I suppose since I just wrote my four-month review
yesterday a month ago it’s time for the five-month look-back.
Quick highlights of the last month include:
- Sleeping through the night
- Our first trip away from home since November (aka, our first trip away from home since Connor became a semi-sentient being)
- Starting solids and loving them (well, you know, for the most part.)
- Mom and Dad learning how to clean up solids from every skin surface possible
- Brinkley (our dog) becoming Connor’s most favorite thing in the entire universe. You’ve got good taste, kiddo.
What else is happening around our house, you ask? Well…
He doesn’t smell like a newborn anymore.
Newborns have a very distinct and special smell. Did you know that? I didn’t know that. Or maybe I had heard that and thought that the moms saying it were all sleep-deprived weirdos who had finally lost it. Not that that couldn’t be the case, but seriously, the smell is real.
Only, it’s not real anymore. Connor doesn’t have it. And he will never have it again. That smell is crack and I truly, truly believe it’s one of the reasons why moms willingly have more than one child. My friends have informed me that it’s even less socially acceptable to go up to newborns in public and inhale their precious newborn odor than it is for random people to go around touching pregnant bellies.
Babies are weird.
I suppose the nice way of putting this is that “each and every baby is their own perfectly perfect individual snowflake.” But I am here to say it: snowflakes are weird and so are babies.
For all of the textured toys and books and games we have for Wee Connor nothing gets him so enthralled as the embroidered pillows we have on our couch. When I dress him all hell breaks loose if I try to put his right arm through the shirt first, but left then right is fine. Which means, apparently, my son is part horse. He absolutely takes pacifiers but recently his favorite thing recently is to either take the pacifier out and chew on the edge of it or to jam his thumb in the middle of the pacifier, getting the thumb stuck there, and then waving the pacifier around in shock that his thumb now has a giant green thing on it. Also, did you know that there is an entire line of blankets and toys that have mock tags all over them? It’s because of one thing: babies love tags more than they love toys. And you know what? They’ll still love the manufacturers’ tags on the Taggy blankets more.
My point is this: babies are weird. Don’t feel bad if what works for every other mom on the Internet (or, worse, what your mom swears worked on you) doesn’t work for your baby. Let your baby’s freak flag fly. It’s good practice.
Evaluate and calibrate.
Before you have a baby, you have a fairly decent idea of your lifestyle. You know a few things: what kind of house or apartment you live in, whether you walk or drive to your daily activities, and a general idea of how you live your life. You – appropriately – register for and buy things to fit the knowledge you have as well as do the best you can with the knowledge you have to raise this mysterious little tiny human.
And then the baby actually shows up.
There’s a lot of stuff you know know you need right away, and other stuff you don’t know what exactly you’ll need. For instance, we got an Uppababy Vista stroller because it had a bassinet feature (which Connor hated, please see above re: babies and weirdness) and could be used straight from birth. After a lot of hauling around, struggling to fold it, stopping using the infant seat in and out of the car because it became really heavy really quickly, and realizing that the thing in general is way too freaking heavy to do that kind of lifting and maneuvering in small spaces, it became clear we needed a lighter stroller now that Connor had enough head control to sit more upright in a stroller. However, five months ago, I never would have known what kind of lightweight stroller I would want. I wouldn’t know what features I liked, what features I didn’t like, and I would have absolutely bought the wrong one*.
The same theory applies to the non-tangible stuff, too. Sometimes you’ll try things for sleep or naps that just plain old don’t work. The point is really that in both in physical stuff and mentality, the most important thing I can say is to do a lot of evaluation and subsequent calibration. Making adjustments based on what’s working and what isn’t is the most important thing you can remember to do. Otherwise, you’re stuck trying to stick a baby peg in a square hole. So if you don’t know exactly what you’re going to need, my advice would be this: wait until you’re more sure. You’ll know what you need when you need it. And if something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to change it up.
Evaluate. Then calibrate.
I am not strong enough for a video monitor.
The moment I started using our video monitor as an audio monitor Connor’s sleep skyrocketed. Here’s the thing about video monitors: they’re fascinating. They give a never-before-seen glimpse into what it is your baby does all night while you’re out watching DVRed episodes of The Mindy Project. (Spoiler: they get into the most ridiculous sleeping positions possible. Spoiler number two: Mindy Kaling is my spirit animal.) The kicker, though, is that video monitors make it really tempting to go in and get your baby too soon. When babies sleep they move around, they rustle, and they can even wake up for a bit, flail around, and then fall back asleep again. Sometimes they wake up and need to be changed or fed and then they actually really cry. With an audio-only monitor you only know about the latter situations. However, a video monitor lets you in on what’s going on all the time in that little world of theirs and can trick even the best of us into thinking the baby is truly awake when really he might just be putting himself back to sleep. It’s almost irresistible to go in to the baby too early with a video monitor. “Oh shoot, well, he’s awake. Might as well go change and feed him…” No! That’s not the answer**! The answer usually is to let him see if he can fall back asleep. But sometimes you just want to head the misery off, even as they’re getting older and learning new skills like falling back asleep. We realized eventually we were robbing Connor of the ability to fall back asleep on his own and started using the video monitor as an audio one, and haven’t looked back since***.
It’s going by way, way too fast.
I hate that I’m one of those parents who say things like this.
I hate that every pregnant person I see I now am one of those jerks who offers no actual valuable advice except, “Cherish the time! [Indistinguishable gibberish about babyhood flying by]!”
The problem is, it’s true. Time does go by extra fast. There are very few times in your life that are measured so exactly by months, and it’s a shocking realization to wake up one day and have this smiling, laughing little person with his own actual personality looking up at you instead of a screaming little Winston Churchill lookalike that you had no idea what to do with five months ago.
The other day I looked down at Connor and whispered sweetly in his ear, “stop growing up now, okay?” He looked back up at me, touched my cheek with his tiny little hand, and laughed straight in my face.
That about sums up parenthood right there.
And I still love it.
*I bought this one: the Summer Infant 3D-One. Infuriatingly not available on Amazon. It has an awesomely easy one-handed fold, a huge canopy, stands while folded (!!!!), and an easy recline feature. I tested out all the umbrella strollers with a baby in my arms and this one beat them all out for me, hands down…or…hands full of baby. Same thing, really.
**At least, for our baby. Your baby might be different. In fact, there’s a 100% chance your baby is a weird, beautiful snowflake just like my baby is a weird, beautiful snowflake. Have fun with that.
***Pun intended. I make these kinds of jokes now. It’s my lot in life as a forever uncool mom.