Month 4

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August 30, 2013 by 8junebugs

Dear Grayson —

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This is the month when you started talking to us!

The first time I heard your voice — your non-screaming, non-squawking voice — was on the changing table. I was singing “You Are My Sunshine,” as I do, and I swear you were trying to sing along. You try even harder when I get to the ABCs song, which is even cuter than the way you anticipate my grabbing your belly on the “G.” You babble on your playmat and in your crib now, too. I like to think you’re talking to the monkeys and other critters hanging over you in each space. It’s just made me even more excited to hear your first words.

This is the month when you found your feet! You are slightly less fascinated with them than we were led to expect, but still suitably interested.

You have also rolled from your tummy to your back and intentionally pet the dog, who stayed within reach for at least 20 seconds. You are the kicking-est baby I have ever known…and we have only encouraged that by putting you on a playmat with a piano for your feet. You grab toys, glasses, faces, burp rags, and pieces of your own body…pieces that you might want to be a little more gentle with, honestly, but you’ll only learn that one the hard way. (Sorry about your fingernails — I’m doing the best I can!) And everything that can go straight to your mouth does so.

This month has also been a perfect storm of difficult developmental stuff for you, kiddo. There was the 3-month growth spurt (now with pre-teething discomfort and drool!), plus “Leap 4” in the Wonder Weeks calendar, plus the 4-month sleep regression (which may be the same thing as the Wonder Weeks leap, depending on whom you ask)… I talked about this a little bit last month, but it just. keeps. going. You have been fighting sleep for, like, a hundred years, pal. (Mommy has a thing for hyperbole. Daddy does, too.)

You have to wonder how your grandparents muddled through without knowing what was making us insufferable every other week. The truth is, knowing what’s going on hasn’t made it much easier. In our more lucid, french-roast-fueled moments, we can step back and realize that growing and learning is really hard work and you are just a wee boy. Your world changes every single day, even when nothing changes at all.

And sometimes, in the middle of the night, in a sleep-deprived haze, we may threaten to sell you to the circus. Know that we love you more than anything and are just really, really not at our best right now. (We will not really sell you to the circus. I think they only take volunteers.) You are learning so much, all at once, and growing out of two or three things every five minutes, and we’re having a tough time keeping up with you.

What do you mean the diapers are too small? They were huge three days ago and are supposed to last from 14 to 30 pounds?!

You seem to hit each new milestone early, as though you’re stubbornly sticking with your due date instead of your birth date. Things you weren’t “supposed to” do until four months or so — like object permanence/watching us to make sure we don’t leave you on your own to sleep — came on us a little after the three-month point.

Which is just one more reason why getting you to go to sleep and stay asleep has been such a bloody nightmare. Last night, though, almost as if you know it’s your 4-month-iversary and you need to settle down before Mommy loses her fucking mind, you gave me a four-hour block of sleep, followed by another one almost as long. And you didn’t even really wake up for your feeding — one of the benefits of bringing you back into our bed for part of the night.

ThumbsOne of the other benefits is that I get to see the content, satisfied little look on your face. When you sleep on your own, you look a bit disapproving about the whole thing. When you’re with us, you relax and look much happier. And on nights like last night, we all sleep better.

This is also the month when I went back to work after being out for about five months. It’s been better and worse than I expected (and it’s probably not helping your ongoing effort to Figure Things Out). I love my work, buddy, and one of the greatest hopes I have for you is that you will be able to make a living doing what you are best at. The way we can encourage that, I think, is to do it, and for Daddy and I to try as hard as we can to find the right balance for our family.

I also hope that, by the time you read this, it will be easier for all families to find this balance. We are really, really lucky, kiddo — Daddy can be at home with you right now, and I get to work from home as often as not, so we’re able to care for you ourselves and bypass at least one of the hardest back-to-work decisions so many parents face. When I do have to be in the office, there’s a room where nursing moms can pump and store breastmilk throughout the day, so we can keep feeding you what we want, even if not always how we want. (And by “we,” I mean “I.” Feeding you directly is not always easy, now that you want to see what’s going on at all times, but it’s less complicated.) And when you’re sick or need to see the doctor, my company does not limit the amount of paid time off I can use to take care of you.

If we’ve known about the 4-month sleep regression all along, how can it possibly be legal to send parents back to work before 5 months? ~Daddy

This is what a company that supports families and work/life balance looks like, Grayson. I don’t know what this will look like when you’re grown up, if you decide to have kids, but I hope we’re paving the way for it to be easier. It should be easier. Everyone should have the choices and support we have.

You’ve met a lot of people this month, buddy. A lot of friends came to watch drum corps at our house; I hope we’ll still be hosting that when you’re old enough to enjoy it, too. (Later, you may want to know that the Blue Knights’ 2013 show made you cry EVERY TIME it came on the screen. One time, you woke up screaming from a nap as they took the field.)

With_Lilly

More family came to visit you this month, too. You met Aunt Janet and Uncle Sean, as well as cousin Lilly and her little ones. This made me really happy, buddy. As you grow up, you’re going to hear lots of stories about how Mommy’s cousins were her first friends; that’s harder now, for you, but still really, really important to me.

You also met a lot of neighbors at the National Night Out block party, which came with a very long night of interrupted sleep while your baby brain processed it all. I haven’t decided what I think is the nicest thing about that party — the older ladies clucking over you (they watched me waddle around for a month and a half before you came out) or the younger couples who’ve moved more little kids onto our street.

Either way, home started to feel a little more like Home this month, and you were a big part of it.

Love,
Mommy

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