It’s been a while since I have posted an update on the day-to-day happenings and family life around here. For the most part, things are running fairly smoothly in my neck of the woods and we continue to watch Axel grow and develop more into a little person each day. In the past week he has started rolling over onto his stomach, but still hasn’t mastered the technique for rolling from his stomach to his back. He also figured out that his feet are attached to his body, and seems fascinated by their existence and grabs them every time he is on the changing table.
We had our 4-month follow-up with our pediatrician a couple weeks ago and aside from his second round of immunizations (he handled them much better than I did) he is a happy and healthy baby. Axel is also growing like a weed. At 2 months he was 12 lbs and now he is 15 lbs 5oz and 26 inches long. He is going to be a tall one! Just last week we started transitioning him into size 6-9month clothes. It amazes me how much clothing remains unworn and will never be used now that he has outgrown it so quickly.
Everyone (including all the apps) warned us about the 4-month sleep regression. Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to confirm that this in fact exists and might kick your butt as a parent (unless you are one of the lucky ones). For the first three months I thought we had hit the jackpot with an easy baby and good sleeper. Then one day he woke up (literally), developed a huge personality, and discovered that the world is pretty neat and that by sleeping, he might actually miss something important going on without him. Heaven forbid.
Every night we go to bed wondering what kind of night it is going to be. There are nights when he wakes up only once to feed and be changed, and then nights when he is up a couple times. Thank goodness he always falls asleep fairly quickly, although there have been a few nights when he decided to have a long conversation with himself. Mr. Chatterbox!
Some quick facts:
*He loves to talk. Even though I have no idea what he is cooing or screaming about, I still enjoy listening to him find his voice. It’s a loud one at that.
*His favorite toys are the oball, taggie blanket, piano and crinkle book. He could entertain himself with these things all day long. These are necessities.
*He enjoys looking at himself in the mirror. Babies are such narcissists.
*He hates being hungry, having a wet diaper, and being put down. And because of this, I am officially stronger than I have ever been in my life.
*His laughs and giggles are my favorite sounds in the world.
We’ve had a pretty crazy winter here so far with ice and snow covering the streets, so I haven’t been able to take him out on daily walks like I would normally do. It looks like some milder weather is on the horizon so I’m crossing my fingers that he will get to join me for a couple of runs in the weeks to come.
Emotionally, I am doing fairly well as I continue acclimating my life around taking care of a baby. As I have mentioned before, I really struggled on and off for the first few months. And I still struggle from time to time, although I seem to be adapting a lot more to my role as mom. I am finally starting to feel like, “okay, I can do this mom thing.” Though Axel is still completely reliant on us for everything, the more interactive he becomes, the easier it is for me.
The one thing I have come to accept is that I never get a day off. Never. At any given moment I am usually working, training or taking care of Axel. And if I’m not doing one of those things, I’m probably pumping, doing laundry, cleaning, or eating. Heck, it took me almost a week to write this blog post. Because I am a stay at home mom and work at home mom, this often means that I spend a good chunk of my early mornings, evenings and weekends working. I don’t mind this as it allows me to balance a career with taking care of Axel, but there are moments when I wish I only had one full time job, and had one full day to myself to do as I please. I can’t remember what a day alone is like. Justin has suggested several times that I should take a day to myself, or plan a girl’s weekend or overnight getaway, but that’s easier said than done. Besides the fact that I would miss Axel terribly, sometimes I think the reward just isn’t worth the effort.
People have asked whether I would consider just being a stay at home mom right now and venturing back to my career at a later time. Honestly, I don’t think I could ever be JUST a stay at home mom. I worked too hard for my PhD and really enjoy my teaching position at Oregon State. While I might be stretching myself a little thin for a couple years, I guess I’m okay with that. I contribute a good paycheck and even better benefits to my family each month, and I get to teach and engage in intellectual discussion about topics I love.
Physically I finally feel like I am back to normal. Maybe even better. Training six days a week has helped me get back down to my pre-pregnancy weight and I now have open access to my closet. My body definitely has a different shape to it after carrying a baby for nine months, but I am actually embracing the small changes and enjoy seeing it evolve each week. I never thought I would say this, but I actually feel more comfortable and confident in my skin than ever before. Carrying and giving birth to a baby will give you a new perspective on things.
Socially, I am doing a much better job of getting out of the house and connecting with friends. I felt like somewhat of a hermit those first couple of months as I was just trying to survive and get through each day. Justin has helped a lot with taking care of Axel while I meet up with a friend here and there for lunch or happy hour. My in-laws drove down from Seattle to spend New Year’s with us, which was the first time that our nieces and brother-in-law had met Axel. Jill (my sister-in-law) and Tutu (Hawaiian for grandma) were a big help while they were here, and it was fun to spend time playing games, sharing meals, and laughing with all of them for a few days.
And of course, my mom and step-dad have been a huge help when it comes to taking care of Axel which has allowed Justin and I to get out of the house from time to time for date nights. We’ve been able to go to a couple movies, run errands, and meet up with friends over the holidays. I was so happy to catch up with one of my best friends when she was in town – I wish she lived closer!
Justin is a natural when it comes to being a dad, as I knew he would be. I think there’s something about becoming a parent at an older age (44 years in his case) that makes it a little easier. Not easy. Just easier. Maybe it’s having those extra life experiences under your belt. Or having already watched your friends raise their kids. Or having greater financial security. Whatever it is, it seems to work well on Justin and it would have been a shame if he had never become a dad.
And that’s the latest update on my little family here in Bend, Oregon! I hear there are all kinds of changes in store as Axel begins eating solid foods and becomes more mobile. We are looking forward to it with nervous anticipation!