You are only six weeks old and I am already behind--I had such good intentions of writing these letters every month. Hopefully I will catch up after this non-auspicious start.
The first few weeks of your life were as intense as I'd expected, and then some. We started out with a brief hospitalization for your jaundice, which managed to completely freak me out, but turned out to be not that big a deal. Since then, though, pretty well everything has gone far better than I'd expected it would. I know it's a jinx to say this, but I have to put it down for prosperity anyway--you're a blessedly easy baby. From the beginning, you've eaten well, slept well, and been a generally happy little guy. You like to eat often and plenty, you do not like being wet or dirty, and you have no problem making your demands known. You prefer, as one would expect, to be held, and you'll tell us about it if you aren't where you want to be, but you do very little fussing for no reason, and almost no crying without a reason. I didn't expect to be getting as much sleep as I am right now, and I certainly didn't expect to be spending as little time as I am pulling out my hair. Even if you make up for this peaceful period with brutal teenaged years, I'm still grateful.
Which isn't to say that the transition to parenthood isn't stressful, and frightening, and exhausting--it is. Your Grandma Penny was here for the first three weeks, and there is really no way to overstate how much easier that made everything. Seriously, if you get one thing out of this month's letter, get that--your mom's mom is a saint. It's nearly unimaginable that someone could be so helpful, loving, and wonderful, and simultaneously be completely unjudgemental and un-overbearing. If there is a perfect balance for a parent to take when helping her child become a parent herself, my mother found it. I wish every new parent could have a mom like her. She's also more than a little bit smitten with you. My mom is not a mushy person (and I'm not particularly, either, but I'll get to that later), but she is just gaga over you. She was more affectionate and enamored than I've ever seen her, for sure. You'll always have an ally in her--and I can tell you from experience that makes you a very, very lucky little boy.
After Grandma Penny left, Grandma Irene and Grandpa John came to visit us--or, really, to visit you. They, too, were instantly in love. They even babysat while your dad and I went out to dinner--the first time we'd been away from you, together. It went great. Every time I've left you with anybody (just them, Grandma Penny, and your dad) it has gone great. I expected to have anxiety about it, but I just don't, and I'm really grateful for that--I think it's better for both of us if we spend occasional time apart, even this early. You're completely willing to take my milk from a bottle and actually seem to be even mellower and amenable for other people than you are for me, so I'm guessing you agree.
Because I have so far completely failed in keeping any sort of record of your behavior or milestones, I guess I should use this letter to record a few of those:
Sleep: You tend to sleep from between 10-12 PM to between 3-5 AM, then nurse/get changed, then sleep until 6-7AM, then nurse/get changed, then sleep until 8-9AM. You started this schedule pretty much as soon as I stopped waking you up to nurse every three hours--so at about 2 or 2.5 weeks. I find it pretty amazing, compared to a lot of the horror stories I've heard. Sure, I'd love it if you slept an 8-hour stretch, but you aren't ready to do that yet, and that's fine. You sleep in a co-sleeper next to my side of the bed, but I sneak you into bed with us in the morning, typically between the 6-7AM and 8-9AM waking/feedings. I didn't think I would want to or feel comfortable doing that, but I do. You aren't much into naps at this point--you snooze for a few minutes at a stretch all day long, but the substantial morning and afternoon naps I've heard about haven't kicked in yet. We're working on that.
Eating: You came out knowing how to nurse. You just got it, and you haven't flagged for more than a few minutes since. You nurse often, easily, and enthusiastically. At around three weeks, I started pumping and we started introducing bottles, and you took easily to those as well. It's a bit odd, since I was someone who did NOT want to breastfeed, but breastfeeding has been a complete non-issue for us. I don't love it, I don't have a mushy emotional response to it like I hear some people do, but it's not that bad, and it's clear that you're thriving, so the inconvenience and discomfort inherent in it is well worth it. You weigh over 12 lbs already! Again, I'm grateful--it's something I doubtlessly would have quit had it been hard, so it's a blessing that it has been so very easy. I still don't see extended nursing in our future--I just can't imagine that--but one never knows.
Smiling: Grandma Penny swears you smiled the morning she left, which would have put your first smile at three weeks and two days. That seems a bit on the early side, but I can't pinpoint another first, so I guess we'll go with it. You smile often now, and in several different ways, each one cuter than the last. You're pretty expressive in general, and your eyes are so big and dark, your expressions can get pretty piercing. At least, for someone who isn't yet two months old.
Lifting your head and rolling over: You started trying to lift your head the day you were born, and you're an old pro at it now. You still can't hold it up for very long by yourself, but you get stronger every day. You can also turn it from side to side. Yesterday, you even rolled part way over--from your back to your side to your stomach.
Recognition: I can't say for sure who you can and cannot recognize, but I feel quite sure you know who I am, and you turn towards me when I come into the room. You do the same thing when your dad comes home.
One thing has happened in your first month that wasn't easy--I was unexpectedly laid off from my job. I was notified when you were three weeks old, the same day Grandma Penny left. That was a bad, bad day. And it means, as of now, that the plan of my returning to work and you starting day care after Labor Day (only a couple of weeks from now) is on hold. I am looking for a new job already, and have some prospects, but I'm not in a huge hurry--if this unexpected turn means I stay home with you for twelve weeks instead of eight, or even for a bit longer than that, I think that would be OK. I haven't at all changed my mind and decided I want to be a stay at home mom long term, but there is definitely something priceless about spending these very early weeks with you.
So how do our days look? We cuddle and/or nurse while your dad takes a shower. After he gets out of the shower in the morning, Mark generally takes you downstairs with him while he makes coffee and has breakfast, and I get dressed. You tend to be very happy in the morning and usually are content to hang out in the swing or the pack n play while he has breakfast, and while I start pumping. After he is done with breakfast, your dad gives you a bottle while I finish up pumping and eat. Then Mark leaves for work and we're on our own. We spend the morning on the couch, nursing and with you taking short naps. You aren't much interested in toys yet, but you do enjoy music, so we listen to music. I make faces at you and you've started to respond to those sometimes. I hold you, most of the time. I watch TV. I am watching endless TV, running through a whole list of TV series. I suppose that should embarrass me, but it doesn't. After lunch I've been trying to get you to nap. I take you upstairs and nurse you in bed and try to get you to drift off. If you do, you'll sleep an hour or so, and I typically sleep with you, or try to accomplish some small chore. But it is only works about half the time so far. After the nap, we hang out more, watch more TV, nurse about every 90 minutes. When you cat-nap, I catch up online and try to do job application stuff. I've taken a couple of pre-interview calls over the past few days, including one I had to nurse you through to keep you quiet. That felt very sitcom. Mark gets home between 7 and 8, typically, and we have dinner while you lay between us on the couch, or, if you happen to grace us with a little sleep at the right time, eat at the table. If you insist on being held right then, we take turns eating. Some nights, you have a bath--we were doing it in the sink, but just tonight we tried it in the bathtub with me, and you seem to like that a lot better. You hang out with Daddy while I do dishes, take a shower, etc. and he gives you another bottle in the late evening, around the same time I pump again. You usually go to sleep between us on the couch while we talk or watch TV, and we all go to bed together between 11 and 12. The days pass both slowly and quickly--and you change every single day.
I'm sure there are a thousand more things I should be telling you about your first weeks, things I'm forgetting or don't realize I am going to want to look back on, but it is hard to catalogue them on command. There are a hundred moments a day that I wish I could bottle and save. For once in my life, though, I seem to be doing a pretty good job focusing on living in the now and not being overly focused on planning or documenting. Probably that's the way it should be.