Thursday, November 3, 2011

3 Months

Luciana turned 3 months last Saturday. I'm more smitten than ever.

And it's true what They say about the transition that happens at 3 months. She's been an incredibly alert baby since she came out, and she's only becoming more so. The transitions they talked about, though, didn't include the challenge that happened last night, which is that in her attempts to roll over, her fixation on rolling over--she tries to practice even when sitting in her swing---kept her, and therefore me, up all night.

I've felt so lucky to have a baby that sleeps well. Last night she was a different creature: at first up every hour and a half, and then by 3am it was every 45 minutes. Nothing was wrong, she'd fall right back asleep after cuddling or eating for a few minutes, but finally at about 4:30 I saw what was happening: she was trying to roll and getting frustrated and stuck in her swaddle blanket. Then she'd bust out of the swaddle and freak herself out with all her limbs going everywhere. I brought her into bed then (she sleeps in a co-sleeper which I love and totally recommend), kept her pretty much unswaddled next to me, she rolled onto her side and we both slept til 645. I actually woke up a couple times in there because I was so shocked she was actually sleeping in this new way. Like a big girl.

I wasn't the best sport about the waking up in the night. Yesterday was one of those can't-see-6-inches-in-front-of-my-face-I'm-so-tired days. I went to bed at 9 and was so counting on those hours til 1230 or 1 when she would wake up for the first time. There was, according to Sky, some stomping around the house (I had to get water), and dramatic throwing of the light switch when I went to the bathroom. I can be a real brat when tired. Then this morning, though, when Luciana was all smiles and so happy to play by herself for the 20 minutes I needed to help Sky get out of the house, make tea, wipe off the counter, what They say is also true: the babies are worth every second of discomfort we feel as parents.

As she wakes up more, responds to more stimuli (she loves flying on our knees, she loves singing, she loves grabbing everything but mostly things attached to a human like fingers and hair), a whole new set of feelings come up around Being Enough. Am I fun enough? interesting enough? smart enough? creative enough? for this burgeoning brain? Will she associate me with housecleaning rather than playtime? Does she think I come and go because sometimes I play with her and sometimes I let her be? Does she love her grandma more? Am I modeling ungraceful eating habits because lunch happens when I'm on the floor with her if it happens at all? All of this is totally heightened on the tired days, which even if you have the best sleeper in the universe, as a new parent, they're going to happen.

So what I say to myself this morning, and to any new parents or parents to be if you want to hear, is YES we're enough and none of that stuff above matters when it happens now and then. Not in the long term. I have to remember to think big-picture. "It's not what they eat in a day, it's what they eat in a week" one of my best friends said to me before I had Luciana. And that goes for everything. If I have a day or two or three where I don't feel inspired at playtime; if I have to eat all my meals on the floor for 2 weeks; if I have a morning where I actually do have to work and it's a little less focussed on her, it's really OK. I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir, but I find that even if I know something I sometimes have to hear it over and over and over again on the days my mind wants to attack me. Not a day goes by that Luciana doesn't get cuddled, kissed, sung to, introduced to something new, even if it's a leaf on a different plant on our block. Not a day goes by that she doesn't hear that I love her, daddy loves her, her grandma loves her, and God (because we do talk about that) loves her. The woman who leads my mom group (I told you I'd keep referencing it) reminded me that it's not our job to give our babies a stress-free life; it's our job to help them deal with and respond to stress in a healthy way. So that little fussy cry when I've been working 5 minutes too much for her is OK. She's going to get a huge hug and see that she's OK when I stop working to be with her, and the next day I don't have to work at all.

Just now, before I wrote this, I put her down for a nap. Based on last night I didn't completely swaddle her: left one arm out as I've read this is the way to start transitioning them out of a swaddle. At first it failed. I left the room, she started to cry; I went back in and she was flailing about. So I pulled the exercise ball (I don't know how parents survived without these) up to the co-sleeper and I held her hand. Put my other hand on her chest and rocked her a little. She startled herself a couple of times when the free arm moved in space, but I found if I let her keep hold of my finger with her fingers and held her hand with my palm, she didn't wake herself up. I've been trying to get back into my meditation practice which I find incredibly challenging to make the time for, so I took advantage of being still and silent with her. I rested my head on the bar of the co-sleeper, closed my eyes, and let my mind open and rest for a few minutes. Then I gently released her hand, rested her arm up in an angle by her ear like you see babies do in pictures (grown-ups learn from pictures too!) and she's still out.

Progress. One day at a time.


  1. Love it! I'm so curious - how did you find your mom group? I'm due in February, and desperatly want to find a good support system, but have no clue how to go about finding one...

  2. Beautiful post. Thanks for sharing. You look gorgeous, by the way! You are totally "in your element." xo.

  3. Awww. Yes. I have had so many feelings in the four weeks that I have been a mom. Have I been playing enough? Have I put her down too much? The answer is not to worry as you say. Just love her as much as I can.

  4. Betty: I found my group through friends--they have kids older than luciana and recommended. are you in LA? i am happy to pass on to you. other resources: lactation consultants, pediatricians, and preschools.... Nicole: thank you!!!
    Meghan! I didn't know you had a babe! heading over to your blog right now to get details! i have a serious problem keeping up on my blogs right now:) CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

  5. Melanie, love this post. It's so real...and not to thrown water on your fire, but those questioning thoughts continue. I have a two year old, Jack, and still wonder if I'm doing enough for his curious and sponge-like mind.
    A suggestion, if you are up for it...Jack started acting like a little Houdini around 7 weeks so we, too, decided that it was waking him up and began the weaning ofnthe swaddle. After talking to the pediatrician about a baby's need for the swaddle for months, we decided that our idea was not the best and instead we needed a new approach...we bought the miracle blanket and he was sleeping like a champion once again. I highly recommend it (we ran out to buy a second one immediately!).
    Good luck!

  6. oh what a beautiful mama and baby! btw - elodie was swaddled until almost seven months. what were we thinking? it all seemed so hard at the time but all that hard fades to pure, shining love. happy three months luciana!

  7. @Ms Goat:): we are using the miracle and its what she's breaking out of! thinking maybe they make them in different sizes and i need a bigger one???

    @Elizabeth every morning (and honestly every time in the middle of the night) that she smiles up at me.....well, if she didn't let me sleep at all she'd still be the most precious gift in the world to me.