the best and worst of early babyhood

Almost one month old

Over Christmas at our apartment in D.C., my sister-in-law B. asked me and A., “What’s the best part of having a baby, and what’s the worst?” She’s 16 weeks pregnant and starting to prepare for her baby days. Of course, C. was only three weeks old, but it was still an interesting question.

A.’s immediate response was that the best part was when C. peed on his face. C. was five days old and we had to go back to the hospital to fill out a paternity form to verify that A. is the father since we’re not married. On the way home, we wanted to challenge ourselves and meet a friend at a coffee shop in Adams Morgan. C. was squirming and crying, but instead of rushing him home, we changed him and fed him in the car. A. laid him down on the front seat to change him, and then I pulled out my boob in the back seat. Of course, just as he was getting full, C. released a large wet fart. (And so it is with babies). So I passed him back up to the front seat to A., who changed him again. And while his diaper was off, C. innocently squirted a stream of pee on his chubby cheek — and over his head onto the floor mat. We laughed belly laughs before walking a mile for chais in the warm coffee shop.

My response to B. about the “best part” was more general about how much C. makes us laugh. Like when he’s sleeping against A. and wakes up hungry and he grunts and pushes his way down to his nipple, licks it, and cries. I mean, who really wants to suck on a hairy, milk-less nipple? I would cry, too. But man is it cute. And hilarious.

Of course, I love C.’s silky skin, his sweet baby smell. I love how he cuddles up against me and sleeps so peacefully — his chubby checks, full lips partly open and fast breathing. I love when he looks at me quizzically like “Who the hell are you, anyway?” and I *love* when he smiles, even if it’s involuntary (it’s usually a milk drunk smile with his eyes closed). I love that A. and I created this beautiful boy — this being that we’re discovering more about each day — and that it has brought us closer together. A. tells me almost daily that I’m his hero.

As for the “worst” part, A. says there is no bad part. For me, the hardest part is the middle-of-the-night marathon feedings. When I’m just so tired and my eyes are drooping and C. is frantically lunging at me and not satisfied and just wants to gulp and gulp and gulp for hours. I think (I hope) these are growth spurts (there have only been a few of them and last night was better). I am exhausted, but my body is in survival mode. Three hours of solid uninterrupted sleep? Magical.

On Dec. 23, our neighbors decided to have a rockin’ party on the deck just above our bedroom. C. fed from 11 p.m. till 2 a.m. and then the sing-a-long outside our window started. By 4 a.m., I was in tears — I couldn’t stand it anymore. A. woke up to my sobbing and cuddled me. “It’s torture!” I told him, and A. opened our deck door in his underwear,  yelling, “Guys?! Hey!! Yo!!!! Can you keep it down? We’ve got a newborn and a mom who’s exhausted!” Thank God for A.

I also struggle a bit with cabin fever — yesterday I felt cooped up and house bound, but it only took a short walk to shake off the angst.

This young phase is so quick, I want to appreciate every little moment. Friends recently sent us sleeper pajamas for an 18 month old, and A. and I looked at each other bewildered. They are HUGE. An 18 month old is HUGE compared to our tiny little babe. It’s hard to imagine how quickly he will grow. So for now, I’ll kiss him and cuddle him and spoil him — while I can.

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