Listen, I don’t want to inflate your ego too much because you are still a very new person, but this month you became known as THE BEST BABY IN THE WORLD. I will tell you how.
First off, you started really smiling. Like, all the time. Big, wide, gummy smiles that span from ear to ear and make your left eye just a smidge squintier than the right. These smiles come especially easy early in the day but pretty much any time your daddy or I will look at you and grin, you will smile back big as you can. Your smile is completely un-self-conscious, as only a baby’s smile can be. Your smiling and your cooing amaze and delight us. Like, who is this little man with our DNA who is so beautiful and so sweet and so smiley? It’s you! And you live in this house with us and watch us go about our business, and some days you require more wardrobe changes than Lady Gaga during one of her horrible concerts (I wonder if she will still be around when you grow up). Seriously, though, it’s kind of weird how you ramped up the smiling at the same time you ramped up the barfing. I remember asking Amy, our midwife, when you were just a few weeks old if breastfed babies spit up much less than other babies. That’s how infrequently you used to barf, Buds. But now? I walk around with soaked shoulders and we’ve got burp rags stashed around strategically throughout the house. Of course, that does not mean we can ever get to one when we need it. That is one of the many properties of Murphy’s Law.
The other big deal this month is that we introduced you to your crib gradually — for naps and playtime at first — so that we could work toward getting you comfortable sleeping there. Then I started you on a bedtime routine (bath, book, boob, bed) and exactly one week after the routine started, on your 12-week birthday, you SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT IN YOUR CRIB. You cannot possibly comprehend how big of a deal this is to us until you have your own little sleepless bundle of joy some day (which you totally better because I cannot wait to rock some grandma socks). The first long stretch you achieved was six hours. The next night, you pushed nine. The few nights after that were around six and then three after a feeding. You slipped one night and stayed awake for a couple of hours between sleep blocs but your daddy handled those nights while I snoozed, oblivious, in the next room, so I am not complaining too much (for once). Last night you slept TEN HOURS STRAIGHT. I hope the allcaps conveys my mix of incredulousness and gratefulness and amazement. I was so hung up on the sleep thing (having realized how important some sort of predictability was going to be when I headed back to work) and you just sort of said, “Cool, ma, I got this” one night and that was that. I realize there might be a regression or two in the future — that’s normal — but I am so stoked about this. It’s been a total game changer for us. Finally, when complete strangers stop us and ask how old you are, and they remark about how cute and how bright-eyed you are, and they ask, “Is he sleeping through the night?” I can, instead of putting my hand to my forehead and fainting in exasperation of even being asked, proudly beam and say, “YES, AND NEXT WEEK HE WILL CHANGE HIS OWN DIAPERS.” No one needs to know that that’s not true except you and me, Baby Buds. What is weird about your new sleeping habits is this: The routine we had gotten so used to (see this post) is now shifting to something we haven’t quite figured out yet. You’d think it would be as simple for me as “go to bed and then wake up when the baby cries” but then you would be forgetting the THREE THOUSAND times I have to get up to come check on you because it is unsettling to not hear a peep from you for hours and hours and hours at a time. I get a chuckle of seeing where you end up in the crib. You scoot around like the hands on a clock. Your dad and I got so used to shift sleeping that we are going to have to relearn how to share the bed. For him, that means getting reacquainted with my snoring and sleep apnea and for me, that means trying not to crap myself when he sits bolt upright for no reason or when he moans and swings his arm in the air like he is swatting bees, or when he prepares to karate chop my face if my feet accidentally touch him. Now do you see why co-sleeping was not a great option for all of us?
Now. Can we talk for a minute about the tub? Oh man. When you were brand new, I didn’t want to wash your new baby smell off. I finally relented a week after you were born because, I’ll be honest, you were getting a little ripe. But your dad and I never hopped on the frequent bath bandwagon early on like a lot of folks do. Probably because you seemed so very fragile to us and also because you’re not a very smelly person just yet. But when I started your bedtime routine, I decided to include a bath, because so many people had told me it worked for them. It took you a couple of days to wrap your head around exactly what was going on, I think, because for the first couple of sessions you sat there in the tub, perfectly still, with your little fists balled up, suspicious of everything around you. But the night you figured out how to splash? Hahahahahaha. So priceless. First it was a little splash and then another small one while you tried to figure out how water got on your face. Then a big splash and your eyes would get wide when you figured out you were making that noise. You’d splash with your feet and then get your arms going too, sometimes so fast it looked like you were running in place in your little tub. Here’s some video from an intentionally bad angle. I have much better video from a much cuter angle, but I decided I wouldn’t put your boy parts on the internet; that is a decision you have to make in your own time (and can I advise you not to do it for free? or maybe at all?).
Look at you go, my little water baby. After all, that’s how you entered this world. It makes sense that that’s where you’d really enjoy spending your time.
This month was a pretty social one for you. We took our longest road trip yet (we stopped once each way to nurse, and you were a pretty good traveler overall) and visited some of Nashville’s finest ladies at your first sip ‘n’ see, hosted by Aunt Crystal and Aunt Lesley. Just look at you up there charming the gals. Of course, this is after you pooped on Aunt Jamie and she was sweet enough to change your diaper. I’m glad you’re so cute because I think it distracted our wonderful friends from the dumb things your mother said, like when she talked about “freeballing” whenever she gets the chance. Seriously, I will understand if you decide you want to be emancipated before you turn 12.
You were pretty chill about being passed around because there were so many soft boobs to rest on. You truly have refined yet simple tastes, my boy. You sort of napped off and on as we ate brie and cupcakes dusted with edible glitter (which made me feel not unlike Marie Antoinette). And you got tons of cool new toys and cute new clothes and truly, Holden, could we ask for better people in our lives? The answer is a resounding hell no. We are blessed, lucky, and fortunate.
You made some friends your own age this month too. Delihound and MrsLawComic managed to get out of the house long enough to have a nice, leisurely lunch with us at Three Angels Diner, during which we rocked carriers and popped in pacis and changed diapers and did everything we could to keep you and Marlowe and McKenley nice and amiable for the lunch crowd. It was great for your mom to get out and commiserate with other new moms, and I’m sure the networking was good for you too. Have you added the girls on LinkedIn yet? No? Well, prepare to get a hundred e-mails a week about that. Oh man, I can’t wait to see just how little sense that joke makes to you when you can finally read it.
You still hate tummy time but you’re starting to get the hang of grasping items and bringing them to your mouth, although I’m pretty sure you have no idea you’re doing it. What you DO know how to do, however, is suck on your hands. Oh man, you go to town on those things. When you wake up at night, that’s how you soothe yourself back to sleep. Good ol’ hand sucking. Sometimes you get a finger so far back that you trigger your gag reflex, but even that does not deter you from your most delicious hands. I keep watching to see if I can tell which hand you favor, and I am leaning toward your right. And I get a little thrill when I see you sucking your right thumb, Buds, because I sucked my right thumb until I was 12. DO NOT DO THAT. It will bring the family much shame, trust me.
We had our second outing away from you the other night. Grammy and Paw came down and Paw, daddy, and I went to a Grizzlies game (and complained like ancient curmudgeons about ticket prices) while Grammy stayed behind to put you to bed. You went out like a champ for her, although it was a bit earlier than you’re used to so you woke up in the wee hours and wanted to be fed. That’s okay. Your dad enjoyed his cuddle time with you when he gave you a bottle. It’s getting a little easier to leave you with Grammy, but I missed you something fierce as soon as we settled into our seats and the game started. I can’t wait until you’re old enough to go to fun stuff like basketball games with us. You are going to be the trash-talkingest kid around if you take after your folks.
We’ve had an insanely mild winter, Holden. That’s good in many ways because it means your nursery has been a livable temperature rather than the 20 degrees we were afraid it would be once it really got cold, but I’m afraid it might mean that by the time you are an adult, we will be living on a scorching ball of lava. Just the other day I took you outside and we laid in the sun on a blanket. IN JANUARY. You were pretty pissed off at the sun being in your face but after a while you laid there and looked at the trees and the sky. Spring will be here soon and we are going to have such fabulous adventures. Many of those adventures might involve running shrieking from bees but what would life be without the constant threat of insect terrorism?
My maternity leave officially ended today, but, thanks to my very understanding bosses, I get to work from home this month. So that means you and I have a little more time to spend together before I have to go back to the office full time. Let’s make it count.