In his Grasp

It’s not just ring toys our boy is gripping these days. He hangs on to everything, including our shirts when we hold him. It’s so amazing to watch his humanity develop slowly, like a Polaroid photo. And so sweet to feel him hanging onto us as we hang onto him. Plus he’s not scratching his face so much.

His hair is starting to grow back on top of his head, fine and black. He’s not sleeping quite as well as he was at his best, and it’s hard for me to sleep before his first (approximately 1am) wake-up. I don’t know why. Even if I go to bed at 10pm, I just toss and turn and wait for him to wake up.

Last night I finally got up and put him in bed next to me, hoping he’d go ahead and feed, but he was too dead asleep. So he had his usual approximate wake-ups around 1am, 3am, 5:30am, and 8. And this mama is getting further and further and further behind on sleep. (I’m an even worse napper than my son is. I basically can’t nap during the day unless I’m practically dead from exhaustion. So that doesn’t really help anything, even if he did nap enough that I could sleep while he slept.)

It’s also been a little frustrating that suddenly he’s so distractible while breastfeeding. He’ll act hungry, and I’ll get myself all situated to feed him, and he’ll suckle for a minute and then pop off and look around or just stare at something, and he does this over and over until I get fed up (no pun intended) and get up to do something else instead.

Then sometimes he’ll be a little grumbly because he’s kind of hungry, and I’ll try to get him to nap, and he won’t nap, so we’ll play a bit, and he’ll be a bit grumpy, and then finally I feed him again, and then maybe he catnaps, and then I try to entertain him for a while, but he’s grumpy again, so I take him for a walk outside, and FINALLY he passes out from exhaustion. Until when? Who knows? I’m sitting here writing on the floor next to him, too scared to even get up and sit on the couch in case he sense my absence…

Yeah, it’s a bit of an exhausting stretch. But he is so much more alert and aware, and I know these big leaps can be overwhelming for these little beings. He seems sometimes so wise and ready for anything, but it’s still the fourth trimester, after all. He’s still a wee newborn, no matter how much he acts sometimes like he’s practically ready for college. So he’s still the center of everything, as much as possible / practical.

I’m so glad I’m able to stay home with him. I don’t know how I’d handle if it I had to send him to daycare soon, much less if I’d already had to do so. America is cruel the way it so often separates children from their mothers so early. Even before the gratuitous cruelty at the border.

Ahmed did teach me a way to get him to nap that sometimes works. You have to rock him pretty hard in his bouncy chair (or in a pillow in your lap, as Ahmed often does it) and making loud shushing or hissing or humming sounds in a certain slow rhythm. It takes some patience, but if the gentleman is willing, it can put him right out. I guess that’s what dads are for — the mom can rely on the breast to put the little ones to sleep, but dad has to figure out something else. Necessity is the father of invention, right?

There have definitely been some awesome World Cup games (and upsets and dramas), and it’s such a lovely cap to these five endless years to be sitting here with my little guy watching the world play.

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Ahmed’s first Father’s Day was delightful. I got him a travel mug from Shutterfly with pictures of Ali on it (and one pic of his wife holding Ali, why not), and I also put Ali in our bed all night the night before and fed him every time he stirred so that Ahmed could get some really good sleep. He’d been getting up a lot at night when Ali fussed with gas or whatever and he was running even further behind on sleep than I was, given that occasionally the baby lets me sleep in a little and Ahmed never has that luxury on weekdays. (Ahmed is also more likely to get up for early games than I am.)

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We worked together to put together a picture frame we got at the baby shower that had places for his hand and footprints. Let me tell you — it’s not easy to get a newborn’s hand print. It would have been almost impossible a few weeks ago, but we were just barely able to do it, even though it was a slightly sloppy job. (This was the best out of four attempts.)

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I made an impromptu dessert after cooking up a salmon dinner using leftover ganache I had from a chocolate truffle recipe I tried a while back. (I put in too much coconut milk and ended up with ganache instead of truffles. I froze the ganache and tried to form it into frozen patties and coat them with toasted coconut. Whatever. It was chocolate.) I put little mounds of ganache on each strawberry half and sprinkled them with chocolate sprinkles and toasted coconut. Turned out well, like non-messy chocolate-covered strawberries.

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One thing that is making my life a little easier is side-lying feeding Ali at night on the top boob instead of the bottom boob using a wedge pillow. This way I can stack my hips and relax instead of being at an awkward, painful leaning-out angle. It makes a world of difference, and Ali doesn’t seem to mind either way.

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Since two weeks after the birth, I’ve been hanging out at 135 pounds, which is 10 pounds over my baseline weight, which is fine with me. With my physical therapy, I’m getting stronger at the core, even if I can’t do a lot of cardio yet, and I’m just not worrying about anything else. This is a time to rest, recuperate, and be present with the little guy. Not to mention it’s evolutionarily smart to have some extra fat while you’re breastfeeding in case there’s a famine or something (or the baby just won’t give you a minute to feed yourself!)

It’s nice not to feel pressured to do anything but these simple, subtle but tough exercises targeting the deep muscles that stabilize everything else. It’s long overdue anyway. The foundation I’m laying now will serve me well for life, and I’m grateful for it.

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3 thoughts on “In his Grasp

  1. Ahhhhhh the boys of cumulative sleep dep. This is when it really starts to hurt! You guys sound like you are doing so great though. Yu have settled in for this “season” and that will help you get through. The season goes for awhile though. The 4th trimester ends and you move into the 4mth sleep regression. Expect that and you will come off pleasantly surprised if things are better. 🙂

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