I thought since I wrote a reflection on Gus’s first month, it might be nice to continue that month by month, or at least on a semi-regular basis. I just thought of it this week, though, one week after the two month mark. Oh, well, close enough for government work, as they say.
I feel like the main theme for this month has been oscillating back and forth between feeling like I am really getting the hang of this whole parenting thing and feeling like I have no idea what I am doing. I think a big part of that is because the month was dominated first by Jon being home sick for a week, throwing off our routine (don’t you know you are not allowed to be at home, Jon! ), and going to the USA for two weeks at Christmas. On top of that, I think Gus was (is?) still at a stage where his schedule was a bit wobbly—it would seem like he was getting into a certain routine for a couple of days, and then it would abruptly change again.
The most exciting thing about the month was that he is really breaking out of his shell and interacting with people more. There are days where he will be awake for quite a few hours and really engage with you. It is so neat to see him so curious about the world. We got a set of black and white books as a gift, and he loves them! You open up the book to a page that, frankly, looks pretty boring to me, but his eyes just light up. He’ll start cooing and his arms and legs start going. It is so funny to watch.
Another thing Gus has picked up this month is the desire to be rocked all the time. It seemed to start when we were in the USA. Luckily, there were lots of people around to take a turn at the stand-up-and-hold-Gus-for-hours-on-end duty. He would just stare over your shoulder, entranced by whatever happened to be back there. And lick your shoulder. Yum, sweater. I don’t know why he started wanting this all of a sudden, but I find myself spending ages every day just rocking him. Sometimes during the day I’ll just put him in his wrap and do some chores or whatnot, and he is happy enough. But when he is awake at 11pm, I usually just spend an hour or so walking around the bedroom with him in my arms. My arms are getting really strong!
He can be so much fun to be with, although I do get tired before he does a lot of days. He’ll usually only be awake for about 90 minutes to 2 hours at a time. This includes time spent changing diaper, feeding him, and trying to get him to fall back asleep once he starts to look really tired! I have found that I feel really guilty when I don’t engage with him for the rest of the time. I figure, it is only a relatively short amount of time, I should be able to play with him for that long. Plus, I worry about two things: that if I don’t engage with him all of the time while he is awake and alert, he won’t develop properly (!), and secondly, that if I leave him to play by himself for 5 minutes on Monday, I’ll just become a lazy parent, and by Friday he will be left to his own devices all of the time, because I can’t be bothered. (I have similar fears about using a pacifier, that I will get to the point that I just shove it in his mouth whenever he fusses, rather than actually attending to his needs). I don’t know where these fears come from, as I don’t think either (any) is likely to happen. When we were in the USA, my dad pointed out to me that Gus actually sometimes likes to be by himself and doesn’t want to be held 24/7. It is true: he is starting to play really well by himself (when I let him!), kicking his feet, and gnawing on his hands or sucking his thumb. He is a real sweetheart.
The other thing that stuck out this month was that it is still really hard to let other people have him. When we were in the USA, there were so many people that wanted to give him kisses and cuddles, play with him and hold him. And I loved it, that so many people love him. In theory. In practice, I had to really work hard to convince myself that he was okay when other people were holding him. After a day or two, he started to become more fussy than normal. I had no idea why he was being like that or what he wanted. I decided that he must miss his mommy, because he is so used to just being with me all day every day, it was hard work being with all these other people so much. Or maybe that was just how I was feeling! We had a great time with all the family, but I made a more conscious effort after that to be sure to get my own cuddle time in with him!
One way that we can guarantee good cuddle time is at night. Gus does have his own bed, and sleeps at least part of the night almost every night in it. But I do love having him next to me to cuddle at night. Some of my friends with babies Gus’s age are trying to get the babies out of the parents’ bed. I really am not ready to do that! Part of it is that he just seems so little, too little to expect him to be on his own all night every night. Especially if he needs us with him, I’m not prepared to deny him something that he needs. But I think I probably need him with me more than the other way around! As a family, we are still all really happy with the arrangement we have, so I think we’ll keep going like this as long as it works for us, and not worry about anything that says he must be doing x because he is y months old.
I think that is month two in a nutshell. A lot more calm than last month, and less emotional—I feel like I am usually in control of my feelings now. The overwhelming love for this little guy still hits me strongly, but I hope that never goes away!