I just re-read my first three months about life with Theo, and it underscores three truths about parenting. One, it goes by so fast. Two, once you think you have something figured out and you settle into a routine, it changes. And three, it just keeps getting better and better.
This past month has been a doozy, filled with so much change. On the one hand, it has been the best month yet, watching Theo become aware and engaged in the world around him, and especially with us. His wide, open-mouthed grin is just the best thing I’ve ever seen, and his laugh is gold. He’s talking more and more, and with more facial expressions, like pursed lips and grimaces, which make us laugh.
And then on the other hand, it’s been the most difficult month yet, because as Theo has awakened to the world around him, he’s discovered that there are more fun things to do in life than sleep. That sleep regression that started when he turned three months old has just continued. We’ve been trying to work towards a 7 or 7:30 bedtime, and he is definitely tired, because he falls asleep. But it’s sometimes 9:30 or later before we can get him to stay in his Snuggle without waking back up. He rarely sleeps through the night anymore, usually waking up two or three times during the night to nurse. The night nursing itself is fine, but it’s sometimes hard to get him back in his Snuggle after he goes back to sleep, and so he ends up sleeping on my chest. I’m not the best sleeper in the world myself, so that 15-plus pound weight on my chest often keeps me awake all night. Hence, the new set of wrinkles around my eyes.
And then, there are the naps. I thought I had discovered the holy grail when i figured out side-lying nursing coupled with a stealthy roll-away escape. But, Theo’s too smart, and he was soon wise to that trick. It still works occasionally, but when I know he needs a nap, I just hold him. He loves to snuggle with mama, so that almost always guarantees a long nap. He’ll sleep for 1 1/2 – 2 hours on my chest, if i hold him. I went through a short period of being really frustrated at not being able to get up, but I got over it. He’s not going to be this little for long, and so I’m just going to enjoy these cuddles for as long as they last and soak it up. Now, I just pretend I’m on vacation and not surrounded by piles of laundry waiting to be put away. I keep the bed stocked with my iPhone and an iPad loaded with magazines and books and my computer, and the bedside table with a glass of water and sometimes, a snack. So I just lay in bed and hold my sweet, sleeping babe and read or try to peck out a blog post with one hand. It’s actually quite lovely, and sometimes I even nap myself.
We’ve flirted with the idea of starting some sleep training with Theo, and we do want to transition him to his crib sometime in the next month or two. But, I can’t bear the thought of letting him cry. So, we’re just going to wait and see how he develops and changes over the next month and take it from there.
Enough about sleep.
Recently, a friend described her son as sensitive, which made me start to think about how I would describe Theo’s personality. At 4 months old, our son is curious and observant, social, brave, and loving. When he’s full and well-rested, he’s all smiles, which explains my sleep obsession. We don’t have any problems in the eating department. Our little boy likes his milk, and he’s starting to get very curious about what we’re eating.
He recently awakened to the presence of the cats, which has been fun to see. He gets very excited and wants to touch them, and his little feet start to flutter, like he’s trying to chase after them. He likes to reach out and touch everything now, and can reach with both hands. Every morning when we wake up, he lays in bed between Elie and me, and he will take Elie’s face in both of his hands and hold it, grabbing his nose or reaching up to pull his hair. He is definitely a Daddy’s boy. I would be jealous, except Elie is my favorite person, too, so I don’t blame him.
Theo’s very social and loves meeting new people and going places. I can tell he sometimes gets bored staying at home, so we try and get out of the house often. I’m much better than I used to be at getting out with him by myself, partly because he’s much better in the car and stroller and he likes facing forward in the Baby Bjorn for walks. He still has a very easygoing personality. As long as he is full and well-rested, he’s all smiles. When we’re out and about, he’s happy in our lap or in our arms and he’ll just take in whatever we’re doing. If he gets fussy, a little nursing usually fixes it. It’s funny how quickly we all adapt. I was terrified to nurse in public at first, but now its a piece of cake.
I mentioned that I think Theo is brave. The few times he’s been bumped or gotten immunization shots, his lip will quiver and he might cry for a second, and then he’s over it. He may be pretty, but he’s a tough little boy.
Speaking of immunizations, at his four month checkup he was 15.4 pounds (48th percentile) and 25 1/2 inches long (64th percentile), because it makes total sense that we have a really tall, blonde and blue-eyed baby.
In other milestones, he is still refusing to roll over again. He just clasps his hands together and looks at me, as if to say, “I already did that, Mama!” But he can suck his thumb with gusto, which is one of the most adorable things I’ve ever seen. He enjoys books a lot, and we’ve started reading in the car, which keeps him entertained. Theo still loves music, and “Old McDonald” is a current favorite, especially when Mimi sings it to him. And no one makes him laugh harder than his Saba Moe, who is a little louder and plays a little more aggressively than we do, and Theo loves it. Which again underlines why a child needs many different people in his life to love and nurture and challenge him.
Basically, we think Theo is the sweetest, most beautiful baby in the world. So, I think we’ll keep him.
This post was written when Theo was 4 1/2 months old, because every post gets pecked out slowly, with one hand, during nap time.
Photos by Matthew Land Studios, when Theo was just shy of four months old. He was a little grouchy that morning, because he had boycotted his nap. *smile*