In my first motherhood post, I wrote about all things Sam after one month. Roughly four weeks later, Sam is now eight weeks old; in one week, he will be two months. What have I been learning from the little guy? Here are more thoughts. Enjoy, laugh, or raise your eyebrow in disgust. I can take it…most days.
1. Sam has an oral fixation. Maybe all babies do. But he also lacks tongue-palette-lip control. How am I to return, time after time, to put his pacifier in his mouth at naptime without pulling out my own hair in the process? If this is a game, he’s winning.
2. Smiling covers a multitude of sins. Sam smiles just about every time he sees me, or Ben, or any other familiar face. It’s super cute and helps erase any of the aforementioned hair-pulling urges.
3. I’ve stopped freaking out over Sam’s bowel movements. I’ve lessened my anxiety that he’s not getting enough to eat on a daily basis. Now I worry that he’s bored to death of me, secretly wishing he had a clown for a mother, or at the very least, Terry Gross, who would ask him interesting questions, and then when he got sleepy, lull him to dreamland with the sound of her soothing radio voice. But my friends are quick to remind me that no one replaces mom: I’m top banana in Sam’s book.
4. Ben recently read David Mitchell’s The Thousand Autums of Jacob de Zoet. The one sentence he read aloud to me concerned an evil overlord who yelled at a nun to “quiet that mewling piglet” (read: a crying, hungry baby suckling at her breast). Sam could easily be that unfortunate baby in Mitchell’s novel, not because he’s nursed daily by a nun, but because he grunts, snorts, chortles and farts in his sleep, sometimes for nearly an hour. At present he’s still sleeping in our room, but I’m a light sleeper and have yet to find a way to tune out his noises. If I could trade one of my qualities for one of Ben’s, I would give up my ability to tie a pair of shoes with my toes in exchange for his ability to sleep through the Apocalypse. Still, even when I’m dead tired at four in the morning, when I hear Sam let out a tiny but audible poot, it’s impossible not to laugh, even just a little.
5. I catch myself wondering what he will look like sound like be like in the future. My friends have two- and three-year-old children and it’s crazy to think that Sam will be like them in less than seven hundred days. He’ll be climbing, sliding and swinging on a regular basis; eating pizza in tiny cut up bite-sized pieces; and tackling or hugging (who knows which type he’ll be) his pals on playdates. Ben’s mom says that Ben had a deep voice, even as a young child. If Sam inherits that trait, all I’m sayin’ is ladies, watch out.
6. When I was in Mrs. Hohn’s second grade class, we put on a musical called The Wackadoo Zoo. Our music teacher assigned each of us to be an animal. Some of us were cool animals like lions, monkeys or meerkats. Others got the crap animals. I was the skunk. I did, however, get a solo in which I sang-spoke into the microphone this line: P U, what can I do? It was a hoot, the hit of 1988. Anyway, Katie Main was a horse, more specifically a mare, and we all sang, “The Old Grey Mare She Ain’t What She Used to Be.” While at eight years old I didn’t get the full meaning of the song, I remember feeling embarrassed for Katie. Something about being a mare — something that used to work well but is now slowing down, breaking down, shutting down. I am that old grey mare falling apart left and right. Something happened to my back when I put him in the car at my four-week appointment. It still hurts like it did that day. I’m pretty sure I have carpel-tunnels from holding our sweet little eleven or twelve pound bundle of joy. Things just aren’t the same, uh, you know, down there. And I’ve had people ask me why I bother to put on makeup in the morning if it’s just me and Sam, or me and my friends. It’s because all the interrupted sleep has caused me to wake up in the morning looking like scary-bathtub scene Michelle Pfeiffer in What Lies Beneath.
8. Just when I think I can do it on my own, I eat a double portion of humble pie. Last night Ben closed up shop which means he wouldn’t get home until after bed time. Sam needed a bath. I’ve never given him a solo bath, but I was up for the task. I set out his bath supplies, and even had the foresight to prepare his diaper and jammies for afterward. I was feeling pretty good about my bathtime superpowers as a single parent when I looked at Sam and he had poop on his cheek. I don’t know how it got there, but there’s nothing like a seed of poop on your baby’s cheek to knock you down a few notches.
7. Sam is a boy and he’s discovered his penis. When I change him, he likes to tug and pull his peepee like it’s a scab that’s begging to be picked off. I guess I should get used to this. Ben’s preparing notes for an early birds and bees talk.
8. Sleep is hard, maybe the hardest thing about being a new parent for me. I’m always happy to wake in the middle of the night to feed Sam, but I usually cannot fall back asleep when he’s finished for at least another hour, sometimes two or three. Did I mention my extreme and very real need for eye concealer?
9. I am crazy, over-the-moon, madly and deeply in love with this little man. Eight weeks ago, he was still a mystery baby inside my belly. Now, he is a permanent, irreplaceable part of our family. We knew we’d love our baby no matter what; we just didn’t know it was possible to love him as much as we do.