Graem. My third child. My only genetic child. My son.
This post is dedicated to him, and his first 5 weeks of life.
He loves to be held. This is what I can say is his most defining feature right now. He can be screaming bloody murder and the second you pick him up and hold him, he just melts into your arms. Or, maybe it’s just my arms, as Tygh is convinced this is not the case when he tries to hold him and soothe him. When he’s not being held to sleep, it generally takes him quite a while to fall asleep, and it usually involves lots of noise making (grunts, squeaks, fake cries, real cries), and a vibrating chair, and a special blanket delicately draped over his head – wait, am I too high maintenance?
He’s a binky baby. Not necessarily my choice, but it started in the NICU, and it’s been his friend ever since. Brae was also a binky baby; Sienna was not. There are pros/cons here, but it is what it is. The biggest con right now is that the second that binky falls out when he’s asleep, he’s awake, and he wants it back. Now.
In the little bit of awake time he has during the day (most of it is taken up nursing), he has started to enjoy floor time. He’s rolled over from his tummy to his back a couple times, probably accidentally. He also recently discovered his hands. They make a good (albeit temporary) substitute for the binky when it has fallen out.
He loves baths. He hates being cold and getting his diaper changed. But, like being held, the second his little body slips into that bubble bath sink and the warm water curls up around him, he is in heaven. He looks up at me with these navy blue, almond shaped eyes as if to say, “Ohhh, yes, thank you.” And then he just grins this silly little grin for the rest of the bath.
He likes to feed – frequently. I obviously was not able to nurse Brae, and Sienna was a challenge to nurse because of the torticollis. So, I’m used to formula-fed babies. Formula-fed babies sleep longer than breastfed babies. I knew this, and yet now I really know it. During the day, Graem will generally go 3 hours between feeds. At night, I’ve been as lucky to get a 5 hour stretch (once). Generally, it’s between 3.5-4 hours. But, sometimes (and earlier this week, twice in a row), it is every 2 hours.
I believe in the Babywise method for eat-feed-sleep, but even Babywise acknowledges that for the first month of life (which is what Graem is still in, age adjusted), the on-demand feeding works well. Even more so for preemies. Even more so for breastfed preemies. So, I plan to continue this on-demand feeding until about 2 months of age, when the milk supply is supposed to be established, and I can get on a more normal schedule.
Graem looks just like his dad. But he does have my ears – very small. It is still an adjustment to look at him and to believe that he is genetically part me, and part Tygh. I know so many take that for granted; I don’t. He (like his siblings) is a complete miracle.
Brae just loves being his big brother. He is very proud of him. Whenever I venture out with the three of them, he’s always showing him off – to the store clerk, to the person behind us in line, to a complete stranger passing us on the sidewalk. He just thinks he is the neatest thing. Like a show-n-tell toy.
We’re still working with Brae on recognizing how big his body is compared to Graem, and to exercise some self-control. Graem just makes him so excitable. Tygh keeps reminding me we need to let Brae hold him regularly, and I do. I even let him carry Graem the other day (slightly frightening). Brae really wants to carry him down the stairs – we aren’t there yet.
Sienna adores Graem. She is very motherly. Every time Graem cries, she either yells at me: “Mommy! Feed him!” or “Mommy, where’s his bottom?” (Bottom is pacifier – I don’t know where she came up with that). And, if she can’t find his pacifier, she sticks her finger in his mouth (again, we’re working on breaking that bad habit).
One on one, they are each great with Graem. Together, they fight over him. That eventually leads to them wrestling eachother, as I rush to get Graem out of harms way.
As for me and Tygh, this last month feels like a complete blur. Since I left work in such an unexpected hurry, I’ve never really left work. My plan (approved by my amazing boss) was to work part-time from home until January, and to take August off. With Graem coming a month early, I didn’t want to leave work hanging. So, I’ve really been working part-time, from home, since Graem was born. It actually has worked out well. Brae and Sienna have been in camps during the day, and I’ve been able to work when Graem sleeps. Thankfully, we have a housekeeper (a Godsend), so I’m able to ignore the dirty floors and forget about cleaning the toilets, which has been a huge blessing right now.
And, I really like to work. I enjoy my job and the people I work with. I long ago came to terms with the fact that I’m just not a full time stay-at-home mom. I am in awe of those who are, and who do it well. It’s just not me.
Tygh was never able to really take a paternity leave – his industry just isn’t set up for that. But, he took several days off when Graem was first born, and has been a ton of help with Brae and Sienna. I get up with Graem in the middle of the night (another side effect of nursing), and Tygh takes him for a couple hours in the evening so I can tend to Brae and Sienna.
My personality is not one who does well sitting. So, pretty much since Graem has been born, I’ve been just as active as I always I am. I went for my first walk the day I got home from the hospital. And I started running a few weeks ago (a complete sanity saver for me). At my three/four week doctor check up, I’d lost 23 pounds, so still 12 more to go.
I also regularly go out with the three kids. It’s been a complete learning lesson for me. I’ve learned that I have to nurse Graem right before I put him in the carseat so I’m not stuck at the mall with Brae and Sienna and Graem needing to eat. I’ve learned that if I do have to nurse when I’m out with the kids, I have to go somewhere where Sienna cannot run off (which she does, regularly). I’ve learned that grocery shopping with 3 small kids is completely insane, and not recommended.
Phew. A long one, but I had a lot to say. All in all, my heart is full. I am content.
My mom asked me the other day what was next? Great question. We’ve spent the last 7 years growing our family, it’s hard to think about what to do now.
Just enjoy it, I suppose.