It’s such fun at this stage as Penny is discovering what it is to be playful and explore what she can do now that she’s found her hands and her feet. It’s such fun watching her discover new skills – like when she kicks the bars over her playmate the star lights up and plays music. It amazes us that a child so young can learn cause and effect! Sometimes she’s totally mesmerized by her toys and other times she looks at us like she’s above them and wants some high level intellectual stimulation… or maybe that’s just us and our wishful thinking!
Regardless, here’s a little window into what each day at our place looks like.
There are some moments in life where you pause and it feels like time stops altogether. You feel in your bones like this is a moment you will look back on many years down the road. It has been too long since my last post, and in that time I have experienced several of these moments.
When rocking Penny to sleep, I often gently rub her head. Sometimes when I do this, she wraps her tiny hand around my finger and squeezes tightly, resting her head on my chest as she ever so gently drifts off to sleep. In those moments I remember how so very small and vulnerable she is. I remember how badly she needs me right now – for absolutely everything. The other night I teared up looking at her little hand. Thinking of all that lies ahead for her – learning to talk and walk and eat, going to school, exploring nature, making friends, mending broken hearts, traveling, having her own children one day… There is so much ahead of her, so much to discover. And right now her world is so small and she’s so precious. I thought about what it’ll be like getting to know her as a person – this tiny creature that I made with my body.
In my moments of frustration when she’s waking up for the eighth time of the night, I have found that visualizing that little hand of hers wrapped around my finger helps me to find all the patience I never knew I had within me.
Some people say you shouldn’t rock a baby to sleep. That you’re teaching “bad habits” that you’ll “never be able to break”. To me, I’d rather teach my little one the comfort of loving arms, and help her to know that sleep is a safe and peaceful state. I want to cherish the time when she will let me rock her to sleep because I know there will come a time that I will do that for the last time. Right now, we are experiencing so many firsts – every day it feels like a “first time Penny …” But I am mindful of the reality that these things will have lasts too. Probably far earlier than I’ll be ready for with some of them. And for now, I want to cherish the moments as best as I can, despite my sleep deprived state.
The best moments are the ones when she gets this great big bright smile. She smiles with her whole face and it melts my heart completely. She’s starting to giggle which is the most beautiful music to this tired momma’s ears.
Cuddly, pensive and curious is how I’d describe Penny at 3 months. She is smiling frequently at us (at sometimes at strangers too) which is just beautiful. She’s growing quickly and becoming increasingly playful. Every day it feels like there’s something new she does for the “first time”. How incredible it is experiencing the world through the eyes of a child, so fresh and curious about the world. Her mind and spirit so untarnished by the brutal realities of the world. Our fun loving little “baby bear” is three months and has started to sing along with mommy, grabs toys, and loves kicking on her playmat.
A common question people ask new parents: “is your little one sleeping through the night yet?” This topic and question is the focus of much new parent reading and the topic of many a text conversation between mom and dad. It’s a question that fills you with dread as you worry the answer you give will result in such judgement from the person asking as it feels like your ability to be successful as a parent relies on this magical “sleeping through the night” reality. You also dread the onslaught of advice about all the things you should be trying – “have you tried swaddling her?”, “you have to put her down, she shouldn’t be sleeping on you, that’s creating bad habits!”, “you have to let her cry”, “play classical music for her”, “you should … Etc etc”. As if you haven’t tried swaddling her, rocking her, humming to her, in the bathroom with the fan on for white noise… And every single other suggestion you can find on every blog, message board and Facebook moms group. Because desperate times call for desperate measures and sleep deprivation catches up with you. It took about two months for it to catch up with me. And suddenly I’m doing all kinds of things I never would have imagined…
After the barrage of suggestions, you brace yourself for the horror stories: “my kid didn’t sleep through the night until he was five.” … 😳
I have accepted the reality that sleep is different for me now. And I am a big fan of sleep. Weekends were always a time of ten to twelve hour sleep marathons for me – yes even into my early thrities. I guess I was stocking up for this period without realizing it. I realize that my baby has a tiny tummy and needs to refuel quite frequently. I wasn’t quite prepared for the wake ups to be every hour and a half however. Especially as the weeks went on and friends were telling me about their babies sleeping for 4 or 6 hours in a row… My little one rarely got 3 in a row, occasionally 4, but most of the night every hour to two hours we were up with her feeding. Was I doing something wrong? I put in place a “nighttime routine” following the same steps, started saying the same things, reading the same bedtime story, swaddling her in the sleep sac, having her sleep on me, having her sleep beside me, heat up in the room, heat down, music, white noise… etc… Everything in the books. It didn’t seem to make any difference what I did her wake ups followed the same pattern.
The thing they don’t tell you though is for infants, the definition of “sleeping through the night” is five hours of consecutive sleep. So I’m pleased to say that for the first time since she was born, Penny has “slept through the night”, clocking in at 5 hours and 45 minutes. Mom got to sleep for 4 hours in a row and it was a beautiful thing! As with all things baby though I have quickly learned that no two days are ever the same, and often what happens once doesn’t happen again anytime soon…