Mac has woken up again from his 2:30 nap (and, as such, has also woken me up from a rare nap time of my own), so I’m sitting in his nursery writing. Maybe this was a gift.
This post is inspired by the husband of a friend of mine. Charlie Peters is chronicling the life of a stay-at-home-dad, and reading the loveliness he’s been writing has made me itch to sit down and write my own account.
We’ve hit a new phase of sleep training this week: the cry it out phase. Mac is officially old enough, according to the nurses who wrote our sleep training books, Moms On Call, to sleep through the night without a middle-of-the-night feeding. He’s getting all the calories he needs during his waking hours, just like we do. He can also see as far and as clearly as we can, which has blown my mind. I’ve been testing this theory by making faces at him from a distance, across a room. It holds up. He thinks I’m just as funny from 7 feet away as he does from 7 inches away.
This new crying it out thing has meant we’ve had to listen to Mac crying and not do anything about it. Hard for me, but harder for Jordan, who is the most sweet-hearted and wants to rush to Mac’s aid at any opportunity. I love that about him. But it also means that he has had to be in a separate room from me during the crying, because his sweetness would’ve made me cave. I’m so glad we didn’t. Mac slept through the night - from 7:30 PM to 7 AM - last night without incident, tantrum, not even a squeak. I am so proud of him, and this means I get to finally move back into my bedroom.
I’ve been sleeping in the guest bedroom since he moved to his crib. Initially, it was because I couldn’t climb up and down the stairs in the middle of the night with the incision, but now it’s been out of sheer laziness. Walking across the hall is much better than traversing the stairs at 4:30 AM, and Jordan is a champ who falls asleep with me, then goes downstairs when I get up to feed Mac.
Now, though, that’ll be different. I think it’ll be weird to actually sleep in my bed again. I wonder if it will make me feel a little lonely to leave my pal upstairs alone! But he’s not alone. Not really.
I wonder if he’ll totally blow the whole “sleeping through the night” thing to bits tonight and just explode with fury, just to show he’s still in charge.
Before I got pregnant, I worried that I would get the post-partum blues because I’d be in the house with Mac all the time. I’ve been delighted to discover that I adore this phase of life, so much so that when we do go out, I find myself overly protective of him and eager to get back home. I’m also finding myself increasingly judgmental of other parents. I saw a young mother actually slap the arm of her 4-year-old daughter in Target yesterday when the little girl reached for something. With Mac sleeping in the buggie I was pushing, I stood at the end of an aisle and craned my neck, hoping she’d see me so I could give her a disapproving look. (I could hear Jordan in my head saying, “Girl, don’t you get yourself into trouble by starting something you can’t finish!”) She never looked up, which is probably good, because she ended up in the checkout line directly behind me. It looked like she’d been crying. I guess we’re all doing our best.
Getting showered and dressed is a new series of self-care tasks - making sure my breasts are cared for so I can continue to feed my soon, putting ointment on my incision and massaging it so that I don’t get toughened scar tissue hanging over the top of it like a bad beer belly. The massage hurts a little still, but I reward myself with the prenatals I’m still taking. Gummies, obviously. Because I am 8.
Mac is obsessed with music and percussive sounds. The “motorboat” sound, the bass in a pop song, drums - he is totally soothed by all of that. The night of his 2-month shots, he threw a MAJOR fit and was only consoled by the song Makeba by the artist Jain. It was in a Nike commercial and a friend of mine sent it to me. What would we do without Makeba?! We find a reason to play it nearly every day. That particulars night, we played it 70 times in a row. Conservatively. I can still picture Jordan, shirtless from having jumped out of the shower upon Mac’s screaming a story away, hair wet and towel slung around his waist, maniacally dancing for Mac in our guest bathroom where we tried to bathe him to soothe him. He said his dad danced for him when he was a baby, and that that’s how his dad threw his back out for the first time. Laughing with him in the midst of Mac screaming has made for some of the sweetest memories. Especially when, as he was rocking Mac in a small moment of relief, his towel dropped. And he couldn’t stop to adjust it. Best.
I keep wondering when the Mamaroo is going to just heave a sigh and give up. I can’t imagine it’s easy swinging a 15-pound 3.5 month old for 45 minutes in a row. (I actually don’t have to imagine, I know.) I think it might actually start swearing at me before long.
Mac has started to really enjoy being rocked while vertical instead of in the “normal” baby hold with his head in the crook of one arm and his feet in the other. I find this particularly delicious because I get to hear his nighttime sounds - the little coos and tired whines that are just his way of winding down. It makes me wonder what we as adults would do if it hadn’t been beaten out of us by propriety. What sounds would we make and reactions would we have? Would we blow spit bubbles at people we like? Okay maybe that’s too far. That’d probably be a reason to suspect brain damage. But you get my point. The sweet sounds and the unhappy sounds - they really are so natural. He reminds me of everything pure, as he’s the purest form of person. His face rests against my cheek so that when I put him down in the crib, carefully, slowly, he has a red circle on near his eye from the warmth of our connection. I can’t imagine him ever being older and bigger than this.
He doesn’t care about toys. At all. He cares about talking, music, eye contact, and human touch. He likes being read to, dancing, splashing in his bath. I’m afraid he’s his mother’s son.
He and Tom Hanks are starting to discover each other and it’s fantastic.
I’m sitting in the rocker now typing all this, looking at the bottle on the bookshelf that needs washing, thinking about how I need to go chop off another 2 oz of breast milk from a 6 oz storage bag. Mac likes what Jordan calls a “topper” each night - both boobs and 2 more ounces. Works like a charm. Sleeps like a...well, baby. Although he hasn’t napped well today. But he does, for the most part, keep himself on a schedule. Why anyone doesn’t sleep train their kid I’ll never understand. I am so comforted by the schedule. But here’s where I’ll remind myself of the Target lesson.
Today marks 15 weeks of knowing and loving this little person. Unlike many, I can remember life without him. It’s like an old song I still know all the words to. But I sure like singing this new one.