It’s nearly impossible to believe that Jackson has been with us for an entire month already. The days had crawled so slowly before he was born, and as tends to happen when you live with children, they have simply flown since then. I promised myself I would try to do a better job of documenting our life with him than I ever did with Hudson, so here I am, documenting.
After spending his first two weeks sleeping most of the time (to the point we’d started to worry about him), he realized (like his big sister) that being awake is way more interesting than being asleep, and settled into a groove of eating, hanging out, and sleeping, but the sleeping part got way harder. I had nearly forgotten the endless cycle of trying to rock, sing, bounce, nurse, or otherwise coax very obviously sleepy baby to sleep, only to have them wake up as soon as you try to put them down. Jackson is not nearly so sensitive as Hudson was, though, and is somewhat easier to transfer than she was, although he is equally stubborn about falling asleep. I can almost see that same determination in his eyes that Hudson used to have when it came to napping. We have one photo that her first day care gave us once of her at about 8 months old, asleep in her crib but sitting completely upright—she was exhausted but so determined not to lay down and miss anything. Her little brother appears to be the same way. I’ve had the most success by swaddling him and putting him in the vibrating bouncy seat until he dozes off—then he sleeps pretty soundly for a few hours in a row.
Sadly, we haven’t been able to keep him in our room at night. I worked so hard to get his co-sleeper ready, and jerry-rigged it just right to make it easy to nurse him at night, but we haven’t been able to use it. He sleeps in it just fine, but after his first nighttime feeding, usually around 11PM, he starts this crazy cycle of grunting and straining in his sleep, almost like he’s constipated, which he can’t possibly be. He cycles in and out of this with his REM and quiet sleep, but when he’s cranked up, it is incredibly loud and neither of us could sleep through it, so we had to move him into his crib in his second week. It’s so bizarre, because he appears to be totally asleep. I’m going to talk to the pediatrician about it at his one-month visit on Monday, but we can only guess that it has to do with his daytime gastrointestinal issues—he gulps a lot of air when nursing, spits up a lot, and has a lot of gas bubbles in his tummy. No lie—the kid can let out a man-sized burp. It makes me sad not to have him in our room, though. Hudson slept with us for four months, and I always loved waking up in the middle of the night and watching her tummy rise and fall with each breath. Not to mention it helps me get a lot more sleep when I don’t have to get out of bed for the middle of the night feedings. More than anything, I miss the morning snuggle time I had with Hudson—she would eat between 5 and 6 AM, and then we’d just sleep in the bed until she woke up for good around 9. Poor little Jackson spends those hours grunting and wriggling, which makes snuggling a little difficult. We’re going to keep trying different things to see if we can get it to settle down. I feel a little nuts—I think most parents at this stage are hoping to get their kids to sleep in their cribs (and indeed, the transition from co-sleeper to crib with Hudson was a multi-day process for us)—but it brings me so much comfort to have him in the room with us. And whenever I put him down in his crib, he just looks so small and lonely. Hopefully we’ll find a solution that will let him sleep in the room with us until he’s sleeping through the night.
Despite what appears to be some minor GI trouble, the kid is packing on the pounds. After the first week, when he gained about an ounce a day (this was the point when he was mostly sleeping), he’s gained about a pound a week. Last Friday, he weighed 10 pounds and 9 ounces (up from 8 pounds and 8 ounces at the pediatrician two weeks before). Looking at him, I can barely believe he’s only a month old.
While he has his share of fussy time (we’ve debated about whether he’s more or less fussy than Hudson—Ed thought maybe more, but I reminded him about all the hours we spent trying to soothe her, carrying her around in the sling, pushing her in the stroller around the kitchen table, bouncing her up and down on the exercise ball, doing the 5 Ss, but she turned a corner right at 6 weeks, which is when crying generally peaks), he has a lot of happy, contented time, too, although like with Hudson, the pacifier has become more of our friend than we would like. He loves baths and music (but Ed insists that he hates Neil Young) and staring at faces. He loves being outside—anytime we are having difficulty calming him down, we can walk him out the door into the soupy heat and he settles immediately. I suppose it’s almost like recreating the conditions of the womb. He loves to be sung to, especially the silly songs his dad makes up and his big sister’s favorites “The Wheels on the Bus” and pattycake. I swear that he almost smiles every time I grab his little hands and clap them together for pattycake (pattycake was the first interactive game Hudson played with us—I remember she did it for the first time when we were at the beach when she was nine months hold). His mouth makes the funniest little “O” shape whenever he’s peeing. He loves lying on the changing table staring at himself (or whatever else he sees) in the mirror near his face. Despite the fact that he’s still a little floppy holding his head up, he is unbelievably strong—he can push himself up on his arms momentarily when on his tummy and can already support his weight on his legs when he’s leaning on us. I imagine that he will be like his sister and will always want to be standing from a very early age.
He’s already had a number of adventures in his first few weeks. He’s been to North Carolina to meet his friends and family there, visited Hudson’s bench at the Arboretum twice, and taken a picnic and short hike in Rock Creek Park. Unfortunately, the weather here has remained really hot and humid, so we haven’t been able to be outside as much as I would like. Instead, we stay inside and watch episodes of “Lost” (which I had never seen) in rapid succession on Netflix. Well, I watch. He sleeps in my lap.
It has been a wondrous month. He has brought so much joy and light back into our lives, and I am so grateful for that. I am grateful for the number of times I smile every day and for the chance to be a mommy again. Even so, I am still so heartbroken for him and for us that he is not sharing these days with his big sister, who would have loved him like crazy and would have insisted on “helping” us with him all the time, I’m sure. It will never be right, but we will do our best to help him know her as much as is possible under these impossible circumstances. It will never be enough, but hopefully one day he will feel her presence and her love and her laughter and her joy as much as we do. And to it, he will add his own amazing presence and love and laughter and joy.
We are so lucky to have him.
Happy one-month birthday, my sweet boy. We all love you so much.