Things have really changed with Littlest over the past week or so, and as I mentioned he has become gigantic (kidding… he still has a lot of growing to do obviously and I will continue to be astonished at his size as he does it). If everything continues like it is now, I think we are out of the woods of the first miserable eight weeks.
During the day I have gotten a pretty good rhythm of putting him to bed every 90 minutes to two hours whether or not he seems sleepy, and he almost always actually is. With the white noise machine he’s usually out within ten minutes, though today I had to rock him for about thirty seconds before he realized he was sleepy. Then he wakes up after thirty minutes (or slightly more) to nurse, play, and go to bed again. If he takes a longer nap, the play time lasts longer.
Play mostly means staring into my face smiling for about half an hour. It’s magical and gives me butterflies but can be a little bit monotone. I try sometimes to wave toys in front of his face or put graspable things against his hands, but otherwise things are pretty limited.
Nights have been revolutionized. During the awfulness that was Week 7 (which will live engraved forever in my memory… or maybe not, people say you forget these things), I decided to try a bedtime routine. It involves putting on his pjs in his darkened bedroom, reading him a book or singing him a song, and then putting him to bed (still with white noise). Some nights there is a bottle from Papa if it falls at the right time, and some nights a bath before all of that. Evenings are no longer a guessing game of “when will he go to sleep and how crabby will he be till then?” and he’s been sleeping for good stretches of the night (waking up once or twice if you consider that a night ends at 7 am). He’s stopped pooping at night which means I don’t have to change him, and I moved nighttime nursing to his bedroom so he doesn’t ever leave that room in the night.
I like to think all of this is a product of my genius as a mom, but in reality, Littlest was probably just ready to start making sense of the world and things like day/night. He’s such a joy to be with these days because he is just so dang happy whenever anyone looks him in the face. We are dealing with minor inconveniences like being between two diaper sizes which means daily blowouts, but who cares. I feel like we’ve finally really bonded and he’s really my little man now.
Speaking of nights, I was nervous about these midnight holiday celebrations and longing for the traditions of my childhood where everything happened at a decent hour. But everything actually went spectacularly with Littlest of Men. We went over to J’s parents’ the evening of the 24th between two feeds and Littlest nursed once when we got there. He didn’t want to nap during mealtime so he sat happily in Mamie’s bouncer watching us eat. Before dessert J got him down for a nap (around 9) and after we finished eating, he gave him his bottle and nighttime routine. He went straight to sleep at 11 pm (we did take the noise machine with us). We opened presents in peace and reluctantly dragged Littlest out of bed at 1 am to go home. He didn’t bat an eye but stayed solidly asleep as we put him in the car seat, drove home, got him out of the car seat, and put him to bed, and then slept straight through till 5 am. It was like a glorious Christmas present from him. I’m feeling much more confident about next weekend’s New Year’s celebration in Dordogne.
J gave me a gift card for a 90-minute massage (YES) and a “livre de naissance” for Littlest (see above), which he admitted was a present for both of us. I’ve ordered a lot of prints of the many silly pictures we’ve taken since the birth to put in it. We spent yesterday just the three of us playing games, eating chocolate and J’s foie gras and smoked salmon, and napping (me and the baby).