Little man, you’re one month old today! When you were just a few days old, I held you on the couch and sobbed happy tears, telling your dad that my whole life, I’d been rushing from one thing to the next — marriage to house to pregnancy to labor — but that now, I was done rushing. I didn’t want you to grow up too quickly, or for me to have wasted your childhood anticipating the next thing. Yet I find myself oddly rushing your growth for a strange reason — you have so few newborn clothes and so many 3-month outfits that I’m dying to see you in!
Still under 10 pounds, you seem like such a shrimp to me. Your 3-month onesies fit, but the pants are still big. But then I took your 1-month photos and sat them aside shots from 1 week, and wow! How you’ve grown. I may have cried… just a bit. You’re taller, rounder, more unfurled than you were at birth. It’s amazing and scary. It makes me proud to know that in a sense, I did that. Breastfeeding was rough for both of us at the start, but keeping with it and feeding you with what nature gave me has helped you grow so big and strong. I love knowing that I’m doing that for you. It’s a gift only I can give you.
You’re holding your head up for several seconds during tummy time and when we hold you upright. You’ve also become so much more alert and aware when awake, looking around in wonder with those big blue-gray eyes (what color will they eventually become? Daddy thinks brown, like his; I bank on hazel, like mine). You’ve also started to fix your gaze on certain things, locking eyes with us here and there. You stare and bat and kick at the toys in your activity gym and appear delighted when you manage to whack one and make its bell ring. You grab at the toy bar in your swing. You open your arms and raise them toward us when we approach you in your playpen, and when I hold you upright and walk you around when you’re cranky and overtired, you nuzzle your head against my shoulder, the top of your scalp against my cheek, and fling your arm around mine. You don’t know what you’re doing, but you seem to know comfort and are leaning how to find it. It makes my heart burst that it’s in our arms.
You also treated us to your first social smile the weekend you turned 1 month. You smile more at sounds than anything, and your laughs are still small and random (but so delightful — a gloriously hearty one while you were falling asleep one night warmed my heart and gave me butterflies — a sneak peek!) but you’re showing what you like more and more and becoming so responsive.
As for what it’s like to have an infant — overwhelming, wonderful, stressful, unpredictable, humbling, unexpected, life-changing, mind-scrambling, and more. If I could go back to that first week, I’d have some words for the new mommy who marveled at how much you slept (or maybe I’d just let her remain blissful naive). After that first week, we added “severe sleep deprivation” to the challenges parenthood presented us with. But now, just four weeks later, we’re all settling into a routine — as much as it changes.
At your 4-week checkup, you were 9 pounds, 7 ounces — a huge jump from the 7 pounds, 12 ounces just two weeks prior! It makes us so proud to see you fill out and grow.
I’ve found that small things have begun affecting me in new ways. Having a child is like getting a new pair of glasses — the world doesn’t change, but your role in it does. While the idea of harm brought to children certainly bothers you as a human before you have children, it affects you as a parent afterwards. Children in pain, sick, dying — they make you grab onto what’s in front of you, sob for the other parent and child but silently thank God it’s not you. It makes you realize the confluence of miracles that must occur for you to stay with us day after day. Not only were we blessed with a relatively quick and painless conception when so many other couples struggle to get pregnant, we didn’t have to suffer the silent pain of a miscarriage. We didn’t have frightening ultrasounds or dramatic complications during pregnancy. You were never in distress. Your labor and delivery were practically uneventful. You passed all your tests, all your screenings, put on weight appropriately, and continue to develop well. The things we hear and read, the indignities and devastation that others must endure, and the fact that we didn’t have to — it changes the way you look at life. And while I’m sure you’ll get sick, hurt yourself, be hurt and live through disappointments, worry and fear, doubt and fret, panic and skulk, today, you are happy and healthy and snoring sweetly in your bassinet next to our bed. And for that, for just that one moment of you near me, I would trade a million yesterdays and tomorrows.
I love you, little man.