My little man is 3 months already. *Insert obligatory ‘I can’t believe how time has flown’ remark*. Actually, I think I am the only Mum in the world who thinks ‘has it only been three months?”. I guess because I have been so busy at work, I can’t believe that in 3 months I have had a baby, submitted two grants, started up a study and got my student through her qualifiers.
The headline picture shows how much Sam has grown. He was adorable at 1 month, but now at 3, he has so much more of an individual personality. I love how he has emotions he conveys, and has more intent driven behavior. He has his likes (singing ‘incy wincy spider’, chatting to the baby in the mirror (who is equally as chatty), and having his feet kissed) and his dislikes (being clicked at, and going to his room at bedtime).
He is equally as vocal now in both – likes will elicit fits of baby giggles and chatter, dislikes anything from repeated grunting to an angry shriek which descends into a wail.
I am a bit dismayed that my DNA is so far absent. If I hadn’t witnessed him come out of me… I might be skeptical. He looks so like his Dad. I like to think my jawline and cheekbones are still hidden under all that baby chub, but I am not so sure…
Physically, I was always little and somewhat behind developmentally (why walk when you can be carried?). Sam is the opposite – a hefty chunk of baby who can support his own weight, and has done for weeks. Thighs like tree trunks and a belly to match. While I showed no inclination to walk for ages, Sam is already able to pull himself up to standing by using his legs (waaay early) and support his weight almost indefinitely, using our fingers only for balance.
I was always hitting the cognitive milestones early. Again, Sam does not yet take after me – he pretty much hits each benchmark just about as he is supposed to. He has found his hands, a great source of fascination (and chewing), but not his feet yet. He’ll grab at dangling toys, but not at ones on the floor. He’ll look at a book, but only as he’ll look at any new object. He does have a good memory for the games I play with him though (such as itsy bitsy spider above – he has learned to like that) , thus showing good anticipation. And he turn took pretty early with his babbling – I guess chattiness is definitely something he gets from me, and NOT his Dad.
The best part, and the biggest change, has been watching Sam become a part of our family. I have known people describe seeing their child for the first time as the greatest love ever; At The Art of Making a Baby she describes seeing her daughter Lexi as a ‘duh, of course I have always loved her’ feeling. For me, it was not like that. The initial feeling was just one of deep concern: is the baby OK (not Sam, just ‘the baby’)? Like, I had been given a terribly fragile thing to look after, and was very concerned no harm came to it.
It grew from there, but it grew in stages. I always liked to hold him, but wanting to look at look at him was something that increased… recognizing him was something that came slowly. The feeling dawned bit by bit that Sam was actually the best baby in the hospital (seriously, Wes and I would have whispered conversations of ‘no, I actually think our baby is one of the cuter ones… the nurses definitely prefer him… they are not just saying that he is awesome with him – they really think he is’.)
Then we bought him home, and it was all ‘I want to do X, but, oh wait, how do we do it with Sam?”. Now Sam is just a part of our lives, it is automatically “Sam and I are off to do X’. It’s fulfilling and gratifying and amazing and beautiful to see him just become part of our family. I don’t yet feel like a Mum though, I still often feel like I am taking care of a baby, not my baby – but it is coming. I don’t feel bonded to him as I think I will. Don’t get me wrong: I adore him, and utterly love him. But it still hits me in waves, and while I feel protective and oh so proud of Sam, I guess I don’t yet think of Sam as mine. I think it would come more quickly if I had had some maternity leave – I never really had a time of just me & him together, against the world. I have always shared his care, and never just been utterly responsible for him. I also wonder about lingering effects of going to OR within minutes of birth, of being in ICU, of being on heavy drugs for so many days. The bonding is coming, and I am loving watching it blossom.
The closest I come at ‘feeling Mummy’ is when I sit at 3 am with him, breast feeding him, rocking him to sleep. That’s when it feels like we are bonded. Or when I see how he lights up when I come home from work. Or when he was feeling unwell the other night and would only settle in my arms (you know that ‘I-just-want-my-Mum-when-unwell’ feeling?). This, to me, is the best part of the journey. I am confident he’ll walk, talk and do all those things in good time (and how lucky we are to be able to say that), so I don’t get too hung up on milestones, fun though they are. It is the growing love and the two-way bond which is best.
I do feel so blessed with my little monkey. I can’t wait to see the little man he grows up to be.