Today you are three months old.
Three months seems like both a long time and a short time. It’s just 1/3 of the amount of time I was pregnant with you. Now that it’s nicer outside, we’ve been going for walks around the neighborhood, and every time we pass the corner of Kenwood and Friendship, I remember the morning I took that pregnancy test. I had forced myself to wait until Saturday morning, because that was when I was confident the test would be accurate, and I woke up at 5 a.m. Once I saw the two lines, I was so excited that I couldn’t sleep. I woke your dad up to tell him, and he was excited too, but not so much that he didn’t wish I’d waited until 9 or so. I guess it’s different when you’re not the one with the rapidly-dividing ball of cells tucked into your ute.
Anyway, the reason I think of that morning is because we went out for a jog (several hours later; I could have hopped into my Nikes immediately and sprinted for miles, I think, but we were feeling romantic and decided to run together), and at the corner of Kenwood and Friendship, I did a complete SPLAT on the sidewalk. I knew the little proto-you was well protected and in all likelihood completely safe, and I mostly fell on my hands and knees and not my abdomen, but the first thing that flashed through my head was, “I am no longer just myself.”
I still feel that way. Sometimes, when I’m holding you against my belly as you eat, I hear a stomach rumble, and I don’t know which of ours it is. I look at the thousands of pictures we’ve taken of you, and I see little things you do that make me wonder how I got so tiny and somehow managed to photograph myself. Your dad teases me for holding my pinky out when I hold a glass; I don’t do it on purpose and I don’t even think about it, and the proof is the many photos of you in the same posture. I recently found out your Skittergramps does it too. We are a dainty people, apparently.
It’s easy to tell that you’re half your father, too. You guys are the wiggliest people I’ve ever met. At an earlier phase in my life, back when I sometimes had trouble falling asleep, it drove me crazy that your dad could not freaking lie still. I’d be right on the brink of sleep, and he’d pick that moment to do a full-body jostle. You do the same thing. Lately we’ve been doing what I call Snuggle Nap. You’re getting much closer to sleeping through the night, but you’re not quite there yet, and I’ve found that everybody gets more sleep if we spend a couple of hours in the morning taking a Snuggle Nap.
What happens is that after your 5 a.m. (or so) feeding, I pull you into bed with us, and I put your head on the crook of my elbow so it’s well-free of pillows and blankets and other possible respiratory blockers. You usually thrash around for a few minutes (and you’ve given some choice elbow hits to the food sources, I might add), but you settle down pretty quickly, and we all snooze for a while longer. My tolerance for wiggling has gone way up, probably due to sheer exhaustion.
It would probably be nice turnabout if I put you in the middle of the bed rather than the outside, because that way your dad could experience the joy of sleeping with an enthusiastic wiggler, but I generally put you on the outside, again because it’s easier to keep you clear of pillows and blankets that way. The only problem is that you like to cuddle up. You do this position we call the S, with your chest thrust forward and your head and butt thrust back, and you scootch ever-closer to me. That makes me need to back up and rearrange the pillows and blankets to guarantee your airspace. Then you cuddle up again, and the next thing you know, your dad is pushed to the edge of the bed.
He doesn’t complain, though, because that’s a lot better than hearing screaming from the living room as I try to calm you down, which is what used to happen. Some of the screaming was even yours. By the way, did you know that in baby calculations, 5 hours counts as sleeping through the night? That is weird math, I tell you what. But you can pretty consistently go 4 or 4.5 now, so you’re getting darn close.
This was the month of the mobile. Your favorite mobile is made of a set of art cards from Wee Gallery, which hang from a metal frame. I put one over your changing table, and you can smile and kick at that thing for many consecutive minutes. Who knew that diaper changes would become your favorite time of day? You used to throw a fit every time we got your drawers off; now we just let you hang out on there for an extra while because you enjoy it so much.
I bought two more of the mobiles, and I set up a little activity station in the corner of the dining room for you with your bouncy seat and a mobile dangling above it. The other night, your dad and I had, for quite literally the first time in three months, an unhurried dinner during which we chatted about our days, used actual utensils, and indulged in condiments. This is quite a contrast from the usual M.O. we’d adopted, in which we sit down in the living room with dinner dishes in our lap, you in your swing, blatantly denying every smiling-faced endorser of the baby-swing-as-magic-bullet as you shout for attention. I would cram my dinner in my mouth as fast as possible while your dad tried to entertain you, and then when I was done, he would eat while I tried to keep you calm.
The mobile activity station hasn’t worked every single time, but it’s a start, and we’re beginning to see glimpses of you as an actual companion and family member rather than a (the word that comes to mind is parasite, but that seems too harsh. If you were ever a parasite, you were the most adorable parasite that ever lived, and you got more kisses and goo-goo talk and cuddles than any tick I’ve met; perhaps a better phrase is taker more than a giver). Every day now, you have at least a few long smiling spells, and yesterday, you laughed for the first time.
Your dad was holding you, and I came up and did one of the thousand goofy things I do every day, probably some kind of silly talk and kisses. That got you smiling, and during one particularly big smile, you gave a bona fide peal of laughter.
And you know what? I don’t even care so much that you can’t sleep the so-called magical five hours. When I’m up with you in the night, and you’re eating so happily, and you drowse off in my arms, I think about how much you’ve changed since you were that tiny speck I worried that I’d dislodged when I fell on the sidewalk. Every day, you’re my baby a bit less. I would be crazy not to want to spend an extra hour with my sweet little you.