight of you babies will grow up having a since-I-was-born friend, just like Mommy and Auntie Rach.
My only regret is that I didn’t find us a group earlier on, but I have to tell you — I think we stumbled onto just the right group of women and babies for us. Because of them, I’m more comfortable breastfeeding in public. I’m more comfortable changing you on a picnic table, if necessary. I’m more comfortable tossing you in the Bjorn (the only carrier you find acceptable outside the house) and walking with Daddy and Rodney.
I’m more comfortable being your mom. That’s a good start, little one.
I love you,