Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Thank you, Anne Lamott

I've been reading her book, Operating Instructions, a journal she kept during her son's first year of life. I started reading it when I was pregnant, but didn't really get into it and eventually abandoned it for a bevy of books on childbirth. I picked it up again the other day, though, and have been reading it while I nurse Isaac. It's wonderful for, if not anything else, it's pure honesty. She's not afraid to admit that, while most days her son is an angel gift from God, some days he's pure hell. On top of that, the book is touching and hilarious. It's sort of like a good conversation with an old friend.

Not that Isaac has been pure hell. I certainly wouldn't go that far. He doesn't like to sleep, though, which is frustrating and exhausting. I think there have only been two or three nights in the past couple of weeks that he has gone to bed before 2am. I find myself hating anyone whose baby sleeps through the night. I can't tell you how many times I've woken up in the rocking chair in Isaac's room, both breasts hanging out, his little body either sprawled across my lap on his Boppy or slumped over in my arms. I wake with a sharp pain in my neck, my head having been lulled forward or over one shoulder for the past thirty minutes to an hour. I can never remember how long we've been nursing, when we started, which breast we left off on. So I stumble back to either the bed or the couch and, invariably, as soon as I set him down, he's awake again in 30 minutes and ready to eat. And we start all over. I have finally resorted to just bringing him to bed with me, which seems to be helping him sleep a little bit longer.

I do want to say to everyone who has told me to give him formula at night to help him sleep longer, that is a crock of hockey. For the past two nights we've tried giving him formula, and still he doesn't go to sleep until 1 or 2am. The one good thing about it, though, is that it has given me the opportunity to get a little extra sleep at night. A couple of hours before I'm ready to pass out from sheer exhaustion, I nurse him, give him a bath and as much infant massage as he'll tolerate and then I rock him a little while John makes the bottle. Then I give him to John. He's not thrilled about the new arrangement (last night he had to stay up with him from 11pm to 1am), but I am more than grateful for the couple hours of sleep this has afforded me. So much so that I may be willing to sacrifice one bottle of formula a night if it means I get to sleep a little. Like I said, John's not thrilled about getting less sleep, but I decided he can either stay up with him a couple hours later than he normally would, or he can get up with him every time he wakes during the night. I just know I can't do it alone anymore, especially since I have to go back to work on Monday. No more Miss Nice Mommy.

Tomorrow he will be eight weeks old. It's so hard to believe. He really is an amazing little gift from God. Besides his lack of sleep, I really have nothing to complain about. He is an abundantly happy baby, all smiles and squeals and laughs and coos. During tummy time, he scoots himself on his turtle-shaped mat, pushing his head and tummy forward with his toes. And today, he held a toy for the first time. Okay, yes, I uncurled his fingers, placed the toy in his hand, and closed his fist around it, but he kept the grasp long enough for me to get a picture. I am so going to miss spending our days together. I worry I'm going to miss too much and, worse, that I'm going to come home from work too tired to spend any good, quality time with him. We are cherishing our last days of freedom.

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