I have been a mom for 81 days.
EIGHTY-ONE DAYS? My peanutiest of peanuts has already grown from this:
He was so wee and tiny and spaghetti noodled! How did he grow so much? LOOK AT THOSE CHUBS. He doesn't fit into his newborn clothes anymore! I box them up sadly, while staring longingly at What Used To Be, and holy shit I've become that person.
He's creeping up on his first Christmas, after having already celebrated his first Thanksgiving and first Halloween and first everything because I am obsessed and everything he does is monumental. Did you guys see him blink? Because I photographed it. Also that time he made a sound. Then another. And then every sound that comes out of his mouth. I've got it all on video.
His tiny voice is just so small and delicate. I never want it to end. Every day he finds a new way to squawk like a peacock or coo like a bubble, and every time it happens my insides explode out of my face.
It's very messy and I can't stop.
He's already passed 11 weeks, which reminds me that time really does fly. He went through a stretch of about three or four weeks where every instance of gas made him rage. He screamed. He cried. He struggled. Many, many times I'd hold him, bicycling his tiny legs, trying to squeeze the gas from his tiny belly, and I'd cryyyyyy along with him.
It is truth that there is nothing worse than watching your baby fight inconsolable discomfort. His lip quivers and the veins pop in his delicate head. AND TEARS. Is anything more heartbreaking than tiny tears on a newborn's face?
NO. Except maybe ASPCA commercials, but it's debatable.
The good news is he seems to have educated himself on the proper way to poop, and he mostly handles a gassy belly the way the average human does: just letting it fly. He still has his moments, as we all do, but I'm pleased with his newfound pooping prowess.
But also, he occasionally sleeps through the night. Still. And when he doesn't, he only wakes up once per night. ONE TIME. I feared a life of little to no sleep. Of screaming babies and bloodshot eyes. I mean, I know I'll kick myself in the ass when sleep regression kicks in with the next big growth spurt, but wow, it's nice having an easy-sleeping baby. We can typically lie him down wide awake, and he'll just... go to sleep. And in the middle of the night when I put him back down after nursing, he'll take a few minutes to simply babble to himself in the darkness of our bedroom before falling back to sleep.
OH MY GOD I LOVE HIM.
Todd is a master swaddler, as evidenced in the photo above, and Owen mostly loves it. Though, lately, he's learning his true ability to fight, and I often find him disheveled in the morning with a rogue arm and flailing leg. He certainly isn't rolling over yet -- or even in a crib to do so -- so the swaddling lives another week.
I still maintain he'll sleep in his tiny rock and play (eat it, mom shamers) next to our bed until he's 10. When I asked Todd about raising the level of his crib mattress the other day, he sighed and told me that by the time we put him in his crib, it'll need to be as low as it is because Owen will already be standing and trying to crawl out.
I nodded and agreed because Owen will be in college by the time I let him sleep in his crib, so FOR SURE he's going to try and crawl out.
I'm still trying to find time and energy to rediscover a running routine, but it is absolutely not happening. Where there is time, there is no energy. Where there is energy, there is no time. I know this will improve, but it's currently doing nothing for my acceptance of this postpartum body.
I actually got outside the other evening for a short run through the neighborhood, but my running tights felt like a sausage casing and every article of clothing on my body felt uncomfortable and unflattering. I was crying by the time I got home from my run, and it started as tears about my body and ended as tears about the state of my entire existence as a human being because postpartum hormones are a hot mess and once I get going there is no stopping it.
So, I'm still working on that.
I long for the days of long, easy runs that last a couple hours in the early morning on a Saturday. Hell, I'll even take a mediocre 5-mile run on a shitty Wednesday night. I just want to feel that normal part of myself and my body again. It's the missing puzzle piece in that annoyingly complex puzzle that took nine hours across four days to complete, and ONE GODDAMN PIECE IS MISSING. And probably the dog ate it, so... shit.
It'll come. I know it'll come. But, hurry.
That said, I love every single solitary second of my baby. I glom onto him like the Band-Aid residue on my fingernail from when I sliced open my finger while savagely cutting up some cheddar to shove into my face because ENDLESS HUNGER. That stickiness lasts forever. I can't get enough of him. Every diaper change. Every feeding. Every bath. Every cuddle. Every minute spent pumping for him. Every dirty bottle and evening spent prepping bottles for the next day. Every daycare drop-off and pick-up.
Every responsibility, I cherish it.
I don't know why. I mean, truly, I'm a very lazy person. When I get home from work, I want to do no things. I want no responsibility or tasks. I barely want to function. Shit, I barely want to talk. The need to decompress is real. But the responsibility of this tiny person feels right. Keeping him alive and well and loved and prepared is this purpose I didn't know I craved. I feel so satisfied as I prep his bottles for daycare with the milk I created with my own body. Meticulously packing the diaper bag and preparing him for each day makes my day fulfilled. I know when I return from work it'll be a flurry of nursing and diapers and soothing and bottles and cleanup, but holy shit, it feels good.
I crave that satisfaction and that time, and knowing maybe this is my one and only shot at baby life. We don't all get the chance -- or want the chance -- to raise a little person, but oh my god, I do, and I am soaking up every piece of it.
Ask me again in another six months or a year or when he's four, and I might be like OH MY GOD WILL SOMEONE ELSE JUST CHANGE THIS DIAPER OR FEED THIS KID OR MAKE HIM STOP CRYING OR GET HIM OFF OF ME.
But now is not that time. And honestly, I hope it's never that time.
I am good at this. I want to keep doing it forever.
But perhaps I can also run, too. Let's add more running among the diapers.
I love you, Buster Wellington III.