My baby is not a newborn anymore, which is hard to believe. He’s now four months old and has reached a stage so delightful that I wish I could stop time for awhile and enjoy his perfect babyness. He lives in a state of perpetual happiness, smiling and cooing, content to sit in his bouncy chair or propped up on the couch. He loves lying on his back and kicking, while chewing on a wet fist. Getting carried in the Baby Bjorn and going for rides in the car or stroller seem to be his idea of heaven, based on the expressions he makes.
This baby never cries! His feedings are based entirely on the clock because he rarely gives any indication of being hungry. I sometimes think he’d starve himself if I didn’t force-feed him every four hours. Even when he does nurse, he’s so uninterested that the slightest noise or movement distracts him; I avoid looking at him because even eye contact will make him too excited. He even loves his diaper changes, shrieking with joy as I stretch his roly-poly thighs. He goes down for naps wide awake, talking to himself until he drifts off; any sort of intervention actually irritates him, I’ve discovered.
He’s a huge baby, a whopping 20 pounds already, though he gained most of that weight up front, reaching 16 pounds by 7 weeks of age. The midwives laughed when they saw him at the discharge visit, agreeing that he was the biggest baby they’d ever seen at that age. His little fuzzy red head and big blue eyes get no end of attention from strange ladies in the grocery store, who are delighted by the sunny smiles they receive instantly. He sleeps through the night, from 7 pm till 7 am, with one dream feed in between.
Speaking of dreams, he’s a dream come true and, believe me, I’m in shock. How we managed to create a child who is so contented and happy with his existence is utterly beyond my realm of comprehension. My first child was the opposite. He screamed pretty much non-stop for the first eight months. I recall sobbing to my husband, “Why does he hate his life so much?” While it’s rather humourous in retrospect, it was such a horribly stressful, exhausting, and discouraging infancy that I never dreamed having a baby could actually be relaxing and enjoyable in the way it is now.
This leads to the usual nature vs. nurture debate, and my conclusion is that it’s a mix of both, though nurture plays a greater role. My two boys do have different personalities, but then I don’t know how much of my first son’s feistiness came from lack of routine and my own inexperience. Would he have been a calmer child if I implemented the same strategies that I did with the second? Perhaps my baby’s contentment stems from structure and predictability, as well as a more solid family setting in which to live. I’m sure that these little people are far more aware of their surroundings and emotional dynamics than we give them credit for.
What sort of experiences have you had with multiple kids and parenting?