My little man will be two months old tomorrow! Can you believe it? I certainly can't! (Funny story--his birthday is the 22nd, but 3 times now, I've said or acted like it's the 23rd. What's wrong with me that I can't remember my own son's birthday?)
We're continuing to adjust to our new life. Things are just so much more difficult and different than I imagined they would be. I adore my son, but he's a little sinful person, full of personality and preferences and even annoyances. Even now, I can already see that while he's very sweet, he's very impatient and can be very stubborn. I think he got both of those traits from me. Every time I see glimpses of them, I just pray that he'll learn to get out from under their spell more quickly than his mommy has. It continues to amaze me that he can have so much personality at such a young age. It also tells me that I'm going to have my work cut out for me!
I'm learning to pray differently than I used to. Maybe it's different, and maybe it's just more. I've found that in the middle of the night when I'm at my wit's end because he's up for the 4th time, I spend time praying over each little inch of his body. I start at one end and go to the other and then back again. I pray that his feet will one day carry the good news to those who have not yet heard it. I pray that his hands will be gentle, and strong, and capable, and used for service. I pray that he'll have ears to hear the Lord. I pray that his little mouth will grow to be one that speaks kindness, love, and truth into people's lives. I pray that his mind will be sharp, and focused on heavenly things. I pray that his heart will be tender. I pray that his eyes will see people as Jesus does. In praying those things, I also pray them for my husband and I. I want us to be the kind of people who model the kind of person we want him to be. And I know for me, I have a long way to go in pretty much every department. It's a good thing that our kids start out as babies: it gives us time to make mistakes and changes before they're old enough to remember! So anyway, I try to focus on praying rather than on counting the minutes until he's done eating and I can go to sleep.
This is going to sound silly, but I've found that the biggest challenge with motherhood (aside from the insane sleep deprivation) is that I can't reason with him. I can't tell him that I know best and so he should eat or go to sleep or whatever. (Well, I can tell him these things, but it won't do either of us much good). I can't ask him why he's crying or tell him that if he just settles down, changing his diaper or putting his clothes on will go much more quickly and then his source of irritation will be over. I want to tell him that mommy knows what he needs and what is best for him so would he just comply, please? I know this may sound like a "duh!" moment--like, "Duh, Jen, of course you can't reason with a newborn!" but I guess I didn't realize how much I depend reason for communication (bear with me--I know THAT sounds stupid too but I can't explain it better, so just blame my sleep deprivation). As I sit there wrestling with him, trying to tell him that he'll have a much easier time eating and he'll get what he wants sooner if he just calms down, I wonder how many times God feels the exact same way with me. He's communicating, He knows what's best and what I need, but I'm just not getting it. I'd rather cry and arch my back and fight instead. This part of parenting is teaching me a lot about patience and creativity. I have to be patient through the inability to communicate as I normally would, and think creatively for new solutions. Thankfully God is patient with me, and is also persistent in trying to communicate with me when traditional methods fail, so I try to remember those things when it's 2:00am and I just want to cry because I'm so tired.
The biggest surprise has been the sleep deprivation. Honestly, this is my biggest area for struggle. The get up to pee every 2 hours part of pregnancy started really early for me, so I was already sleeping only in little spurts for a long time before he was born. But he'll be two months old tomorrow, and he still only sleeps 3 hours at a time, maximum. I think I can count on two hands the amount of times he's slept longer than that. And 3 hours is if I'm lucky. Normally, it's two. I have lots of friends whose children were sleeping 5, 6, even 8 hours by this age and I'm so very jealous. I feel like I'm nearing the end of my ability to keep going at this pace. And I can't help but feel like I'm doing something wrong. Like there's something in my diet that makes my milk metabolize too quickly. Or something in my parenting style that's not helping him learn healthy sleep habits. Or something wrong with my capacity for patience that I feel like I can't keep doing this. I guess that's my biggest prayer--for sleep, for all of us. I knew sleep deprivation would be a way of life--I guess I just didn't know it would be this prolonged. Really, Matthew is an easy baby in a lot of ways so if sleep is our biggest problem, I know I am blessed. But I still pray that relief is very near. Right now I feel like I operate on borrowed time--like if I do *anything* other than sleep when he's sleeping, I'll regret it later. That makes it really hard to tend to my marriage and other relationships, to want to do anything like go to church or even do the grocery shopping, or to keep up with my tasks around the house. I know I CAN let some of those things go for now, and I have, but some things (marriage, church, friendships!) I WANT to resume and I just feel like I can't, at least not the way I'd like to. I still think of EVERYTHING in terms of "could I be sleeping right now?" Like I said--I knew this would be life for a while, but I didn't realize it would be so long with such minimal improvement. I just feel overwhelmed in this area-it's hard to find a balance for things.
DH is a wonderful daddy. I always knew he would be. I love to listen to him talk to Matthew, sing to him, play with him. Most every morning, DH takes Matthew out to do errands with him so I can get a couple hours of deep sleep, rather than that half-awake-listening-for-the-baby-sleep. It's such a gift for me, and it also blesses my heart as a mommy and wife to see them spending that time together. Hopefully, years from now I won't still need that sleep assistance, but I hope they'll still have times like that together that Matthew can remember.
Matthew is just a love. Around week 3-4, he started discovering his hands-looking at them, putting them in his mouth, touching them to each other, touching his face, moving them, clasping them--so cute to watch. Once, he caught glimpse of his feet and his eyes got huge, as if to say, "WHAT are THOSE!?" Week 5-ish, he started exploring his mouth. He makes the funniest faces. He sticks out his tongue over and over and over again like a little froggy. He'll make the taco shape with his tongue, too, or form a big O with his mouth. He smacks his lips and does fish-face. It's so DARN cute. I love to watch him just explore what he can do. We've seen a couple of sort-of smiles--I hope we see the real thing, soon! With all this mouth-action, he's also started drooling--cute in its own way, but kind of gross, too ;)
Last week, he was sitting in his bouncer and he reached up and smacked the toys. At first, I thought it was incidental because he tends to flail, but the next day, he did it, very deliberately, while sitting in his carseat. That was fun to see. This week, he's just enjoying looking at things. I watch him just gaze at his surroundings-his mobile, pictures on the wall, whomever is holding him, etc. He loves to be sitting up too. He can hold his head up about 80% of the time and he can even turn it to look at things. His Aunt Tina bought him a Bum.bo seat--I can't wait for it to get here so he can sit up to his heart's content!
He also LOVES to be outside. LOVES it. DH says the great-outdoors is Matthew's drug. He can be fussy-fussy-fussy, and you take him outside and he's instantly mesmerized. This weekend we took a picnic in a park and all 3 of us lay on a blanket and just watched the world go by. It was perfect. I'm grateful we live in a climate where we can be outside pretty much a little bit of each day, all year round. Remind me that I said that when it's July and I'm grumpy about how hot it is!
Last week, we reached another milestone--he had his first cold. Thankfully, it was mild and went away quickly, but that was no fun!
DH took today off and we had a 3 day mini "stay-cation" (I hate that word!). We just stayed home, turned off our phones, and only went on the computer to play rummikub with each other. We went bowling, we went on a picnic, we had a lunch date outside near a lovely fountain, we did errands, we played games, we took walks, we napped, we worked in our garden--it was wonderful just to have some connect time with each other. We were both feeling a little frazzled and disconnected from each other, so the R&R time together did wonders for us. It was fun to enjoy our new little family in a little bit more than just survival mode.
Well, speaking of sleep, it's very late, and I need to be getting some. I'm sorry I go so long between updates, but hopefully he'll start sleeping better and I'll want to spend time doing something other than sleeping!
Oh, PS: His baby dedication will be April 17 at our church if you're in the area and you want to join us. Service starts at 9:00am.
PSS: His two month check up is next week and we need to have made our decisions about vaccinations by then. Please join us in prayers for wisdom--I didn't expect to struggle so much with this decision. (Disclaimer--I appreciate your prayers, but I'm not looking for opinions on vaccines right now--I'm having enough trouble sorting out my own thoughts! I do have lots of research and resources already.)
Anyway, goodnight! I will leave you with some pictures (c'mon, we all know that's why you're really here!) ;)
All in green for St. Patty's Day!
Chillin with dad
We were on a walk. Matthew wanted to be held, and Lewis was tired of walking. So DH picked up Matthew and Lewis got to ride home.