I love month three.
It’s when you get your first real glimpse of your baby’s personality as they start to shake of their newborn newness. It’s all so wonderful that I almost don’t mind that my hair has started falling out by the handful. At the very end of this month, Thomas started sucking on his fingers and waving at the toys on his bouncy seat. He’s laughing now. It’s like he got a software upgrade and version 2.0 includes chubby thighs.
I used that joke, the software upgrade one, in Mary Virginia’s three-month update. I re-used it because I think it’s a good joke and, well, third kid.
Thomas is huge. He’s chubby and long and everyone always thinks he’s older than he really is, despite his sub-par head control. His 3-6 month clothes are getting snug, and he weighs over 15 pounds. If he continues gaining weight at this rate, he’ll weigh 300 pounds by the time he’s 10 years old.
(That joke? It was from David’s four-month update.)
Thomas eats every 2-3 hours, and usually wakes up to eat twice at night and goes right back to sleep. Though, he’s starting to show signs of sleeping better. He usually takes a morning nap, and then a few catnaps in the afternoon. His naps are getting shorter and more precarious.
He’s starting, slowly to settle into a little routine. Or maybe he would if I wasn’t always toting him to the park or Starbucks or playdates. He seems to prefer days when we stay home, but he’s remarkably flexible on days we go out.
I have to tell you about this one thing Thomas does.
I’ve read several books about baby sleep patterns, and every single one says you should put babies to bed sleepy, but awake. That way they’ll learn to fall asleep on their own instead of relying on bad sleep habits.I’ve never seen a baby fall asleep on its own, so I’ve always assumed that part of the books was fiction.
Then one night Thomas was fussing and I couldn’t get him to stop, so I ignored every one of my instincts and put him down. Five minutes later he was asleep. And then my head exploded, which woke him up.
Every night I nurse Thomas, swaddle him, and put him in his crib, awake. He coos and looks around, then falls asleep on his own.
Now that I have a baby who goes to sleep without help from me, whenever I hear moms say they nurse their babies to sleep, or rock them, or drive them around until they fall asleep in their carseats, I roll my eyes in complete judgement because it’s SO EASY!
Thomas is a sweet baby. He is smiley, loves to be held and is content to rest in his swing.
Maybe content is the wrong word. “Content” meaning, I worry he thinks the swing is his mother. Because that’s where I put him when I need two hands.
Sometimes when I put him in his swing and he catches a glimpse of the mobile, he gives it the same open-mouthed smile he gives me, and a huge wave of guilt washes over me.
And then David piles scrambled eggs on the living room floor because he’s worried that cat hasn’t had breakfast. And then Mary Virginia steps in the scrambled eggs and all that guilt evaporates because MAMA’S GOTTA MOVE!!!
We moved Thomas to his room this month. No big deal, right? This is my third baby. I’m a seasoned pro, hardened by four solid years of sleep deprivation and finding half-eaten apples under my couch.
I swaddled Thomas, put him to bed, then I laid awake for over an hour and fought the urge to go climb in his crib where I was sure he was writing country songs about his absent mother who abandoned him twenty feet and two doors away.
Even though you’re my third baby, you’re still my baby. You have a life ahead of you of hand-me-downs and being called “David’s little brother” at school, but you’re unique; uniquely created and uniquely loved.
When I read the letters I wrote for your brother and your sister, there’s an obvious theme that I didn’t intend when I was writing them. For David it was, “Being a mom is so hard, but I love you so much, and do you think you could stop screaming please?” For Mary Virginia it was, “You are the sweetest baby in the world except that you never sleep and you’re always sick.”
This is only your third update, but a theme is already emerging: I’m sorry I’m so busy; I’m not going to love you perfectly, but I do love you.
When David was born I was 100% disillusioned about my ability to be a mother, and struggled through months of realizing I’d never be the mom I thought I would be. When Mary Virginia was born, I struggled through months of guilt for ignoring one child to take care of the needs of the other.
And now you are here, and I already know exactly what you’ve been born into. You have a mom who cannot love you perfectly, siblings who are growing and learning along side you. On my bad days, I feel guilty. On my good days, I pray that you’ll feel the imperfection of your parents and you’ll look to Jesus and you’ll know that He loves you completely. He will never be to busy, too tired or too impatient.
One of the last things I do every night is check on my babies. I look at you, sleeping, and am filled with overwhelming love for you, and then I go to sleep. God never sleeps. He’s always watching, loving, caring. Look to him, baby Thomas. My prayer is that that will be your theme; look to Jesus.