Saturday, May 26, 2012

Month 17

This month turned out to be full of interesting bits.  For one, you stopped drinking your mom's milk in the last few weeks.  This was a decision we made, a plan we agreed on, and when the time came you took the change in stride.  Your mom struggled a little, and still does - the intimacy of breastfeeding creates a very tight bond between Mom and Baby, and I know she misses that part of the evening; the bedtime feeding was the last to go.

Part of the rationale for weaning you this month was connected to the other big happening.  For the first time ever, Mom was away from you over night.  And not just one little Mother's-Night-Out, but a whole week!

The other side of that equation meant that this same week was Dad's first opportunity to be the sole care giver for you, several hours in the morning, and then from afternoon and through the nights.  For weeks in advance I had been building this little lump of anxiety in my belly, not sure of what to expect from the week but nearly certain that I would mess it up in some spectacular way.

I should not have worried.  Things went better than I could have expected, and probably better than I deserved.  The first night (my biggest concern!), you let me rock you to sleep without incident.  I sang to you for about 15 minutes (it turns out you like U2, Tom Waits, and I'm Just a Little Black Raincloud!), and you just closed your eyes and slept through until breakfast time.

And breakfast (that first morning and each subsequent iteration) was super easy too.  I should probably not brag too much, because when Mom reads this she will probably realize that I could take on more of these routine chores looking forward...

The second night you did do something weird, but it turned out ok.  After staring me down through the singing period (was it that you wanted a whole new batch of songs?  Or that you were hoping for more Gillian Welch and less INXS?), you let me put you in your crib - still awake - and leave you there.  This was after an hour or so of rocking and singing to you, during which you yawned plenty, rubbed your eyes, and snuggled in close, but did.  not.  go.  to.  sleep.

So I left you in the crib.  When I got downstairs and checked you on the monitor, you were still laying quietly in your crib, your little raccoon eyes (night vision cameras can be creepy) open and gazing up at me...  And so it went for another hour.  You did eventually doze off, but only after surprising me with this silent treatment.  I had expected tantrums and crying, and I got this very mellow, contemplative kid.  I convinced myself that you were working through some Trennungsangst about your mom being gone.  But hey, it was better than crying!

The rest of the week gave us opportunities for other "firsts": first bath time alone with Dad, first dinner trip out alone with Dad, first time singing Sunday Bloody Sunday as a lullaby...

I also gained some perspective on parents who are always doing this job solo, and came to understand just a little more how challenging that life must be.  I've appreciated (and loved) your mom since long before you were born, but a week where our only experience of her was over (an inconsistent) video chat link reaffirmed how central she is to our experience of Family.

In anticipation, I couldn't wait for this week to come and go and to be able to look back on it as "done", but now the rear looking perspective is bittersweet.  You and I had a great time, and we both know now that we can do this, we can hold it together for a few days at a time, just the two of us.

I love you, son.

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