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Sunday, April 02, 2006

Different as Night and Day

The first days and weeks of Dear Son’s life are a post-op, sleep-deprived blur. But the thing I remember well is about three weeks into his life when he hit that fussy, fussy, fussy stage where he was unable to burp after night-time and early morning feedings and saved it all up until he was a screaming, uncomfortable gassy mess by 4:00 am. Then, when his little body was unable to contain it anymore, he would finally “toot” for the next four hours before finally calming down. Believe me when I say you could never imagine that a three-week-old baby could break such powerful wind! The Gripe Water did help, by the way. I did more research when we first began using it, and learned that Gripe Water originated in Europe, where it is a staple in any home with a new baby. “Gripe,” incidentally, does not mean “complain” as I thought it did. It seems that is a European term for “wind,” or a polite way of saying you-know-what. Now that I think of it, “Gripe Water” does sound a lot better than “Fart Water.”

But, I am digressing. What I am really after with this post is making a point that in the beginning I worried that we would have another high-maintenance one on our hands. When Dear Son refused to nap in his crib for several weeks I was sure this worry was confirmed. Now, however, I have had several consecutive weeks of a different experience, and I believe it is safe to say that I think we may have a laid-back one this time. I frequently breathe a silent (but sometimes audible) prayer of thanks. Having a laid-back infant sure makes life with a high-maintenance toddler easier. Though I do have to give Dear Daughter credit for becoming less and less high-maintenance as time passes and she learns better ways to communicate, develops patience, and accepts that the world does not actually revolve around her 24/7.

Dear Son seems to enjoy being rocked to sleep, but never requires it. At times he seems to prefer just being put down in his crib. He rarely cries before nap time and never before bed time. When he does cry, it’s really only a few whimpers and then he’s out. Lately he’s been taking a long four hour nap in the middle of the afternoon, and then when he finally wakes up, he is hungry but does not even cry about it. He sleeps through the night, waking up once to be fed sometime between 4:00am and 6:00 am. He then either goes right back to sleep or lies awake in his crib for awhile before falling back asleep. Never ever does he cry at this time. When he awakens later in the morning, he never cries. He just looks around wide eyed, sometimes chattering at the morning light streaming in his window, other times silent (presumably pondering the meaning of life or perhaps other much more primitive thoughts that infant brains are capable of producing). When I peek at him over the rail of his crib, I’m always greeted with a big smile and sometimes a happy squeal.

These days I can hardly believe this is the same baby that got all riled up at an ungodly time each morning for weeks on end while he blew the air out of his pipes for a few hours. To say that I am greatly relieved (pun intended) that this was a brief phase is a severe understatement.

I’ve often heard people say that all babies are different. Indeed. When I first learned about Dear Son’s existence, before I even knew he was a “he,” I agonized over how I was going to love another as much as I loved my first. I couldn’t imagine how my heart would be able to swell to accommodate two, and I was sad about having to divide my attention. And now, mystery though it be, I am discovering that my heart is big enough for two “babies,” and that each of them (though different as night and day—save for their physical appearances) by his and her own right fills up the spaces in my heart that I didn’t even know were empty before they each arrived.

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