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Weeks Two Through Eight: The Sound and the Fury

First, a mea culpa...

I had these grand plans about blogging after Jack arrived.

I would take beautiful photos, write thoughtful, introspective posts about his development and blossoming personality, and connect with other mama bloggers to share this incredible journey together.

Maybe that will happen eventually. But not right now. No siree.

Things have been a tad hectic the past few weeks. We decided to list our house for sale about a month ago. It officially went on the market last Wednesday. It went under contract four days later -- and thank goodness for that, because I'm not entirely sure what we were thinking trying to stage a house for showings with two hairy dogs and a newborn baby.

(A grumpy newborn baby, at that.)

Now we're on the buyer side, looking at homes in the suburbs. And tomorrow morning, we're leaving for a week-long vacation in Hilton Head. We are attempting a 12-hour-drive with our baby. Again, we might be insane -- and if we aren't quite there yet, we most certainly will be when we arrive in South Carolina on Saturday.

So here is a summary of Jack's life after that awesome and awful first week. It's not particularly thoughtful or introspective. The photos aren't beautiful. But it's the best I can do for now.

Somewhere between weeks two and three, Jack started waking up. He wasn't a snoozy, brand-new newborn anymore. I was excited for about five minutes... and then it became clear. He was not a happy camper.

Grumpy old man
I wouldn't say it was colic, though I Googled it approximately 100 times. Instead, it was a combination of insatiable hunger and ridiculous gas.

When he wasn't sleeping (and I quickly started trying every soothe-to-sleep strategy in the book, because he and I were both much happier when he was unconscious) he wanted to eat. And eat and eat and eat. When he was awake and not nursing, he was pretty much furious. So I was nursing all the time. Of course, this meant that he wanted/needed to poop constantly too. But that part didn't come as easily as eating (pun intended). So he spent a good bit of time straining/screaming.

Sounds like bliss, am I right?

I can never not laugh when I look at this picture
I tried the 5 S's (Happiest Baby on the Block style), but swaddling him without access to his hands in the highly-touted Woombie led to hours of rage. I tried the swing and the bouncer with little success. I tried gas drops (they might have helped, but it could have been the placebo effect?) and gripe water (horrific, projectile spit-up). I even tried the Windi -- basically a butt catheter.

(Dear Future Jack -- sorry I wrote so much about your pooping habits as a baby. But dude, you put me through a lot).

The only things that really worked were nursing, and walking around with him in the Baby K'Tan, with the Sleep Machine app playing on my iPhone right in his ear.

All this nursing and walking meant that I lost a lot of weight, and he gained a lot. I put on 20 lbs while I was pregnant -- to date, I've lost 31. He was 7 lbs 4 ounces at birth, around the 40th percentile -- and 12 lbs at his one month check up, in the 90th percentile for growth. I'm banking on that medical advice that you can't overfeed a breastfed baby... here's hoping. Because yeah, he's a piggy.

Chubbs McGrubbs, snoozing in the sling
He started smiling in his sleep very early on, but it took quite awhile -- like, until he was 7 weeks -- to get a real awake smile. He just wasn't a very happy newborn baby -- and to be honest, I was bummed about it! I'm generally a happy, easygoing person, and I completely expected my baby to be the same way (Rookie parent mistake #23,874) In the early weeks, I thought I was doing something wrong. I also felt guilty that I just wanted him to sleep and sleep, because I didn't really enjoy him when he was awake.

I don't feel guilty about that anymore. I loved him from the moment he was born, but I have fun with him now too -- and I've realized, reading about other newborns, that a lot of other moms don't massively enjoy their babies in the early days either. After the first month, he was still super fussy, but I started finding ways to have a good time anyway. I'd sing all sorts of ridiculous lyrics to him while he wailed away: "Why does love always feel like a battlefield?" or "We found love in a hopeless place," those sorts of songs that took on a whole new meaning with a grouchy newborn.

A not-so-soothing soothie
That's not to say that I didn't sometimes cave into the miseries again as well when he cried and cried. But it became less "This is tragic/there's something wrong/why am I such a failure as a mother" and more "This is okay/he's hungry again/I'm doing a good job."

Now, at 8 weeks and 4 days, I can confidently say that he's a much happier baby. He definitely still has fussy moments -- there is no doubt about that -- but they are fewer, shorter, and less intense.

And they're funnier, because we know he's going to be okay. He's just our Hungry Jack.
He smiles at us all the time, and has started cooing a lot too. He can hang out in the car seat, stroller, or swing for a little while without crying. He is super strong -- he rolled from front to back at 4 weeks old, and does push ups and high kicks during tummy time every day.

Straining the snaps on his 3-6 month outfit. Thinking it's about time to eat some more.
He's always been pretty easy overnight, and we now regularly get 5.5 hour stretches of sleep, from 10:30 PM to 4 AM, with another 2 or 3 hours after that spent snoozing away too. We've even had some nights with 6 or even 7 hours straight here and there. I'd say he's sort of sleeping through the night right now. Not 100% there yet, but knocking on the door.
His favorite place to be is still snuggled up against me in the sling, but that's just fine. The bigger he gets, the more my shoulders ache after carrying him around for most of the day -- but he's still teeny tiny, and I know he won't be like this forever. From the looks of things, he's going to be a very active little guy, so in no time at all he might not want these snuggles so much. But for now, he can have as many as he wants.
He is such a boyish boy -- and he's mine:) And those fists of fury just don't scare me anymore.

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