I was sitting here picking at my hair (that is still shedding) and I found a sticky spot that caught Owen's wet sneeze this morning. There is also snot on my tank top and bags under my eyes because I now get sleep in broken intervals.
Two night ago I sat on the bathroom counter with a miserable baby in my lap while steam from the shower filled his lungs. Meanwhile, I knocked a jar of Q-tips off the counter. It crashed to the floor, and Q-tips scattered everywhere, which startled the dog, who came bounding down the hall. I tried to pick up each Q-tip one-handed with a 16-pound baby in the other arm and beads of sweat on my forehead, but I left several on the floor. Fuck it.
It was 1:30 a.m.
Owen has his first virus. It took five months, but it's here.
I've been petrified of this moment since he was born. Hell, before he was born, if I'm being honest. He was premature, he's fragile, I'm anxious. With all of those powers combined, the thought of my baby catching whatever wicked viruses were saturating the planet turned me into a wreck.
I practically chased Eden around the house with a can of Lysol when she came to our house every other week with a new virus a couple months ago. But only after she went to bed, of course, because I wouldn't let myself (and by default, Owen) near her. When the threat of hand, foot and mouth disease followed her home one weekend, I actually took Owen to my mom and dad's house FOR THE WEEKEND. Just to keep him safe.
I know it was all irrational, but I dare you to call a brand new mom irrational. I DARE YOU. Getting sick was inevitable. He's a baby. He's in daycare. He's a human. But just because it was inevitable didn't mean I couldn't try to prevent it as long as possible.
And look at that, we made it five months.
Now here he is with a cold and double ear infection. Sigh.
The thought of something awful happening to him paralyzes me regularly. That, alone, was the driving force behind my irrational precautions. But I also knew that once he got sick, it would turn into...
... sitting on the bathroom counter with a miserable baby while steam from the shower filled his lungs at 1:30 in the morning on a Wednesday night. Dropping jars of Q-tips on the floor and startling the dog. Sucking snot from a crying baby's nose while the rest of the house slept. Changing one poopy diaper, only to quickly change it again after a coughing fit turned into pooped pants (I mean, it happens to the best of us). Day after day off of work. Hour after hour of lost sleep. A baby who cries and can't be consoled. Attempting to prop the crib mattress and run a warm humidifier. Giving up and letting him sleep in his swing instead. Worrying about his wheezing breath. Running out of cloths to wipe the mucus from his face. Crawling back into bed at 4:47 a.m. even though my alarm is set to go off at 5 just because I'm desperate for those 13 minutes of sleep. Feeling my chest tighten when I hear his squawking through the monitor four minutes later.
Nose-suck, diaper change, humidifier, repeat. Worry, lose sleep, stress, repeat. Miss meals, miss work, miss running, repeat. Realize that this will likely happen over and over and over in his early years: cry.
I'm thankful this week it's just a cold and ear infection because I know it could be so much worse (trust me, I panic regularly), but this shit is hard. I wish I could help him beyond a trip to the doctor and 10 days of antibiotics. He looks so helpless and confused. I wish I could be sick for him.
I wish this week had been easier, but I'd do this for him all over again, and I know I'll have to. I'm his mama. I'd do it for him every day, if I needed to.
Thankfully, until this week, he's been thriving like the precious potato we know he is. He's over 16 pounds now! SIXTEEN! He added the weight of a giant newborn to his own tiny newborn size in the last five months. He's still in size 2 diapers, and has a fun new habit of blowing the poop straight out of them and into his armpit. It pleases him to no end, happily babbling while I wipe infant poop from between his nethers. He rolled over for the first time two weeks ago during tummy time, and a couple times since, but he's still keeping that skill pretty tight under lock and key.
He's lonnnng, and fits comfortably into the length of 9-month sleepers because, yes, he's still wearing sleepers every day, sue me, I think they're adorable as hell. HE IS LIVING HIS BEST FOOTIE PAJAMA LIFE, OKAY.
We finally, finally moved him from sleeping in his rock and play in our room to his own crib early last month. It wasn't the nightmare I imagined, though the first night meant lots of tears from Owen.
Also from me. Especially from me. I cry a lot, in case we haven't established that.
But now, on most nights, he'll fuss for a few minutes before falling fast asleep RIGHT THERE IN HIS VERY OWN CRIB, I'M SO PROUD. I mean, sure, there are nights that are more rough and require a bit more soothing and nursing and fretting, but I never expected the transition to his crib to be as smooth as it's been.
Good job, bub.
The downside, however, is he's now awake two to three times a night. He'd been sleeping cozily and happily through the night early on in his rock and play, and the transition seems to have thrown him for a loop.
So, I mourn sleep.
But, truthfully, I love our quiet moments alone in the dark. He's only tiny for so long, and he'll only need me for so long. If these moments mean disrupted sleep, unwashed hair, early bedtimes, and extra eye concealer, so be it. The moments are temporary and the time is fleeting.
I'm definitely going to need less ear infections, though.
Five months down, forever to go.