Happy four months, sweet boy! I'm a week late with your letter because, well, our lives have been pretty crazy during this last little stretch. I went back to work on Thursday and you started daycare. Leaving you with someone else during the day was the most difficult thing I've done in my entire life. I barely can write about it without bawling my eyes out. I'm quite certain that I've shed more tears in the last week than the entire rest of my days combined.
Everyone tells me that going to work will get easier, but I'm not completely convinced. I just keep telling myself that I'm working to provide a better life for you, which includes a financially stable household, but it's gut wrenching to say goodbye to you. These past 20 weeks have been the most amazing, special time. I cannot explain the love I have for you, because it's still so new, intense, and simply overwhelming.
I want to continue nursing you until you're at least a year old, because I think it's the best thing for your health and development. And pumping at work, well, it just sucks. Something about this whole situation seems inherently wrong to me — that I can't be with you during the time in your life you need me most. I really think American maternity leave laws need to be reformed to look a little more like they do in Scandinavia. I could go on about this for days, but let's just say I've become a bit of a "lactivist." It's amazing how one's views about something they never gave so much as a second thought can become so incredibly strong once they've had a personal experience. The nursing bond – for me at least – is so much more meaningful, special and emotion-invoking than I ever could have fathomed. But alas ... it is what it is, and I'm doing my best to deal.
You are changing and growing so much, and you're just plain fun right now. Your personality is starting to shine and we're getting a glimpse of the little boy you're becoming. Your laughter and squeals fill our house with joy, and your smiles are endless. You love to twirl around with us, be sung to (even though your daddy and I both are completely tone-deaf), and occasionally will pay a little attention to your books during story time. Your hand-eye coordination is skyrocketing, and you can trade your binky back-and-forth between hands, but you can't consistently get it back in your mouth yet. The day that finally happens, your daddy and I are going to do cartwheels and open an expensive bottle of champagne. (We spend a lot of time "binky fetching.") You've also figured out how to arch your back during diaper changes, which is a new challenge for us, and you love to "dance" on your playmat by kicking your legs and pounding your belly. We laugh so hard at your antics, which in turn makes you crack up, too.
You are such an easygoing kiddo, and there are only a handful of things that wipe the near-constant grin off your face: (1) hunger, (2) naps, (3) possible early teething, and (4) a week of backed-up poop. Now, I know most people don't care to read about your bowel habits, but one purpose of these letters is to help me remember things about your childhood that I may otherwise forget (be that intentional or not). And hey, I may want to reference these events for a future sibling. We're a little concerned that you've started pooping so infrequently this month – we had a five-day stretch and a seven–day stretch, but you always seem to "work in out" in the end. And when you do, it is the most wretched of wretched events. I hope this pattern soon ceases. I suppose that's one upside to daycare, though, considering you may someday choose to unleash on them instead of your daddy and me.
You've really kicked up the drooling and have started to bite down on things instead of just sucking on them. It seems a little early to be teething, but a few people have pointed out that they think you've started the process. You've woken up screaming in the night a few times lately, too, which is a new thing for you (and yes, to the other parents of young babies reading this, I do know how lucky we are). I'm still in denial about the teething, but we have your four-month checkup this coming week, so we'll ask your pediatrician what she thinks.
Your naps still are pretty irregular. They're developing into an every-other-day pattern. At the same time, you're not cranky on the days you don't want to go down – it just seems like you're trying to say, "Hey lady, I'm not tired, so stop trying to put me in this crib!!" But the following day will be filled with a couple two-hour stretches. I'm still of the mindset that as long as you continue sleeping so well at night, I don't really care what you do during the day. We put you down around 7 p.m. each evening, and generally you sleep until about 6 a.m. Now that I'm back at work – I'm trying to work 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. – I have to wake you up to eat earlier than normal and I feel really guilty about it. You don't seem to mind, though, and usually go right back to sleep after you're done eating, so I'm trying to let myself off the hook.
I suspect you'll be able to roll onto your tummy within the next week or so – you're so very close. I think it may be one of your first "firsts" that I miss because I'm at work. It just kills me. Do you see the recurring theme this month? It's mommy guilt, and I sure have a lot of it. I'm doing my best to work through it, but it certainly is not easy.
My entire being is filled with love for you, baby boy. It gets stronger every day, and I am so looking forward to watching you grow. You mean the absolute world to me, and I promise to try and make the very most of the time we're together.
I love you,
This Week for Dinner Podcast #9: Kate Lebo
3 days ago