This month almost killed me.
I know I’ve said that before, but this time it was for an entirely different reason. This time I’m beginning to realize that when you decide to have a child, you’re signing up for thanking Jesus every night that you made it through one more day.
I’ve stopped waiting for some magical age when this will become easy. That thought was just the leftovers of Amanda Before She Had Children. Now I know that even when David is 17, Tom will come home from work and I’ll say, “Well. Today almost killed me, but we made it.” I’m sure that’s what my parents were doing when I was having bi-weekly emotional breakdowns at age 13 because they refused to buy me a horse.
For five months now David has responded to almost everything by screaming. He does not have acid reflux. He is not teething. He is not tired. He’s just a screamer.
We have a myriad of baby-entertainers in our home: bouncy seat, jumper, swing. He likes them for only as long as it takes for him to realize I’m trying to distract him so I can do something selfish and time-consuming like using the bathroom. He won’t play alone, he won’t play with me, he hates when I try to read books to him and don’t even THINK about putting him in a carrier. It’s not that I want a swing to raise my child, but even the most attentive mom needs to put on a clean pair of pants every now and then.
The only thing he really liked was 1) being held 2) being fed 3) the vacuum. All of those things make mama very.very tired.
Then one day, it all just changed. Suddenly he’s just a happy baby. I’ve been getting dressed and making dinner all without a screaming baby. I can make him laugh from across the room, I even took these photos while wearing David in a carrier.
David’s new outlook on life has made the second half of this month my favorite so far.
He weighs a whopping 19lbs and 9oz, most of which is cheeks. Sweet, chubby, rosy, delicious cheeks. Today for lunch I’m going to put them between two pieces of bread and gobble them up.
He love playing with his floppy doggy (thanks, Alli!) and LOVES my water bottle.
But his first love is Brigham. Whenever Brigham saunters in the room, David gets very quiet, almost reverent and looks at me with wide eyes. “Mama, do you see that? What IS that? I love it! I want to put it in my mouth!” He reaches his hands out just in case Brigham comes close, perhaps, PERHAPS!…even close enough to touch.
So far Brigham has been a good sport. As much as a cat can be a good sport, anyway.
Changing David’s diaper is now a bonafide extreme sport. Every change is a challenge for him to catapult himself off the changing table, snap bug style. Here’s a video of David on the changing table.
He’s also started sitting up. He’s still a little shaky, but he seems to like this new perspective.
Since David arrived all wrinkly and delicate, I’ve struggled with wishing away this phase. Family, friends and people in the grocery store all tell me, “Enjoy it, it goes so fast!” And I am enjoying it, but the screaming and the night-waking and the fact that he STILL refuses to take out the trash make me long for an older version of my baby. But this new thing he’s doing, sitting up, suddenly looks grown-up. Independent. When I saw that strong back and determined face, all I could think about was that he’s going to crawl away in a few days, go to college and never return my calls.
So maybe I can wait after all.
A few months ago David slept on my chest for almost all his naps. It was a bad habit, and I worried about him never napping in his crib. Now he never sleeps on my chest or in my arms. He rarely even lays his head down on my shoulder. So when he does, ohmygoodness I cherish it. I hug him close and close my eyes, rub his back, nuzzle his head and breathe the moment in until he realizes what he did and jerks his body to attention.
It almost makes me wonder if, one day, I’m going to miss all the holding…and nursing…and vacuuming.
First of all, let’s cool it with the changing table antics. It would be a lot less fun than you think to hurl yourself to the ground. Trust me on this one. Need I remind you that you have a soft spot in your skull?
This month we’ve seen so much more of your personality, and I love all of it. I love sneaking up on you and making funny faces. I love watching you discover your toys and try to fit things that are bigger than your head into your mouth. My favorite thing of all is your big, bright laugh.
Last week I was laying on the ground and you were sitting up on my belly. You were holding my hands for balance, and you grabbed my hand and stuck it in your mouth. You instantly locked your jaw and shook your head back and forth like a lion taking down a zebra.
I burst out laughing, and do you know what you did? You started laughing, too. That moment, laughing with you, well it sort of makes all the screaming worth it.
I love you so much.