Friday, August 29, 2014

Baby Barrett

Baby Barrett
I don't put a whole lot on here about Barrett. He's not the neglected middle child, I promise.

Will's verbal and social development is happening so quickly, and the personality that is emerging more each day is astonishing. In contrast, Barrett is teething, trying to crawl, and starting solids - things that most babies do around this time.

Still, my love for Barrett is completely astounding. I don't know how it's possible to feel like I loved Will with all my heart, and then to have Barrett and feel the same way about him at the same time.

When Will was born, I had been in labor for 27 hours. I had pushed for an hour and a half. I was expecting a girl, though hoping a bit for a boy. He came out, a blond little boy, at the peak of that exhausting mountain, and I instantly and ferociously bonded to him. (I remember that the sight of Brian feeding him a bottle two months later made me jealous.)

I remember sitting and sobbing as I looked at my newborn William, just broken with the feeling of relief that nothing had happened to him. I mean, SOBBING. I think I've said before that I believe that God gave me this incredibly strong, instant bond with Will because the weeks and months ahead would be a tough transition for me. Nursing, losing my "old life," and jumping right into selling our house to leave NC - it was a lot. But nothing could shake my love for my baby.

When Barrett was born, I had been in serious labor for only a few hours. I pushed for fifteen minutes. I was expecting a boy (and hoping a bit for a boy, too!). He came out, and it was like, "Whoa! You're already here! And you ARE a boy!" I was in a daze. I couldn't believe he had come so quickly. Don't get me wrong - I loved him immediately. It was just so different.

Back home, he felt like the new little stranger. William had already been around for 21 months. Barrett - whose name we had JUST settled on before his birth - was this dark-haired, darkly-complected little guy who spit up easily and loved to snuggle. I didn't KNOW him yet! How strange it is, to love someone whom you don't know yet!

(Not to mention, my postpartum transition was SO MUCH EASIER. (The baby weight stubbornly stayed on, and it took me about five months to get back to my prepregnancy weight, which is STILL several pounds over where I want to be... but that's a different story. I'm happy with my weight right now.) Besides that, the hormones were not nearly as ruthless. There weren't any bouts of sitting and looking at my baby and sobbing my heart out in relief. It was just a sweet, calm, sleepless time.)

I would describe my love for Barrett as a blooming love, still as intense, but growing each day as I appreciate him more and more for who he is. I just appreciate him so much. I don't know what I did to get such a laid-back, happy guy, but he makes my life with two SUCH a joy. He is a wonderful sleeper, and has been sleeping through the night for 10-12 hours since he was five weeks old. NOT ONCE has he broken that streak, though I keep expecting him to, and GOSH I wouldn't blame him if he needed to eat in the middle of the night! When his naps started becoming more irregular, that was okay too, because he's happy wherever I put him - jumper, command center, Ergo on my back, floor with toys.

He's been sick and teething lately - both at the same time - and the only way I could tell is because it interrupted his daily sleep and because he couldn't breathe through his nose. He's still smiling through the sniffles, and I'm thankful for his sake that it seems to be ending. He is SO SMILEY. He's a ticklebug, too. He has a great giggle that can be easily evoked with a tiny tap on his collarbone.

He's chubby, but small. He gained his birthweight back (plus more) in three or four days, and I thought he'd be the bigger boy for sure. His first well visit measured him at the 90th percentile. His second visit put him in the 50th-75th, which surprised me as I've been used to William always being in the 90th. After that, I lessened my dieting efforts a bit to make sure he had plenty of milk. I nursed him as much as I could. He still spit up a bit after every feeding (which William never did) but was still so happy, so I didn't worry too much about it. The third well visit, at six months, put him in the 25th-50th. I almost cried when Sarah, our nurse, told me that. But our doctor was not concerned and encouraged me to relax about it. "He is obviously happy and thriving. A lot of kids move up and down the chart. Just follow the trend."

I know I shouldn't care about this so much, but there is something so personal about the health of your kids, especially when they are breastfeeding. There's a lot of guilt and second-guessing involved. Is Barrett hungry, and I don't know it because he's just so happy all the time? Am I putting my desire to lose weight over the health of my baby? Am I exercising/pumping/eating/drinking (coffee/water)/nursing... too much/too little?

That night, I started him on solids. Becca had been telling me at camp that I needed to do it. "He's eyeing our food!" she exclaimed. "You can tell he wants it!" I promised her I'd do it as soon as I got a blender. Well, blender or no blender, after that pediatrician visit, he was on solids. (It takes a couple extra steps to food-process it and then Magic-Bullet it, but that's what's happening now.)

I didn't start Will on solids until he was almost eight months. He was so big with just nursing, I figured, why stop a good thing? Plus, I wanted to do Baby Led Weaning with him, and I figured the older he was, the better and easier it would be.

I've been doing purees with Barrett, and let me tell you - that is the WAY TO GO. For me, anyway. It's a no-brainer. I won't ever do BLW with another baby. With purees, it takes a couple hours to make a month's worth of food. I know exactly what's in it and I can make it taste yummy, and I know he's getting a balanced blend of what he needs. At every meal I just pull out a bit of what I want to feed him, and after a minute in the microwave, it's ready when we sit down to dinner. There's no last-minute panic of, "Oh no! We're having chewy venison steak and salad! What's the baby going to eat?" If I want, I can let him gnaw on something at the table, but I also know he's got good fruits/vegetables/egg yolk/fat in his tummy.

And he has taken to it like a natural. He's eaten everything I've made him, and in large amounts!

Barrett is a snuggler. He rubs his face against my cheek when he's tired.
He loves being held and he is happy being put down.
He constantly pops off while nursing because he wants to see what's going on.
He's a thumb-sucker when he's tired.
He loves having his head rubbed.
He still spits up after every feeding, usually all over his and my clothes, despite how ever many rags and blankets I have positioned. Nothing like hearing it splatter onto the floor. Yuck.
He usually wakes up to eat about 45 minutes before Will. He's undistracted and gets a really good feeding as we lay together on my bed. He pants frantically and reaches for me while I get situated, and then plays with my necklace while he eats. The moment he's done, he tries to sit up. He's ready to go!
He dislikes the carseat like Will did, but generally tolerates it well enough.
He LOVES his big brother.
He loves his daddy, who doesn't get to spend as much time with him as he did with Will. Barrett doesn't seem to care.
He's trying desperately to crawl, rocking on all fours last night. It won't be long! (In that regard, he's ahead of Will, who started between eight and nine months.)
He's a WILD MAN in the tub! Oh my. I can barely control him. When he and Will are in there together, watch out. The splashing is tremendous. Barrett gives it as good as William does.
He adores frozen banana in the net teethers. One of the only times he ever cries is when it runs out.
When he's hungry, he puts his hands on my cheeks, frantically looking for food.
Just like Will, he doesn't mind who's holding him. He'll go to anyone.
He goes crazy in his jumper, pointing his toes like a ballerina.

If our family was an orchestra, Brian would be the mellow double bass, the low and steady backdrop that keeps the rhythm and flow. Mama would be the violin,
carrying the melody, occasionally moody and high-pitched but almost always making noise. William would be the trumpet. You couldn't miss him if you tried - always bright and loud and distinctive.

Baby Barrett - right now, anyway - is the oboe. Sweet, gentle, usually unassuming and content to be in the background, he lends a note of contentedness and joy to our family that is remarkable. His happy, bobbing head is one of the most pleasant sights in the house. I can't imagine life without him.

1 comment:

  1. Loved that Maeg ;) Especially the orchestra comparison at the end.