I can’t believe it’s already been a month since Fred was born! It was just yesterday it seems I was lamenting the passing of time on Nyana’s second birthday, and now here Fred’s already a month old and well on his way to asking to borrow the keys to Daisy Rae. It’s been a crazy month filled with not a lot of sleep, and a fair bit of frustration. But there’s been a lot of fun along the way, too. Some highlights of Frederick’s first month that I never want to forget:
- His peachy-soft fuzzy head. Oh, his soft little head. In the middle of the night he falls asleep on my chest with his fuzzy little head nestled in the crook of my neck and I fall asleep nuzzling that fuzzy warm head with my nose. Delicious.
- His snorts and grunts. He’s a little porker. For real. He’s bottle-fed and every feed sounds like a troff in the barnyard with the snorting and the belching and the grunting. Nearly every meal ends with either vomit or flatulence, or both. It’s a stark contrast from our experiences with his sister who never took a bottle in her whole life—at Fred’s one month check up this week, he weighed in at a whopping twelve pounds, 5 ounces. That’s half his birthweight packed onto him again in his first five weeks. He’s going to be a sturdy boy.
- Our late-night singalongs. In Nyana’s tiny NICU days, I spent hours on end rocking her in a glider chair, singing her to sleep, and many of those songs I used to sing still get used at home to rock her to sleep in the middle of the night. Now that Fred is keeping me up all night, I’m finding myself singing him to sleep as well. Turns out I need to find new songs to sing to him, though—a few nights ago, as I was in the middle of a 4AM serenade of something I frequently sing to Nyana, I heard her sleepily crying from her bedroom, “No, mama! No song!” I think she thinks they’re her songs, and Fred should get his own.
- He’s wireless. I don’t mean to compare him to his sister, but the experience is completely different. Sure, we have a two year old and we’ve been doing this parenting thing for a while now, but we’ve never had a newborn before, nor have we had a tiny human who is free to move around the apartment without tethers. I sometimes need to remind myself that I can just pick him up and carry him anywhere I need to go, that he’s not confined to a radius of cords the way Nyana was. It’s nice having the healthy newborn experience.
- He loves baths. Loves ‘em. He has a quick moment of panic when he first gets submerged, then relaxes into a state of bliss as the warm water and bubbles take over. He especially loves when I can lean him back all the way so his ears are fully under, and only his little face is free of the water. And again, unlike his sister who used to scream through most of the bath routine most of the time, Fred also loves the post-bath full-body massage.
- The calm serenity. Don’t get me wrong, 99% of the time it’s a chaotic zoo around our house. But there are a few small pockets of time when the elements align perfectly and we get moments of serene calm, and currently four o’clock in the morning is one of my favourite times of day. Last night I sat in the dark living room at 4AM, listening to the sounds of everyone else sleeping. I watched snow fall on the highway outside our living room window and I simply appreciated how quiet everything was. It’s just a nice contrast to the noisy jumble that is a typical day lately, and it’s a nice contrast to the white noise that used to accompany Nyana’s baby days. In addition to 4AM, 4PM is quickly becoming a favourite time as well, as sleep schedules have aligned and both Fred and Nyana share a synchronized nap. I’m not expecting this afternoon calm to last for long but I’ll take it when I can get it.
- Nyana is starting to like him. It’s taken nearly the whole month but Nyana is finally starting to warm up to Fred. We finally clued in one day that it’s not that she didn’t like Fred at the beginning, she just didn’t know what to do with him. She’s become much more comfortable with him and will now help us feed him or grab his Suck-A-Cat soother for him. She’s also started kissing him on the forehead at bedtime and saying “love you, Fred.” She’s going to be the best big sister.
- This is really hard. Parenting is hard and it never stops. The laundry. The lack of sleep. The temper tantrums and the purple crying and the two kids who both need the same amount of love at the same time. I had a nap today and when Don woke me up a few hours into it, I told him I want nothing more than to crawl into bed one night and stay there until I decide I’m done sleeping. Being mum to two is hard and it’s going to get harder before it gets easier. Don and I have decided we can only take a “see you on the other side” approach, and make sure we pause for a hug at least once a day along the way.
Fred’s first month has flown by, so much so that I’m almost a week late for his one-month post. I know I just have to blink and he’ll be two months, then six months, then a year, then graduating from college. People everywhere tell me to be sure I stop and enjoy this time I have when the kids are small, that it goes by so fast. But it’s so hard to savour each moment when so many days feel like a challenge just to get both kids to bed at the end of it. But through the exhaustion and the adjustment, all four of us are having a ton of fun… that must mean we’re doing it right. Right?