It started around 2.5 weeks into D's life. He started being "fussy." Since this is the normal colicky period, we resigned ourselves to a couple months of nighttime fussiness. We tried working out his gas with leg bicycles and tummy massage. I cut out dairy (and then added it back in) in an attempt to remove potential allergens from my diet. I became diligent about his naps in an attempt to prevent him from getting overtired. We shushed and bounced and swayed the days away.
But then, the magic "it gets better" points came and went. His digestion did improve around 5 months, but the nighttime grouchiness continued. It morphed into daytime grouchiness. Some days he cried constantly. He was put on antacid medication by one pediatrician, then another said it does no good and "reflux" will resolve soon anyway.
In the midst of all this, I started googling "baby cries all the time" "baby never sleeps" "X weeks old and still colicky." I was directed to various sites and articles that seemed to fit D. They described a "high needs" baby. It fit him perfectly! Can't be put down, feeds all the time, doesn't sleep well. It was a relief to find out he's "normal" in his own way, but also frustrating because I didn't want to have a baby that was special, even if it meant he was totally developmentally normal, just tempermental. I didn't want to label my tiny little guy, but I wanted desperately to know I wasn't alone.
Thank goodness for Facebook. There are many groups for moms who have babies like D! And as I read their posts, they sounded so familiar. "My baby hates the car." "I can't take a shower without him screaming the whole time." "Why are his naps only 30 minutes long?" There is comfort in knowing there are others out there in your same difficult situation. The moms who'd been at it longer had pointers.
But it's still so hard, because the Internet is virtual, and D is real. My nights are still so, so hard. Every time I hang out with other moms with babies, I'm reminded how different he is. When I'm asked to leave storytime at the library (yes, that actually happened), I'm reminded how different he is. Every time I turn down an invitation because it might possibly interfere with his finely tuned nap schedule, I'm reminded. When he cries when anyone other than me or Nick holds him, I'm reminded. When I'm stuck standing outside the restaurant or party with a screaming baby, I'm reminded.
I know that this too shall pass, but right now things are still rough. I know "the days are long but the years are short," but these days are not getting any shorter. When I see a mom with a toddler, I am so hopeful for the future. We just have to make it there.
Could you be any cuter? I attest that you could not. Remember when you were this wee little guy?
I'm not crying. Who's crying? Definitely not me.
This month, you started laughing slightly more. We still have to work hard to get a laugh out of you. You like when we say the word "toot," which we say a lot because your gas is a big subject of discussion around here. Parenthood is like that. You also like your neck rolls nommed on and raspberries on your belly. Funny noises can easily get a smile out of you, but a laugh is something that requires a bit of effort. You're also rolling over from back to tummy now all the time! Then you scoot backward. Crawling is so frighteningly close. Plus, you're sitting up, mostly! And you found your feet! This month has been huge for development.
You also decided that Kiwi is the coolest. You want to pet her and be in her life at all times. It's precious, although Kiwi would probably beg to differ.
You stayed on antacid meds this month and wow, you are different. You seem overall happier, and you very rarely have "unsoothable" periods. That is huge. It's such an improvement that we've even ventured out to restaurants a couple times. Then we're quickly reminded why we don't go to restaurants. You're not a fan. Maybe someday...
You are still a voracious eater. I'll do another post about breastfeeding thoughts later, but in summary, we won't be stopping anytime soon. You'll start solids once we get the go ahead from your pediatrician this week.
You still have zero teeth! Everyone we've ever met says "teething, eh?" when they observe your grumpiness and penchant for finger chewing. If that is the case, these teeth have been emerging since you were about 6 weeks old. You're just drooly and like to chew things. Everyone needs a hobby.
Baby D, I have spent a lot of your life willing you to grow up, to grow out of whatever stage you're in because maybe things will get easier for us if you just got a bit older. This month, as you got a little brighter and laughed a little more, I starting wanting time to slow way, way down. You are a sweet, intense, loving little guy and I want you to stay this wee and precious forever. I can't believe half a year has passed since you entered our lives. It is a blur of smiles and tears. You have challenged us so much, and we love you for it.