We’re Out of the Newborn Phase! Hallelujah!

Life finally feels a little bit settled. We were not blessed with easy newborn babies. With both, the first 3 months were filled with piercing cries, lots of bouncing, and loads of stress.  Maya wasn’t as bad as Toby was, but, well, we weren’t parenting TWO kids at that time.  Nights for weeks on end consisted of Simon and Toby coming home to Maya in a full blown meltdown, me passing her off in frustration and then us spending the next many hours tag teaming both kids – getting Toby fed and to bed and doing everything we could come up with to soothe Maya.  Whew, Im so glad that period is over.

Just like they always tell you (but you never believe when in the throws of colic), Maya’s fussiness went as quickly as it came right around 3 months old. She is such a joy – so happy, full of smiles, playful and fun.

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And Toby adores her.  Absolutely adores her.  He has never said ‘I love you’ without us begging him to say it prompting him to say it, yet just this evening he planted a gentle kiss and Maya’s cheek and whispered, ‘I love you, Maya.’  It was magical – one of those moments that reminds tired parents that it is all so very worth it.
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The one issue we’re still struggling with is Maya’s weight.  She has continued to drop in percentiles and goes some weeks without gaining a single ounce.  She is currently 10lbs 3oz and in the 2nd percentile.  We consulted her ped who has instructed us to add 1 tsp of formula to each bottle of breastmilk she receives (the powder is mixed straight with the milk rather than water).  This is to sneak in some extra calories. While my anxiety makes me worry that there is something terribly wrong with her that we have yet to uncover, my rational brain believes that she is just not a big eater.  Our ped says a kiddo her age should be eating 4-5oz per feeding and Maya usually eats between 3-3.5oz max.  Sometimes 2oz.  But, it really seems like that’s all she needs because like I said, she’s happy as can be these days and she continues to be an excellent sleeper. So, we’ll just have to wait and see…

We have also made the difficult decision to withdraw Toby and Maya from their daycare and enroll elsewhere.  It has just been one thing after another there – mainly terrible management that shows no respect to parents. When Toby’s outstanding lead teacher put in her notice last week because of bumping heads with leadership, we decided that was the last straw (one of the assistant teachers who recently joined the class and has been very cold with the kids was promoted to lead!). We lucked out and found a place with one spot left in each classroom available immediately, is more highly rated in the state’s early childhood quality rating system, is much closer to work, and is $800 – yes $800! – cheaper.  It’s going to be a challenge for Toby. He’s a shy kid and it takes him time to warm up to new people. But, I know we’ve made the right decision.They start on the 28th.

Toby: 4 Months!

Yep, Im behind a bit.  Seriously, I started this post a week before Toby turned 3 months. And here we are – over a month later – the post has become a 4 month rather than 3 month update and is significantly different than I had intended it to be. These days, Im back at work 4 days a week so I savor every moment I have with Toby in the evenings and on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.  Therefore, I find I have little more than a minute to spare between play time, feedings, and doing some semblance of house work during nap times. I think about blogging often.  It’s has a recurring role on my to-do lists, but alas, it too often gets bumped for something else.

IMG_72752014-05-10 19.22.44This last month has been amazing.  Toby turned every positive corner imaginable between 3 and 4 months.  Everyone told me to expect that – that his fussiness and discomforts would start to wane and be virtually gone by this time, but when you’re in the throws of fussy-ville, which for us lasted pretty much up until days before his 3 month birthday (although had been slowlllly improving), it’s hard to believe it will ever end.  The first few months were hard. They could have been harder, of course. And I know how lucky I am that I even have the chance to experience motherhood – my heart pains every time I read of another failed cycle or loss amongst my infertility community – and I am also so very lucky that my son is perfectly healthy.  But with that said, it was a challenging first few months for us.  I look back upon it now and mourn the loss of the early motherhood experience I had built up in my mind – one full of smiles and cuddles, of adventures out and visits from friends.  Don’t get me wrong, there were many moments of sheer joy, but they were peppered among periods of simply doing what I could to soothe Toby and his immature system that had to battle and fight its way in to this new world.

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Of course it was just when I was about to go back to work that my sweet boy did everything in his power to will me away from the professional world! How was I supposed to go back to work when I had a smiley, talkative, happy baby at home who lights up whenever he sees me!? It breaks my heart every. single. day. when I have to drop him at daycare and head to work.

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A 4 month old is still so young yet oh-so-old when you compare him to his newborn self. Toby is so independent now – he happily tugs on the toys hanging from his playmat, talks to the parrot hanging from his bouncy chair, and stares at is reflection in the mirror as he lays on his tummy. He is so curious about the world and watches people and things intently, he studies his toys, and tastes just about anything he can get in his mouth. He has recently discovered his feet and tugs and pulls on them each time he’s on his back. He talks.  Oh how that boy can talk!  And just days ago, we heard his first little giggle – a giggle that will last in our memories forever.

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But with each new milestone comes a reminder that gone are the days that he would sleep in my arms for hours on end or cuddle up on my chest for the night.  Gone are the days that he was interested in wrapping his little hand around nothing but my fingers. Gone are the days that I was convinced I must be around him every minute of every day because I believed I was the only one capable of taking care of him.

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Toby’s sleep is still all over the place, although, shortly after his 3 month birthday, he started giving us some 5-7 hour stretches – sometimes for many nights in a row, other times a single evening that granted us a much needed break between days of 2-3 hour stretches.  It’s completely unpredictable and while sleep deprivation makes me feel like Im losing my mind from time to time, Im also getting a bit used to it.  We’re also trying to sleep train and educating myself about it has become a bit of an obsession.  I won’t go into it now other than to say that it’s exhausting and an absolute pain in the ass.

Right now he’s struggling with his first cold filled with lots of congestion, coughing, and sneezing and it’s disrupting his sleep to the point that I feel like we’re back to the early newborn days.  In fact, the hubs and I both spent time with him on the couch last night – the first time in months we’ve done that. As desperate as I was for sleep, I must admit that it felt so good snuggling with him like that again.  He’s been out of our room and in his own crib for a couple weeks now and I definitely find that Im missing him.  In fact, the hubs and I fight for the job of waking and dressing him in the morning because we’ve both missed him so much overnight (not that he ever goes without 3-5 wake-ups over night!).

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Breastfeeding has been my greatest battle so far. Just when Toby and I finally began to fall into a bit of a rhythm (which took way longer than it should have), I started having major supply issues.  For me, making it a year exclusively breastfeeding has always been so important to me.  And the reality that it’s highly unlikely that i’ll make it breaks my heart in pieces.  Toby and I struggle sometimes.  He gets frustrated as he searches for milk that’s not there and I get annoyed by the tugging and pulling he does to try to stimulate me. I’m working hard – Im taking herbal supplements, drinking special teas, eating lactation cookies, and pumping extra, yet with all this Im still rarely breaking even for what he needs at daycare the next day.  But, Im not giving up.  I will continue to do all that I can to drain myself of every ounce of milk I have available to nourish my little boy.

I am so happy. I am loving being a mommy.  And Toby is the sweetest, smiliest, happiest itty bitty (yup, 3rd percentile, folks!) little boy. I love helping him explore the world and watching him grow.  I love to share such an incredible experience with my husband who continues to wow me with his devotion to fatherhood.  I try to not take for granted, even on my most sleep deprived days, that I am a mother.

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