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Here we are again, another month down. Another month of waking up every morning to exclaim how big he’s gotten overnight. Another month of marveling at how very different he is now than he was (insert time frame here — yesterday, last week, last month). This month I celebrated the anniversary of the day I found out I was pregnant, and as a result we’ve entered a time frame where I remember where I was and where he was this time last year. I remember those feelings of wonder, pressing my hand against my still-flat(ter) stomach and thinking of the tiny life inside me, barely more than a bundle of cells dividing rapidly. I have all of his ultrasound photos up on the bulletin board still, and in a few short weeks we’ll be at the date of the first series. Baby, the label says, with a small arrow in case you missed the appropriate smudge. He was the size of a poppy seed, an apple seed, a peanut, and now he’s being referred to as my bruiser, the future linebacker, and mistaken for a six-month-old. What a crazy thing this life-building process is.

My parents were here this month, helping to take care of the baby while I went back to work. I thought for certain I would be ready to have my house back by the time they left, but instead I miss them more than I think I have since I watched my father leave me alone at boarding school 19 years ago. I have gotten used to peeking into their room (aka my craft room) in the morning and seeing them there, sharing coffee over breakfast, having them here when I come home. Some of my missing them is missing another set of adult humans to share baby-holding duties with, but more than that I miss them in particular. Watching my father with his grandson was a daily delight — the two of them have a special bond, that’s all I can say — and listening to my mother talk to him brought back memories of those sing-song tones being used with me and with my sister. The morning after they left, my mother called me on her way to work and I held the phone up for the baby. She said, “Hello my little pookienoo!” and his eyes got very wide; he looked at me as if to ask how did I get his grandmother in that tiny box? As I write this, he is having his morning nap, and all I can think is, he should be napping on my dad, this is their nap time. I miss them. It was a joy to have them here in a way I never imagined it would be, and I miss them terribly.

About two weeks ago, my mother spotted two little tooth buds in the baby’s mouth, lines of white on his lower gums. I had seen them earlier but thought I was misinterpreting what they were. With that information, his increased fussiness and the part where his sleep schedule has gone crazy make a lot more sense. We gave him Tylenol and he napped for three hours that afternoon, poor little guy. I’m trying not to use it too often, but it does seem to help. He hasn’t liked the cold teething rings, preferring instead to gnaw on cloth or rubber. I acquired the oh-so-trendy Sophie the giraffe and she has proven to be tasty. I keep hoping those little white lines will pop through and give us both some relief, but so far they are hanging out under the gum, content to give my poor baby fevers and discomfort.

Also new this month are the oh-so-close-to-rolling-over maneuvers the baby does on a regular basis. By the end of this week, he has flipped almost completely over, with his belly and hips flat on the ground, but that one arm still tucked under so it’s not all the way done yet. I was really hoping he’d get the hang of it before my parents left, but he hasn’t yet. I am told that he is supposed to go from belly to back first, since it is easier, but he shows absolutely no interest in doing so. I probably don’t give him enough tummy time, but when he is on his belly he’s either perfectly happy to just hang out or totally frustrated and over it, so rolling is not really on his agenda. I’m not worried; he’ll figure it out eventually.

I have to put toys on the table now while I am eating with him in my lap. It’s usually a little Eeyore with a mirror/rattle on the bottom that my mother got for him. I have to do this because he has decided that reaching for stuff on a table is the best thing ever, and as a result he will grab my plate, food, silverware, or anything else within grabbing distance. I am also discovering this means he wants to help mama type, or move the mouse. Busy baby is very busy!

A few days ago I was in the baby stuff store and saw an 8-day-old. It was startling to see him next to my baby and realize how much has changed in just four months. Our pile of outgrown clothes is getting big and now includes a stack of 3-month sized items, while the wardrobe he is actively wearing is increasingly made up of 6-month size clothes. It seems like every day I try to put him in something only to discover it doesn’t fit anymore, and I look at some of these outfits thinking how tiny they look, then remember they were big on him once upon a time. Given that his father and I were both in the less-than-25-percentiles growing up, I expected to have a small baby. Surprise! The growth charts continue to insist he is mostly average height and slightly above average weight, but he seems huge to me.

It’s so odd to write these little posts; I’m never sure what to include. Surely I will remember the big things, like rolling over and teething. So do I comment on minutiae, those little things which probably don’t mean anything to anyone other than me? He has developed incredibly thick earwax this month, gobs of bright orange stuff. My husband thought I had been scratched by the cat until he realized all those lines on my chest were courtesy of our son, whose fingernails remain talon-like even after being trimmed. He snores. He has a tiny patch of eczema over his right eye which is intermittently itchy. When he poos, wait for the second (or third) round before changing his diaper, because they never come alone. His stork bite gets very dark when he cries. His belly button still occasionally seems to ooze a bit.

One time this month, he was fussing in his pack-n-play and just as I leaned over and his eyes met mine, his sound of choice was “MAaaa.” I know it was pure coincidence, but my heart still skipped a beat. I know the day will come soon enough that he says it and means it “for real”, but I can wait. I’m learning the value of taking every minute for itself, this baby time is flying by so fast, and so I can definitely wait.

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So many changes in one month!

Our big change this month is that we have moved out of the small house we loved so much into an enormous place in a much more rural area. In our old house, we could walk to the grocery store and often did so. I miss being able to do that very much, but on the other hand our new house is beautiful, and it is a neighborhood where children still run around without grownups constantly watching to make sure they don’t get run over or accosted by strangers. We have an enormous park nearby, a small playground down the block, and the closest small town has festivals, train rides, and a gorgeous library. It is a lovely place to raise a little boy, even if getting groceries is a little more of an expedition than it used to be.

Speaking of expeditions, this month we took a road trip to visit my family. My mother drove out to pick us up and my sister drove back with us, for which I am very grateful — I am definitely not up for a solo road trip with the baby. The time with family was lovely and involved a lot of visiting with many friends I don’t get to see nearly enough, including reconnecting with one of my best friends from college. I loved showing off the baby, but it was also nice to feel functional outside my house again.

Baby got the hang of smiling right before our road trip, and did a great job of charming everyone he came in contact with. His little giggles, chatting, and smiling just grew more and more over the course of the month, and I delight in watching his personality emerge. He is cautious in large groups or new environments, getting very quiet and taking everything in with his enormous blue eyes (we aren’t sure yet if they will stay that color, but they certainly are striking in the meantime), but with more secure surroundings he is ever eager to share his perspective on life.

After we got back from our trip and all our visitors were gone, BWB had a week of working nights. As I think I’ve mentioned before, when he is on nights I barely see him, and this week was no exception. He would get home around one or so, crash, and sleep until eight or nine, getting up right as I put the baby to bed. His shift started at midnight, so he’d leave after I went to bed, repeat the next day. Essentially, I was a single parent for the week, and goodness gracious did that suck. I love my son, I love spending time with him, I want to soak up every minute of his life, but I also like being able to eat, shower, or use the bathroom without the pressure of a tiny person needing me immediately. I don’t know how true single moms manage, I really don’t.

After this week of insanity, BWB had a day off, and the three of us plus dog went hiking. I had found a state park about 30 minutes from the house with some interesting-looking trails, and we headed over there to check it out. When I was growing up, my family used to go out to a state park to go hiking as a family, so this had some serious nostalgia factor for me. J slept through most of it in his carrier, but the rest of us had a great time. It was almost too hot, but we are hoping that when the weather cools off a bit more we’ll be able to get back out there as a family again. With BWB’s work schedule right now, managing to find any family time is remarkable, but that should get better in a few months. In any case, the hiking was a great hit and I am looking forward to more family hikes in the future.

We haven’t managed to make it to synagogue again yet, thanks mostly to BWB’s work schedule. I do take the baby to church with me most Sundays, and he is a big hit there. We sit in the back, for easy escape in case of meltdown, and our priest likes to take him into her arms while she is waiting for the final hymn to end. I say in case of meltdown, but most of the time he makes it through just fine. He loves to look at the lights through the stained glass, and seems to enjoy the music. Hopefully this fall we’ll make it up to temple more often — I find that I miss it, and I know that BWB does as well.

After church one day, at the very end of social hour, our priest and her partner, D, were sitting with us. D started to tickle the baby’s feet and make silly sounds and oh my goodness but did he laugh. He threw his head back and shrieked with laughter, he laughed with his whole body, he laughed and laughed and laughed. He hadn’t done anything like that before, and hasn’t quite been that amused since. It was hysterical, this little guy filling the whole hall with his peals, and of course we were laughing too. Pure joy.

I have seen reference to babies at the end of the third month “hatching”, suddenly becoming aware of their world and interacting in a way they hadn’t before, and I have definitely seen that this month. My mother has said in the past that it is sad that just as they start to get interesting, you have to go back to work. While I wouldn’t say that I’ve ever found my son uninteresting, per se, I understand what she means now. He is beginning to play with his toys, hands, and with me; I see him staring at objects and I know he’s working out in his head how he might be able to touch it. I love watching him discover the world. He is a delight, and is delighted with so many things.

Of course, with the close of three months my maternity leave is also ending. My anxiety about the end of maternity leave in the week leading up to starting back to work was intense. How much milk do I need to make sure he has? Will I be able to find time to pump? Will I be able to function without worrying every second I’m away from him? I know that he will be just fine, especially since I am leaving him with my parents this month. I am far more worried about myself.

Three months, and I can’t believe how big he’s gotten (even though he is still tiny) or how much he has changed since he was born (with so much growing left to do). How do I slow time down so I can catch up?

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