Three Months

Dear Abigail –

Sweet fancy Moses. You are three months old. I cannot believe it.

If the second month went by as slow as molasses, this one moved as fast as…well, I don’t have a metaphor for you on that one since today was my first day back at work and I’m a little out of sorts.

(As usual, it’s taken me more than a week to write this.)

There has been so much that has taken place this month I don’t know where to start.

Well the big one? After eight weeks of fussing and fighting, you became A Sleeper. And not just a decent sleeper, but The Best Sleeper In All The Land. In the past month, I think there have maybe been a handful of times that you wake up in the middle of the night to eat, but that’s it. You are now Sleepypants McGee. Slumber O’Sleepsalot.  I cannot get over how well you sleep now, and IN YOUR CRIB. Even through this most recent growth spurt, when you’ve been a little cranky and fussy and needing a couple of extra feedings, it’s as though we have a whole new baby in our house.

I returned to work this week (more on that in a second) and I noticed there was a book on my shelf in my office called “Sleeping Through The Night.” And I cracked up. Why? Because some fellow mom in the office gave me that book when I was pregnant and I never once gave it a thought, or for that matter, remembered I had a book on sleeping in my office in the first place and yet? Your sleeping is the single largest preoccupation of my life now. I had no idea back then, when I absentmindedly put that on my office bookshelf, that the brain space that was once occupied by things such as world events, politics, Real Housewives and food would be summarily shoved out the door to make room for whether or not you’re sleeping.

It’s all sort of ridiculous, really, but I’m only saying that as a woman who now gets REM sleep. Understandably, people who are not well-rested don’t find anything ludicrous about the sleeping obsession. But man. When you weren’t sleeping, it was all I could talk about and it wrecked so much understandable havoc and now?

Oh, we’re the envy of many.

I have to admit this to you: I feel so, so guilty about all of the sleep of yours I obsess over. I do. I sit here and think, “Dear Jesus. She just got here three months ago and you just want her to lie there, sleeping, so you can do other things?” It just breaks my heart that I’m this way. But then I remember: there is only so much we can do together before you get 1) cranky, 2) hungry or 3) both. Your actual span of happy is pretty limited, to about 90-minute stretches at a time, so anything past that means we’re all in for a world of hurt, mostly you. And for as much as it isn’t my job to make you happy in life, I hate to see you sad. So I guess I like you well-rested so that you’re ready and happy for the next 90-minute stretch when you wake up.

But yeah. I like us well-rested, too. And able to participate in our lives as they’re unrelated to being your parents. We are so grateful that we’ve been able to cook meals again, and watch TV, and read, and play video games, and write, and seriously, it’s been a happier household lately.

But we’re not the only ones having fun. You seem to be having a blast. You’ve mastered rolling over from your tummy to your side to your back, though not completely back again. The most you can manage is back to your side, which has turned your into a side-sleeper for real, just like your Mama. This side-sleeping means you can easily wedge your thumb back into your mouth when you wake up at night, and you seem to always soothe yourself back to sleep.

One of the things the nurses said about you when we were breastfeeding in recovery was that you were a self-sufficient baby. I know perhaps that a Mama shouldn’t wish for such a thing for her baby, but seeing you already become so comfortable with yourself, and hanging on your own, makes me proud. Honestly. We can put you in your crib so we can run to the bathroom or grab the dog and, if you’re in a good mood, you’re happy to just talk to your fish in your soother or your mobile animals and there you’ll lie for 20 minutes or more.

Monks, I pray for you a life filled with people and love and constant support but I’m awfully happy that you seem to be developing the sort of skills that will allow you to keep your head about you during the times when you’re alone, no matter how silly that may sound to say about a baby.

So this brings me to work. I’m back at work. Of course the first thing I did was plaster my office with pictures of you. I miss you like crazy, but I’m pretty happy to be there. I try not to think too much about the moments with you I’m missing, and instead concentrate on the ones I get. My first night home, when I ran up the stairs, I had to take a few deep breaths so I calmed down long enough and didn’t disturb you as you laid happily in your rocker. I was so happy to see you! After five minutes I whisked you out and oh the smiles! I started telling you about my day and your mouth bust open so wide that it seemed to take up half of your face! You squeaked so loudly, and giggled and squirmed so happily, I finally understood what people mean when they say they could eat someone up with a biscuit.

I can’t believe just talking to me makes you that happy. It’s humbling.

You love it when we hold you upright so you can put pressure on your feet. You love it even more when we hold you like this and talk to you. While you still love your activity mat, and are a fan of your swing, your music soother and your black-and-white shapes, you are getting bored with a capital B. I know people say you shouldn’t be watching TV, but we all love watching Baby Mozart and Baby Noah Baby Einstein DVDs together.

And I am all for anything that encourages you to love animals as much as I do. So much better to make your father powerless over our pleas that we spend Family Day at the zoo.

You remain stubborn and opinionated as ever. When you don’t like something, or, as mentioned, are bored, everyone knows it. We’ve gotten pretty skilled when it comes to managing all of this, and it’s true what they say that once you become a mother you become a master multitasker. I try my best to stay in the moment as best as I can, but I seem to live my life now thinking five steps ahead, which means doing ten things at once. All of this hyper organization means less meltdowns for you. You’re super awesome but no one enjoys a baby screaming as though she’s been stuck with hot pokers when really she’s just so over all of this already can’t someone dangle a new rattle for me or something?

Our favorite time of the day is bath time. You LOVE bath time, which is hysterical since you used to hate it. I think once you had your wits about you, and better head control which, let’s face it, in your world are one in the same, bath time got more interesting since 1) You get to sit in my lap, 2) in warm, bubbly water and 3) get to play with a bunch of bath toys that Grandma Mimmy bought for you. Every night at 6:30 p.m. the world stops and we all pile into the bathroom upstairs and talk about our days. Even Glinny has gotten in on it, standing guard by the door, but we think it’s because she hates the bathtub and if she could talk would tell us, “Guys! What are you doing? Get that baby out of there!”

Anyway, we all chat and laugh and sing and play with bath toys and you’ve started to figure out that if you kick your legs the whole experience is even more fun and now that you’re starting to grasp the toys with both hands, we’re not sure we haven’t created a monster. The moment we take you out to get ready to bed, oh brother, do the tears ever start.

There have been quite a few firsts this month:

1) First weekend away from home. With Papa and Nana, who proclaim you to be perfect and the most ideal baby you could hope for. Thanks, kid. This has meant they’re excited to take you for another weekend in June.

2) First Family Day Trip. We went to the Museum of Science and Industry. You could have taken it or left it, but your father wisely decided that the small area where they repeatedly show, on a big screen with surround-sound, a simulation of what it’s like for a baby from conception to birth, would be the place to calm you for a bottle. Oh how I wish I had that faux-womb area set up in our home.

3) First night without waking up for a feeding. This has tapered off some with your growth spurt and cold. But we’re hopeful it’ll be consistent once again as now that the cold has subsided, you’re back to sleeping until 5:30 a.m. once again.

4) First cold. That was my fault, sorry. This did, however, introduce the NoseFrida to our lives and it’s kind of awesome. You hate it, but it does the job and really is only gross in theory.

5) First grasp of a toy. A shark. We, of course, call him “Sharky.”

Nicknames We’ve Given You

1) “Monks.” This is short for “Monkey,” which I also call you. The first thing I bought for you when I was pregnant was a onesie that read, “Silly Monkey” and for some reason the whole monkey thing stuck. The funny thing is that you really love monkeys, or at least seem to, by virtue of how captivated you are by your stuffed monkeys.

2) “Kid” and “Little Girl.” Your Dad calls you these. He also will call you “Baby Girl” and he says it in such a fashion that it makes me think of several R&B singers.

3) “Bubs.” No clue on that. Just because.

4) “Magoo.” Just like one of your favorite monkey dolls, “Monkey Magoo.” I am not particularly original.

The other day I was a bit gobsmacked by how much you being in my life has changed me. I wish that it didn’t take having a child for me to shift my energies from the “Things Probably Not Worth While” column. This is not to say that one can only achieve this by having a kid, but for me, like so many other times in my life, it took a life-altering experience for me to get my head out of my ass.

From here on out, I have a hard time getting too worked up over things at work, the GOP – even Sarah Palin! – or how someone on Facebook is carrying on and on about something so ridiculous that they make getting a paper cut akin to a hysterectomy.

I still have my opinions about these things, but the minute I feel my blood boil, I let it go and remember the only persons who needs me caring that much are your dad and you. Anyone or anything else can take a back seat.

The ways you’ve changed me don’t begin and end there, but it’s one of the most wonderful gifts you’ve given me. Thanks for helping me to see the bigger picture. Pretty much, it’s all framed around you.