Friday, June 24, 2011

Jackson at One Month

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.


  1. He got that Neil Young thing from Aunt Diane. Hugs.

  2. We really do, you know. Even us strangers in the computer. Thanks for sharing these details of Jackson's quirks and mannerisms. I am eating it all up!

  3. And on a more pragmatic note, our doc. suggested infant probiotics to help with gas pain. While it seemed hilarious and crazy, we tried it and it might have helped a little.

  4. The noise and grunting is totally normal. When I had my first I went to a support group for parents of newborns taught by an amazing nurse and parent educator. She told us (and we learned through common experience because there were 15 newborns and their parents in the room at any given time)that babies are incredibly noisy sleepers. They grunt and make noises and even cry, all in their sleep. Many of the parents in the room complained about the same problem you are and moved their babies into their cribs even though the AAP recommends social sleeping for the first 6 months of life.

    I guess part of it is the baby's immature gut, learning how to control the muscles to poop, and a lot of the noises come from the nose and are due to a baby's incredibly tiny sinuses and airway that can get irritated by dusts on the outside. Once all those systems acclimate you will have a quiet, although maybe not through the night sleeper.

    Have no worries about getting your sleep and cuddle time together, like everything with kids, it will pass and something new will come along. You will then be able to have him in your room and cuddle to your heart's content. One of my favorite things is waking up with my baby laying next to me and just enjoying those first few minutes together. My kids are always so happy and joyful when they first wake up.

    So strange that the same month you were done counting backwards, this new joy came to your life and gave you something to count forwards. Of course, Hudson will always be there, but it is so wonderful to have someone else there too.

    So wonderful to hear about little Jackson. Continued wishes for peace during this time of adjustment for all of you.

    Erica Marcoux

  5. Tyson was the same way with squirmy gas pain. We gave him infant gas-X (little tummies) which seemed to help. He was never able to sleep in the vibrating chair like his older brother. It is funny though, although my boys are 15 months apart. It was easy to forget the stages that the first went through--- that was until the second reminded us! It is definably different between the two, but all too familiar at the same time.

  6. Jackson is so incredibly cute and I cannot believe how much he has changed from the first pictures you showed of him.

    What I found interesting about him calming down when you take him outside... We live in Singapore where the temperature is always around 33C Celsius/93 Fahrenheit and 85% humidity. It is like living in a sauna and sometimes too much to bear. Yet, the newborns of my friends all seem to enjoy the soupy climate.

    Jana F./Singapore

  7. Jackson is just as delicious as his big sister. What a great expression he has on his face next to the giant penguin. Adorable boy! Enjoy!

  8. LOVE this post! Thanks for sharing Jackson's early days.

  9. Sounds like an amazing month—and it seemed fast even from the outside!

  10. Love the picture with the penguin! I agree with Sara - the month went fast for the readers too. Can't wait to watch Jackson grow!

  11. It's true, we all love you and Hudson so much. I will stop by to see you soon. I wanted to give you time to get used to your environment and spend quality time with your parents before this eager "mama friend" comes over. Renee P.

  12. Happy one-month birthday little Jackson! You are so handsome and so lucky to be part of your family!

    Mandy, I am a local in nearby Silver Spring, and I thought of you today while at the national zoo with my family. I was hoping you and your family got to enjoy the unseasonably cool and dry DC day.

    You may not realize this, but your post describing Jackson's unique sleeping needs show just how beautifully and naturally you are adjusting to parenting him, a baby who is distinct from his beloved big sister. I hope that can bring you a little relief from some of your worries about how to parent both of your children at the same time. You are doing a spectacular job under impossible circumstances.

  13. I could eat him up! He is simply adorable.

  14. I can't believe how much he resembles Hudson! What a great picture! I wish I had advice about the sleep sounds (so cute) and getting him back in your room. We co-sleep as well so I understand the longing. My only advice is ear plugs! ;o)

  15. I was told (and believe) that some baby grunting, spitting up, fussiness, gas, is normal. However, I have a wonderful, proactive pediatrician who asked me to bring in a diaper when I told her that my son was grunting, squirming, and straining in the night like he was constipated (though he couldn't possibly be). She tested his stools and found microscopic blood, a symptom of MSPI. I rid my diet of dairy and soy (I nursed), and once his system was rid of the earlier ingested dairy and soy, much of the grunting, spitting up, and fussiness ceased (notice I said much---not all :-)). He was about 4-6 weeks old when I casually mentioned the squirming, grunting, etc. at the appointment, and I'm so glad she suggested the stool check, and we were able to get him more comfortable sooner rather than later.

  16. Hi, Chaneys!
    I come to this blog every once in a while, and came today to see if the baby had been born yet - woo hoo!!!! I know I'm very late, but congratulations! What a joy. I just had to comment because, about 4 months ago when we brought our first child, Harry, home here in Durham, NC, I watched the first four seasons of Lost (on Netflix) in an embarrassingly short amount of time. Then I got over it, though it was a great show. It's wild how that time of having a new baby in the house is both so incredibly strange and so similar to all the other households out there going through it.
    Anyway, sending you all the best, best wishes from NC. As always, I am blown away by this blog and by you.
    Erwin Byrd