Monday, October 22, 2012

One Month With Calvin

What a month it has been! I don't think I've ever had a bigger wake-up call in my life. Motherhood is so fun and so wonderful - but also quite challenging. It's an enormous adjustment. One day, you're only focused on yourself and your own insignificant life; the next, your whole world is consumed by a (very vocal) 8-lb human being. Allow me to elaborate on each aspect of this handsome man's life.

Calvin is a great eater today, but he wasn't always this good. He had a rough beginning because of my C-section. We had his feedings supplemented with formula in the hospital during my recovery. He got used to the bottle very quickly and did NOT want to breastfeed. After a couple of weeks of relentless effort on my part (often enduring long crying spells on his part), we got him latched and good to go. The bonus after all this is that he will take either breast or bottle like a champ.

Awake Time
Calvin is pretty much only awake for a diaper change, a quick burp, and a few minutes of holding. I've discovered that he needs to go to bed within an hour of being awake (including feeding times) or else he gets overtired and is super hard to put down for sleep. I always look out for the first signs of drowsiness and then put him right down. I'm sad I only get a few minutes to play with him before nap time, but I know that will change as time goes on. It's fun to see him alert and looking around more and more as he grows. As of a few days ago, he makes full eye contact with me and his gaze follows me as I move around our apartment. He knows his mom! He also loves it when Dad comes home to play with him. He may not be super expressive yet (I have yet to catch a smile on camera, though he does smile), but I can tell he loves daddy time.

What a challenge this has been! Calvin is the type of baby that needs routine and structure, so I have been diligent about keeping our days pretty predictable. He knows when his day gets thrown off and is never happy about it! Getting him to learn to sleep in his crib has been very hard. Sometimes he'd be great, other times he'd just not be having it. I tried everything. Standing over him with my hand on his chest shushing him for hours on end, playing white noise, using a pacifier, letting him cry it out for a few minutes... nothing seemed to work long-term. Then one day I began to suspect that Calvin had mild reflux - he spits up a little after each meal, he gets hiccups frequently, he is pretty gassy and can be fussy after mealtimes, and he hates lying flat on his back. A good friend had suggested the Fisher Price Snuggabunny Newborn Sleeper, but I wanted to continue to train him to sleep in his crib. One desperate night, however, after hours of my baby not sleeping at all, I ran to Babies R Us and purchased the sleeper. Calvin LOVES it! Not only does he go down for every nap within minutes, but he stays asleep for his whole nap and even sleeps up to 5 hours at night. I would highly recommend this to anyone with a baby who is a fussy sleeper. It's been amazing! The best part is I keep it right by my side of the bed and can just reach over and gently rock him if he gets fussy in the middle of the night (assuming he's not hungry). No going back and forth from the bed to the crib for me anymore!

As far as our routine goes, I've been trying to follow what was suggested in "Secrets of the Baby Whisperer". I make sure we follow a pattern of eat, activity, and sleep in 2 to 3 hour chunks. I also make sure we always start our day at 7 am and that Calvin always goes to bed between 8 and 9 pm. We have a bedtime ritual of a bath and a quick massage, and it seems to help signal to him that it's bedtime. He's not hating his baths as much anymore, so I feel more comfortable making them a nightly occurrence.

The last few days have been Calvin's best. He's doing SO much better. There were a few days (and weeks) where I was completely overwhelmed and exhausted. When he wouldn't breastfeed or sleep, I felt like a failure as a mom and thought for sure that this little boy deserved someone so much better. But recently, he seems to have become a bit more mild and has really settled well into our routine. I'm so grateful things are looking up. However, I also need to accept that just as I seem to be getting a handle on things, they will likely change again. :)

Here are some cute pictures of our little man. Our good friends Nelson and Amy loaned us their expensive camera so we could take high-quality pictures. It's been so much fun! I sure love this kid. What a cutie.

Here he is at about 2.5 weeks.

And here he is at about 3 weeks. He loves mommy time! Don't you just want to pinch those cheeks??

Here's bathtime. Look how adorable that face is!! He seems quite happy to get into the water at first...

...but then when we wash his face and hair, he isn't having it.

I still think he looks cute when he cries. :) Luckily, he cheers right up again once he's in his fun towel (thanks Aunt Jamie!!).

And I just couldn't help myself... I had to play dress-up. :) My little bear cub!

Being a mom is hard, but it's also the best, most fulfilling thing I have ever done. I can't believe I've been entrusted to nurture and care for this precious little spirit. I only hope I adequately live up to the challenge. :)