Jacob: 1 Month

Dear Jacob,

You are a month old today – you funny little boy. You’re freshly bathed and snoring away in your crib right now. It’s hard to believe you’ve only been a part of our lives for a month. Funny though, in some ways it’s hard to believe it’s been that long. You’ve grown fast and changed seemingly overnight. You are such a joy to us.

You’re teaching me about perspective. What’s one night of sleeplessness compared to a whole month? What’s a backache compared to back labor?

Parenting newborns is a completely mystifying task. Even though I’ve grown to “understand” your many different cries, I still feel like I rarely know what you need. Should I let you cry yourself to sleep so you learn to sleep on your own? Or is your little nervous system not ready for that learning milestone yet, so I should pick you up and calm you before you get too upset to go back to sleep? Should I wake you up to feed you every three hours during the day so you’ll sleep through the night, or will waking you up make you overtired and too cranky to sleep well?

When trying to understand and respond to you is all I do around the clock, I begin to obsess over the short term. But every once in awhile I enjoy a moment of clarity and realize that these first few months of your life are going to pass in the blink of an eye. These are the months when there is a maddening absence of helpful literature on how to care for you. All the advice starts applying at 6-8 weeks and 3-4 months. Until then, who’s to say what your little body needs.

What you need seems to be pretty simple. Maddeningly simple to someone who wants to do things right. You need to be loved. What I need as your mommy is just about the same: I need to enjoy you. That’s what I’m figuring out about these first few weeks. They are so beautiful, so crazy, so quick to fly by. Who cares about the answers to all those little fretting questions? They’re just not that monumental.

I’m sure of only one absolute “wrong” thing: It would be wrong to fail to enjoy you. At least that’s something I can be good at. So I’m learning to love the little moments as they pass, and if you decide to scream all day instead of sleeping, well then I’ll just hold you and look at your cute angry face.

Just don’t use that pouty lip on me when you’re two years old or I might give you whatever you want.

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