My littlest baby just turned 8 weeks old on Thursday. He is a delightfully chubby and solid little guy, with a halo of fuzzy orange hair, gigantic jowls that hang below his tiny lips, and rolls of pudge on his arms and legs.
He nurses like it’s going out of style, and sleeps deeply at night. Already he’s dropped down to a single feeding at 4 a.m., which makes my job pretty easy. So, as you can see, he’s angelic in all the ways that matter most.
But as soon as he wakes me up at 6 a.m. on the dot, every single morning, he earns his nickname of Maniac Bug, taken from Richard Scarry’s classic Cars and Trucks and Things that Go (a huge favourite in this boy-centric household). Baby M. does not like napping during the day.
I had forgotten that babies are so extraordinarily challenging. I’ve read and re-read The Baby Whisperer, desperately trying to figure out the magic solution – I, a fairly experienced sleep trainer who has no issue with enforcing consistency and routine – and yet, all my attempts continually fail with him. Yesterday, for instance, he slept a grand total of 20 minutes in the 12 hours between waking and going to bed!
He’s stubborn, just like his oldest brother, and determined to dig in his heels and fight with me already, at this tiny age of barely two months. I can’t help but admire his tenacity, while dreading it at the same time.
There are days when I fear he dislikes life in general. I get the sense that he’s disgruntled by the fact that he was forced to exit the warm coziness of my womb. He was born with a deep crease between his eyebrows, a perpetual frown that I think is adorable, but that made his oldest brother ask, upon seeing him for the very first time, “Why is he so mad?”
Despite the challenges, we are thriving, and living in the midst of the happiest days of my life. I have to pinch myself daily to believe it’s true – that I have this gorgeous little baby and two energetic bigger boys, who are so full of life and colour and hilarity.
People ask me how it’s going. They expect to hear that it’s total chaos, bordering on out-of-control, and are always surprised when I say it’s going really well. In fact, I think having a third is much easier than the second. That might not be the case for everyone, but for me, the older two entertain themselves and are sufficiently independent that I’m able to give more attention to the baby. It’s almost like having the first, except minus the boredom, the profound silence when sleeping, the lack of stimulating conversation, and the terror at not knowing what to do, ever!
That being said, I’m still reminded on a daily basis of how every baby is different. There are plenty of moments when I feel overwhelmed by his unique little preferences and under-qualified for the job of being his mom; but at least I know from experience that it’s normal to feel that way, that things will stabilize eventually, and that time will fly by.
For now, I’m determined to enjoy every moment, to revel in the beautiful busyness of my life, to imprint the peaceful nursing sessions in my mind forever, and to show little M. that life is fabulous (no perma-frown needed!).