We’re rapidly coming up on our Baby Bean’s second month, and I’m torn between realizing that these months go very, very, very fast and understanding just how long a month can be. Time moves differently when you’re a parent.
This month has been a month of changes. Not only has our little man grown three inches and gained five pounds, but he’s started to smile, to focus on and investigate his world, to stare with fascination at his little hands, to hold his head up and look around when I carry him around the house, and make a variety of little noises. And loud noises. This kid has a set of lungs. If he can carry a tune in a bucket, he’s got a future on Broadway.
As a parent, I’ve been really enjoying all these little changes and having him so much more alert. It’s so much fun and so rewarding to interact with him and begin teaching him. He’s a long way from using his words, but he gets such a look of joy when his “eh-eh-eh” gets parroted back to him and results in the bottle he was asking for. That at such a young age we already feel such joy at communicating and being heard is an amazing thing.
Yes, I said bottle. About 20-25 ounces of the 25-30 he wants to drink a day are expressed/pumped breast milk, but we supplement with formula. We tried actual breast feeding but after being bottle fed in the NICU, little man wasn’t having it. In the end, he’s fed and we’re both very happy and bonding, but the mom guilt is so real.
So is the parent shaming. You never know how many wrong ways there are to raise a child until you have one and people tell you how to do it. And no two agree. Unless you learn how to thank people for their concern and then tune them out, you’ll end up feeling wrong for everything you do, from bottle feeding to working to not working to sharing duties with your partner to not sharing enough…you get the idea.
People are hard on moms and dads alike. We expect mothers to be super women who home birthed a ten pound baby with no drugs and totally breast feed while taking on all the household chores but spending plenty of time bonding with baby and making homemade no bake lactation cookies, otherwise they get shamed. And we have zero expectation of competence or involvement of fathers. The dad who cooks for his kids or braids a ponytail? Worthy of song! But being more involved than that? Questioned, chided, viewed skeptically, or denounced as a “babysitter.”
In our favor, Scott and I are used to ignoring judgment and playing non traditional roles. I’m a career Army officer and the primary bread winner, he’s the Army spouse. So we are doing the same thing as parents that we do in our careers, and that’s smiling, nodding, and tuning it out. We’ve got a rhythm that works for us and, more importantly, works for little man, and while we’re not perfect, the three of us are happy and healthy.
And sleeping. God bless this kid and his love for sleeping at night.
Just to see how much he’s grown, here he is with the PJs he wore for his one month pictures!
So here’s cheers to another month of growing, learning, health, and happiness for our little family! We’re loving being a party of three and looking forward to new adventures!