This has been a huge month of growth for both Camden and me.
For those familiar with the Wonder Weeks, you’ll understand and appreciate what we recently went through with Camden. If you aren’t familiar with the Wonder Weeks, you should google it! Basically, it’s this book about baby mental development milestones (leaps) and the rocky periods babies go through before and during these changes. These leaps really rock Camden’s world, and the fourth one (the most recent one) was by far the worst.
He was very irritable, fussy, and just in general not happy for weeks. This behavior is similar to what we noticed with him in the previous three leaps, but the fourth one lasted a whole month. A solid month of constant fussiness and lots of night wakings. I was convinced something was wrong with him. At first we thought he was teething (still no signs of teeth), and then I thought maybe he had an ear infection. I took him to the doctor, desperate for answers, but he was completely healthy.
And then right around 18 weeks we saw a huge change in him. He was much happier. Not only that, but he was suddenly showing off several new skills. He can now roll from his belly to his back, and is working on rolling from his back to his belly. He can twist, turn and scoot a few inches, grab toys and put them in his mouth. He has better control of his hands and arms and is discovering his feet and toes. He is curious and fascinated by everything around him, and loves exploring new places and meeting new people. He makes all kinds of sounds including giggling (the best), shrieking (in joy and frustration), blowing bubbles/raspberries, and so many babbles. He is always talking. He is going to ask all the questions and have all the stories in a few years!
I truly think he spent all that time frustrated with his body. His mental development was ahead of his physical development and he couldn’t grab toys or manipulate his body to get what he wanted. Now that he can, he entertains himself for good chunks of time. The amount of growth and change I have already seen in him in his four short months of life has been incredible. All that growing and learning must be taxing. I can’t really blame him. It’s tough being a baby!
I think the fourth leap was so long and rocky because it is the biggest development he has gone through so far. It is amazing to watch him learn new things, and he seems to be doing something new almost every day!
Finally my colicky, reflux baby is a happy, smiley little guy. Not gonna lie….up until this point I wondered what I got myself into. For the first time since he was born, I feel like I am finally fully enjoying motherhood.
Which brings me to….me. And the growth I went through this month. It’s been a big one, and something I plan to write more in detail about someday.
For starters, I realized I wasn’t taking care of myself. I didn’t feel like myself, and I didn’t feel okay. For those who have followed my blog and seen my posts about Camden, it was probably fairly obvious, and for those close to me it was likely obvious too. So I reached out for help. I started leaning more heavily on my village, and accepting help when people offered. I started prioritizing myself, making sure I get exercise, and giving myself some alone time when Steven gets home from work. As difficult as it sometimes is to take Camden out (he still cries in the car, although it’s getting better), I have been forcing myself to, and I often feel better as a result. I try to stack my days with errands, activities and interactions with other people, and it really makes a difference.
I’ve learned some big parenting lessons this month too, and am looking at things a little differently.
This first time mom thing, and parenting in general, is hard. You really don’t have a damn clue what you are doing. I thought it would be intuitive. I thought I would just know what my baby needed. I think maybe deep down I do, but learning to trust that intuition is a process. Parenting is an art — a learned art. And you know what? We’re not supposed to do it alone.
There are times when you need to lean on your people and there are times when you can go at it alone. There are times when you need therapy and medication and times when some decent sleep and a long walk will do the trick. There are times when snuggling is all you and your baby accomplish that day and there are times when you have to put the baby in his crib and walk away. There are times when you need to call someone while you and the baby both cry and there are times when you run to capture his laugh on video. Sometimes you just have to admit you are overwhelmed, and come to terms with the reality that is so unlike the picture you had in your head. Raising little humans is tough, and there is nothing wrong and everything right with being honest about it.