Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Two Months with Sean

Life in Sean's second month: it all depends on perspective. From one angle (the cynical angle?) you could say that from August 3 to September 3 was a very uneventful month, in the sense that day-to-day life with a small baby is uneventful. There's no partying, in fact very little leaving the house even, and the days are a general (if somewhat fluctuating) pattern of Sean nursing, being awake, pooping, fussing, nursing again, sleeping, waking up, and OH YEAH nursing again. That's the cynical angle. But I don't think cynics really have babies very much, or at least I don't think they can stay cynics once they do, because there's nothing like living with a baby at close quarters to open up one's eyes to wonder.

This second month, for example, is the one in which Sean decided he likes his play mat. The play mat is a hand-me-down from my friend Laura, and when she gave it to me I thought it probably wouldn't be used for a number of months. I remember putting Sean on it once when he was just a few weeks old, and he promptly burst into tears– frightened, perhaps, of the dangling elephants, or perhaps just annoyed with being flat on his back. But lo and behold, at six weeks he decided that the elephants are kind of cool, and every day since then he spends a substantial amount of his awake time on the mat, kicking and wriggling and holding long cooing conversations with the blue elephants (I think they're telling each other their life stories.)

The second month has also marked the beginning of regular evening walks in the stroller around the little loop of our subdivision– so far Sean seems generally more interested in reading the warning label on the inside edge of the stroller than in looking out at the scenery. Perhaps he's just concerned about all the ways he could die as the result of parental incompetence. Seriously, I have thanked the Lord so many times that Sean will not remember being a baby (and therefore not remember just how much I didn't know what I was doing!)

He laughed for the first and second times this past month– real chuckling laughs, too. I dare any cynic to look at a laughing baby and not melt like butter on a hot day. Since then Sean has developed his own particular kind of squeak in the back of his throat that is his signal of amusement, and that is very adorable too. He can keep me up half the night or refuse to nap during the day (we've endured several nap strikes, fearsome things!)  and be clingy or cranky till I feel like a quivering gelatinous mass of desperation and exhaustion, and then all he has to do is grin up at me with his sparkling eyes (just like his daddy's) and coo and squeak at me as if it's all very funny, and I melt and start to laugh too. It's going to be scary when this kid figures out how easy it is to twist me round his finger with just a grin and a giggle! 

I've started reading out loud to him (no sense in delaying or leaving his future as a bookworm up to chance, right?!) and every afternoon when he's nursed and happy I sit him on my lap, propped to the side with his head against a pillow so that we can look at each other, and read him a chapter of The Jesus Storybook Bible. He listens with a wise expression on his face. He loves to make eye contact with me so I try to glance at the page quickly and then look at him as I say the words. I've thought how fun it would be to memorize poems and stories and be able to tell them to him at the drop of a hat, no book necessary. (So few children are read to, nowadays; I can only imagine how much rarer it is for a child to be told a story without a book. Maybe I can become that cool story-telling mom. "I want to go play at Sean's house. Maybe Sean's mom will tell us a story!" Or would that make me the weird mom?)

This little boy is so alert, so aware, and he moves so much– the only time he's really still is when he's in deep sleep. In the first part of his sleep cycle, he's still twitching and startling. Sometimes when he startles both his arms will raise as if by strings, and he looks like a tiny conductor leading his orchestra into a crashing crescendo.  He's not at all a placid child, far from the laid back baby that his father was. Sean has definite ideas of how his life ought to proceed, and he is very vocal in his displeasure when Mama or Daddy fails to conform. Sometimes, when I bring him close to nurse (the one-and-only sure-fire method of comforting away his fussing) he will continue to grumble even after he's latched on, or he'll pull off with a melodramatic cry before greedily getting back to business, as if he's wanting me to know JUST HOW MISERABLE he was before! He's active and busy, rolling over, lifting up his head, kicking and boxing, doing Pilates moves, pretending to crawl or swim on his blanket. He thinks he should be able to stand up, and when he's lying face-forward on my chest he'll tense his legs and shove off as if by sheer force and will power he can catapult himself forward through several more months' development. 

He loves bath time now, thanks to the Angel Care bath seat that was worth every bit of the twenty bucks I paid for it on Amazon. I'm not sure if it's the warm water, or being naked, or the seat itself, but bathtime is sure to make him cheerful even if he was fussy before. Sometimes I wish that I believed in bathing him every night just because he likes it so much, but he doesn't really get dirty and I don't want to dry out his little baby skin.

Also zits. Baby zits. Has any other mama had to resist the temptation to pop their baby's zits? He had one on his earlobe once that I couldn't resist– he was nursing and didn't seem to notice, and I realized my own earlobe doesn't really have much in the way of nerve endings so his probably doesn't either. But I secretly wondered if I was a horrible mother for not leaving him alone.

There's still no sleep pattern– every so often he'll give us a seven or eight hour stretch at night and I wake up feeling like Superwoman. I actually get dressed before lunch and do dishes and things! It's amazing! But then the next night he'll get up three times, or be awake from four to six, and I know that those magical eight hour stretches are just to tantalize me, a mirage of how easy and productive life could be. And then I remember that he's only going to be two months old for a little while and before I know it these glorious impossible newborn days will be over, and I hug him and kiss him and fearfully eye the growing stack of onesies that he's already too big to wear.

I thought before he was born I might have difficulty in bonding. I wondered how I would be able to love him the way I love his sisters. But loving him has turned out to be another rhythm as instinctive as breathing.


1 month

2 months