Three-month ups and downs

So he was three months yesterday, a big milestone!  I don’t think I had any real expectations of what he’d be like at three months, in fact I don’t have expectations at all really.  But I guess at the moment he is having a hard time of it.  Sometimes I think I just don’t have the patience and focus to give him what he really needs, like if I wasn’t so interested in my own indulgences – tv, blogs, reading, eating, showering – I’d be more in harmony with him and he’d be happier.  I have these images in my head of other mums who are so in love with their babies and want to spend every waking moment with them.  Don’t get me wrong, I love him very much and certainly miss him if he has a big sleep or if I have to leave him for a moment.  But right now he is quite unsettled and it can be trying.

Yesterday was slightly worse than today I guess, but today’s still been a bit difficult.  He is so demanding!  He wants constant stimulation, and just having toys dangling above him is not enough, he wants me, all the time!  And even then, he gets tired so quickly and then gets very cranky.  He’s started doing an angry/frustrated type of cry, like the equivalent of an adult saying, ‘gaah, for fuck’s sake, I’m pissed off now’!  It’s quite funny actually, but you have to take it seriously otherwise he just gets out of control and almost impossible to console.  I feel so horrible when he gets really upset, and it happens pretty much every day, usually when I finally realise I need to have a shower but he won’t go to sleep and won’t play by himself.  So I do what I did today, I lie him in his cot, hang some toys next to him, give him one of his ‘starfish’ Steiner-type toys to hold and prepare myself for his screams as I get into the shower, which get progressively more intense the longer I’m away from him.  It’s awful actually because when I get out and dressed and pick him up, he gives these little sobs as he calms down, and it’s obvious he’s really upset and has worked himself up so much.  I just wish there was a way to avoid that, but there isn’t because it’s so hard to get him to sleep by himself.  Even in the car he complains very loudly and works himself up into a frenzy very easily, it’s not good.  Luckily I am not easily distracted and can still drive while he screams, but it’s still not a nice experience for either of us and it’s such a relief when I can get him into the car and staying asleep, although that’s not often.  He has fallen asleep in the car before but only on the odd occasion, it doesn’t really rock him to sleep.  I guess we won’t be those parents who put their baby in the car to get him to sleep in desperation!

He is progressing in terms of his development well, I think, although I found out that a friend’s baby who was born the day before him is already pulling herself up onto her elbows during tummy time and even rolling over!  At three months!  Is this extreme?  Mind you, she’s also already getting teeth, so I think she’s an early one all round.  And girls progress faster than boys, that’s pretty much a given.  The Dude is getting great at gripping and holding things and almost always grabs and holds the little toy I give him every time I change him.  When he’s on his front and on his back he can swivel himself right round 90 degrees, and he does lift his head a fair bit quite easily.  He’s also becoming very vocal and has started making more high-pitched squeals and excited shouty type noises.  He and I have these little back and forth mimicking conversations and he loves it, just being able to communicate with me like that, to know that I can copy him and that his noise is really his own.  He’s also noticed his hands recently and I’ve caught him examining them intently.  We’ve both noticed his left hand is a bit more dominant than his right, but my mum says that’s just because we are right-handed, which makes sense.  His little outie belly button is finally becoming an innie, and his feet are catching up to his hands in size.  His thighs are so chubby I bought crawler nappies (6-11kg) for him, as the other nappies just weren’t staying on him properly because you can’t get them properly round his chunky thighs!  I have no idea what he weighs, as his last check was at 6 weeks and I think he weighed 5.5kg then, but I’m sure he’s at least 6.5 now, he is heavy.

So on the bright side, we finally put up his cot on the weekend, and it’s pretty cool, almost completely level with the bed.  There is a little gap between the bed and his cot, so I must get some masonite from Bunnings and put it between, then stuff the gap with towels or something so he doesn’t fall in it.  There’s not much chance of that happening now, as he’s not rolling over yet, but it won’t be much longer I’m sure.  It was really good to finally put him in his cot and be able to turn on my left side and have the bed back again, even if it was only for an hour or so.  It’s so much easier if he sleeps right next to me because he can pretty much latch himself on in the middle of the night when he wants a feed, and I don’t have to gingerly try to put him in his bed, we just both fall asleep as we are.  I must admit I was never a fan of the idea of co-sleeping, and the two main reasons for that were firstly I thought I’d squish him in the middle of the night or he’d suffocate, and secondly I like my space in the bed and I like my sleep and I didn’t think I’d have either with him there.  Turns out there’s no chance I’d squish him as I know he’s there, even when I’m asleep.  Plus my sleep is longer and better because he’s there; if he were in his own bed even next to ours I’d have to get up and wake up to feed him in the middle of the night.  But why wouldn’t I just train him to sleep through the night, you ask?  I think it’s really unnatural; think about it, how often do babies need to feed during the day?  Every hour, two hours, three hours?  Maybe every four hours, let’s say.  So why to they suddenly not need it during the night?  But he slept six hours during the night quite a few nights, he obviously doesn’t need it, right?  Wrong.  Just because he sometimes sleeps through for six hours doesn’t mean he doesn’t ever need feeds during the night.  I can see for myself that even slight variations to the way things unfold during the day, different levels of activity, different amounts of milk, different lengths of sleep at different times during the day, all add up to a different experience every night.  Yes, he has a routine, as much as you can impose one on a baby – why would I force something on him and make him miserable and myself stressed?  It’s much easier to be aware and notice the natural routine and support that.  I think it’s unfair of me to impose my routine on him – not that I have one I guess, but why would I try to force something when the natural way will unfold and he won’t ever have to be unhappy?  And seriously, I wouldn’t ever try control crying techniques, but even if I did I very much doubt they’d work on this kid without doing him a serious injury!  Sometimes when I’m in the shower and I can hear him crying and I just want to stay under the hot water a few moments longer, I do drag it out, I admit it, just to see if he’ll quiet himself and eventually go to sleep.  It never happens.  Yes, his cries sometimes get a bit quieter, and for a moment he stops, but within seconds he’s back on it again, crying his little heart out, and sometimes sounding like he’s being murdered, it’s awful!

I guess the one thing I could do to really help him is to go to bed early, like 9pm… but it’s really hard for me, I’m never tired that early, and I feel like I haven’t had enough wind-down time with my husband.  I’ve considered trying to put him down earlier, but it virtually never works, especially at night – he’s not a night person!  I’ve decided not to give up with getting him to sleep on his own.  I think a lot of people who end up always having to have their sleeping baby strapped onto them or sleeping next to them have just given up trying to get bubs to sleep in his own bed, so they say, oh he won’t sleep by himself, but what they mean is, he didn’t do it when he was two months old and we gave up trying.  I think babies just get to certain points and suddenly they’re cool with things.  It was that way for us, with sleeping.  I religiously sat up in bed to feed numerous times every single night until the Dude was 8 weeks old; until one morning I woke and realised he’d been asleep next to me from midnight til 6am – what?!  He got to a point and he was ready to stay lying down through the night, so he did that and now we never get up in the middle of the night (touch wood, don’t want to jinx anything!!)  I think the same thing will happen with sleeping by himself, and getting to sleep without being rocked or fed, he’ll do it when he’s ready.  I thought that time had come the other week when he fell asleep on the couch while I dangled a toy over his head, and that was a big breakthrough, even if it only lasted ten minutes and he hasn’t done it since.  This kid has a lot of energy running through his system, that’s all, and it’s hard to fall sleep when you’ve got ants in your pants.

That reminds me of the other thing I wanted to mention: I was thinking today about inherited stuff, and I really have this strong sense that one can inherit constitutional things and build ups of toxic energy from one’s ancestors.  I think it’s kind of like everyone collects stuff through their lives, and they don’t let it go during their lives, they let these toxins build up in them and pass them on at some energetic level to their children and grandchildren.  The Dude’s eczema rashy thing is a good example of that.  It’s like his body is fighting this crazy toxic heat, trying to throw it off, but being burdened by it, and it’s making him all hot and itchy inside.  I know this sounds weird and crazy, but I just get the impression this is what’s happening for him.  That’s why I am not taking him to a regular doctor as they’d just prescribe cortisone cream and tell me, oh lots of babies have eczema, same as when/if he gets asthma they’ll prescribe ventalin and tell me, oh lots of children have asthma.  Yeah, great, doesn’t mean we should just accept that it’s a part of childhood, right?  At some level I believe that these things are very constitutional and therefore I shouldn’t be interfering and should just let his body deal with it, but at another level I think they are inherited and I feel like we could do something cleansing that could release him from the burden of them.  Unlike childhood illnesses which run their course, provide immunity for future exposure and you never see them again, things like eczema and asthma are unnecessary.  So we’re off to the osteopath next week, just to see if some adjustment will help him.  The midwife still believes he went from breech to head down during labour, and if that’s the case it’s highly likely there will be something out of alignment.  I wonder if it will make a difference?  I’m determined not to tell the osteo too much and let him just do what he does and see the results.  Plus I need to convince my sceptical husband that it’s worthwhile, as he doesn’t think they do anything.  I’ll be sure to report back once we’ve been…  I’m trying to add more oil to my diet in the hope it will help his skin clear up, but if it’s still like this in a couple of weeks I’m going to take him to a homeopath or an anthroposophical doctor, if I can find a decent one.  I also rang the baby health centre people and they said the next checkup between 6 weeks and 6 months is at 4 months, so even though I’m wary I will take him down to the one at Bondi Beach and get him weighed and measured etc.  At some stage I’ve got to take him to a doctor and get the conscientious objection form signed, not looking forward to that experience!

Currently he is asleep in the ergo on my front.  Thank the good lord for baby carriers like the Ergo and Hugabub, they are amazing things and I am a better mother because of them!