So, the last couple of days have not been rockstar, ending in (minor) surgery as they did. Today I was disappointed that I would ‘lose’ my whole weekend by being bed ridden, to recover. I was looking forward to crafting, sorting my room out, maybe taking Sam shopping. Bed was really not on the cards.
But it seemed that bed was my only option, so I said to Wes that he might as well take a day of freedom, and I would look after Sam. Not that he doesn’t love Sam, and love looking after him. But I am very sympathetic to the view that as a parent you so rarely get free time: you’re always conscious of your child, what they are doing, how long you have completing a certain activity before they wake / make a fuss / need feeding. Let me repeat: we love being parents, and adore Sam, but I do know how much I appreciate those few stolen moments when you don’t have to think about anything or anyone but yourself and your activities.
So, Wes made bullets while I settled into my second choice day: a day stuck in bed, in pain, albeit with the best boy ever.
Greatest. Day. Ever.
It started when I got Sam into my bed at about 5 am. As Wes had done the 2 am feed I was really rested and I couldn’t sleep, but wasn’t tired. I just sat and watched Sam. Watched him sleep. It has been 3 months since I got to do that. Since going to back to work at ~3 weeks postpartum nighttime is always a rush to either spend time with Wes, or get my work finished, and the morning is a chance to cram in extra sleep, or a rush to get up and get pumping so I can get to work. I have forgotten how my son sleeps, or at least, it has changed since we I last saw it. It is deeper than it used to be, but his movements are different, less jerky, and much stronger.
Then we got up and had breakfast. Me, a LaraBar and Sam: a bottle of formula. I never get to feed Sam breakfast! My morning pump is the longest (sometimes an hour) and so Wes gives Sam his bottle. Morning is Sam’s best time, and he was so awake. He watched me with sparkling eyes and kept breaking away from the bottle just to grin at me, and then latched himself back on. It was so much fun!
Then we settled in to play together. I picked up a book and started to read it to Sam. He loved it! All my previous attempts at reading to him had fallen on deaf ears and blind eyes. But he really locked onto the first book. So I got out another… and another. Sam had a definite favorite: ‘That’s not my monster’. He was not interested in feeling the pages, but just looked at the pictures and listened. About 5 times. The other books he would have once or twice, but this one: over and over again he was enraptured.
When I could stand it no more, we sang songs until he got grizzly. I put him in my arms and sang him to sleep in about 2 minutes. He liked ‘Puff the Magic Dragon’ way more than ‘Mr Moon’, or ‘Twinkle Twinkle’. We napped together until 10 am when Wes woke up. While I watched Grey’s Anatomy, Wes went and got me an egg biscuit and 2 crafting magazines, and Sam slept on.
The day passed like this. I just got to know my son. I play peek-a-boo with him most days, and he has never loved it. I learned he doesn’t really like a big, surprise ‘boo’, he likes to watch you slowly peek around a teddy and smile at him. I already knew what his favorite toys are, and I held one of them up for him. I got to watch how much he has changed: he no longer just stares at toys, but engages and anticipates where they will go. He is no longer just ‘not bored’ by them, but engaged and stimulated. It was so much fun watching him.
I read him to sleep again (more ‘That’s Not my Monster’).
I did what I usually and do and imitated his noises back at him.
I let him lie in his ‘pack n play’ and giggle. I leaned over the pack n play and chatted to him.
I sat and read my magazine, while he watched Sesame Street.
In truth, I mostly did what I always do with him. But, instead of doing it for 10 minutes before we went to the grocery store, or for 15 minutes before we got dressed for lunch, or doing it while reading a manuscript or at arm’s length while pumping, or my eyes on my email, I did it all with the luxury of time. I did it as if it was the only thing in the world that mattered.
And you know what? To Sam, it is the only thing that matters.
We had a fabulous day. We got to know each other so much more. Sam is such an easy, happy baby, it is easy to take him for granted. It is easy to take all those we know for granted. I am so grateful that at the end of a scary and painful experience, I got this: a day learning about the new little person in our house. The best gift I could have asked for.
We have not been very successful at putting Sam to sleep. In truth, I had a grant due Jan 31st, and another one yesterday (got an extension – phew!). So, I have always bathed with Sam, played with him, fed him while we ate dinner and got Wes to put him to bed. Sam gets wound up and Wes uses the swing to make him sleepy most nights. It’s a battle of Sam fussing, and frustration, and eventually swinging. I remembered that before going back to work full time, I put Sam to bed every night, without a problem.
Tonight, I took the time. I left my unfinished grant (due Monday) and took Sam,a book, and some milk into his room. I read to him, fed him, and sang to him (more ‘Puff The Magic Dragon’) until he was sleepy, laid him down in his crib and patted him to sleep. When he woke 10 min later, I fed him again, and sang him back to sleep in his crib.
I forgot that we already knew each other inside and out. We just needed to have a chance to show it.
A fantastic reminder of what is important in my life right now.