Today I am celebrating being a Mommy for 2 years. It is my son Macon’s birthday! I am so thankful that God allowed Jonathan and I to be his parents.
He really is an amazing child and has taught me so many things over the past 2 years. Well- really 2 years and 10 months. Here are just a few of the things I have learned during that time…..
No matter what other people tell you about how your labor and deliver will go, how much planning you do for the delivery, for when you come home, for feeding your baby, NOTHING will go exactly how you planned or thought. I had planned on working up until the I went into labor. But when I was having such bad lower back and hip pain that I had to sleep on the reclining sofa for the last 2 months of my pregnancy and couldn’t stand to sit still for 8 hours a day at work, I called it quits a week before my due date.
You can try to eat all the pineapple in God’s creation, walk for miles on end, eat spicy foods and all the other things people recommend to hurry the baby along, end the end, that little baby will come with God has planned for him to come. Macon was 6 days late. We planned on inducing but I actually started labor very early in the morning. And proceeded to labor for over 19 hours (3.5 of which was delivery alone!).
When your husband is there holding your hand, giving you ice chips, keeping you comfortable, holding your legs and encouraging you along the way. THEN when he is there helping you get up to use the bathroom, to nurse the baby and anything else you need, you will feel like the Grinch when his heart grew 3 sizes– you will LOVE him more than you ever thought you possibly could.
And those ice chips. Who ever knew just eating ice could be the BEST THING EVER in that moment!
You will be exhausted. No matter how much help you get, no matter how many people bring food to your house or offer to let you sleep while they watch the baby, you will still absolutely be exhausted. For a significant period of time. You can’t really sleep when the baby sleeps like everyone says- because that is when you can take a shower and have a second to think straight. And if you’re nursing or pumping, get ready to be even more exhausted.
But…. those midnight feedings with your precious baby will be the highlight of your day. When they open their tired little eyes and know that you love them, that you are there to feed them, comfort them and protect them, it will melt your heart. And as the days and weeks pass, you will start to get more sleep and not be quite as exhausted.
Having a schedule and following it as much as possible will keep you AND the baby sane. Some people (and specialists) say that children need to be free, that you should follow their lead and what they want. But when we were struggling to get Macon to eat regularly and sleep regularly, we turned to the Baby Whisperer and a couple other books of the same theory for guidance. And what do you know? It worked! By 8 weeks old when I had to return to work, Macon was sleeping through the night. Now morning still came rather early (around 5:00 if memory serves) but it was through the night! The dream feed was KEY for us. Macon typically went to bed around 8 when he was younger but around 9:30-10:00 just before we went to bed, we would pick him up (not waking him) and give him a bottle. His instincts kicked in and he drank the entire bottle! We could lay him back down and leave the room without him ever knowing it.
At that same time, Macon started going to day care and they followed a specific schedule with some flexibility based on the child’s needs. Since then we have followed his school schedule so that he has consistency. Of course there are days when things are a little bit different and we make adjustments based on what Macon’s needs are. But one thing I have learned for SURE is that when a child is tired, they are NOT nice! And when he is too tired he doesn’t eat well, so then he doesn’t nap well because he is too hungry to sleep long enough, then he is too tired again to eat well. When they are too tired they also don’t sleep well. You would think- keep the baby up later and they will wake up later. Nope. Not for Macon, at least. So then you think, well if the baby is so tired then they will sleep great. Nope. When Macon is over tired, he still doesn’t sleep better. So that is why we find schedules to be so important.
There is such a thing as the 4 month sleep regression. And it struck Macon at about the time that he was getting too big to be swaddled with his arms in anymore because he was trying to flip over, but he couldn’t keep his pacifier in his mouth to comfort him either. (We even tried the zippity zip above). After more than a week of Jonathan and I taking turns to go in his room, put the paci in his mouth, sit there and wait to make sure he was asleep ALL night long, we decided to try the “let them cry it out” method and get rid of the paci.
We read that it would be hard, we would want to cave, but if we stuck to it, it would work. So the first night we let him cry for 5 minutes before going in his room. The next time we increased to waiting 10 minutes, then 15 and so on. It was hard. I wanted to cry myself. But after about 2 days of this plan… it worked! Turns out Macon didn’t need a paci… he figured out how to suck his fingers! From then on Macon was pretty much a really great sleeper- 10-12 hours a night (but don’t get me started on his past 2-3 months of waking up too early not matter what time we put him to sleep- we are working on that now!).
Now- if you do not have kids, you will likely hear doctors say that teething does not cause ear infections. That may be true. It may be completely true that teeth coming in doesn’t CAUSE the ear infection. But it may also be true that teething causes more inner ear and nasal fluids to back up resulting in ear infections. Maybe I do not have the physiology of that correct, but I can tell you that Macon has had an ear infection every. single. time. he had a tooth come in.
Even with all of the difficult times, tired times, times when you just want to cry just as much as the baby, there are even MORE times where you are so unbelievably happy that you get to be a parent. Like when your son pees in the bathroom floor when you are getting ready to give him a bath. When he starts to laugh then realizes that you laugh when he laughs and it makes the whole thing all the more funny for him. When he says his first word, crawls for the first time, takes the first step, throws his first ball to you. When he starts to talk to his Elmo or other stuffed animal when he wakes up in the morning. When he wants to be just like his daddy and get his “targ” (guitar) to play you a song. Listening to Macon’s vocabulary grow and develop has been so much fun and at times hilarious! For the longest time instead of fire truck, he said “fartbooger.” When they are so pumped over their little art project they can’t wait to show everyone who comes in the house. The hugs and kisses, the “winky smiles”, “sad faces” and other fun little things you can get your children to do on command will be memories you want to cherish forever.
Being a parent is the best job in the world. It is also the hardest. People will tell you what to do, how to do it, what you’re doing wrong and not often what you’re doing right. But when you are doing the best you can, and loving your child, their other parents- then you are doing it right.
One thing we have made a tradition is to read to Macon every night before bed since he was about 2 weeks old. That time has been so special for Jonathan and I and gives us a bit of special alone time with Macon. Above the chair where we read to him we have this scripture:
“I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” 1 Samuel 1:27-28.
And every night before he goes to sleep, we sing “Jesus Loves Me” to him, we tell him how much we love him, and we kiss him goodnight. And thank God for blessing our lives with this sweet little boy. He gives the best hugs and kisses in the world. Is so incredibly smart and opinionated! And has made our lives so much richer for being able to raise him!