Tuesday evening I went out to see Laura Miller interview Peter Straub (which was delightful) and when I got home the baby was bigger. It's so surreal when this happens. It's not just illusion, either. Kit has a favorite onesie (well, it's our favorite; the baby doesn't care) that only has snaps on one leg, and suddenly getting the other leg on is a lot more difficult than it used to be. I think we've got another couple of weeks left in these three-month clothes and then it's on to six-month ones.
We put a towel under one end of the crib mattress to elevate it slightly. After taking a little while to get used to the change, Kit now sleeps longer and much more soundly in the crib, with much less reflux... but keeps slowly sliding down the incline or to the side, especially during wide-awake wriggling time. Still a net positive.
We're getting more real smiles, and Kit's grabbing at anything that moves. Grabbing and holding the bottle (or our hands holding the bottle) during mealtimes is a favorite. Kit still hasn't quite got the hang of finger-sucking but has managed it a couple of times now, only somewhat by accident. I'm so impressed by the amount of dedicated effort a baby can put into achieving a goal, consistently working at it over a period of several days. And strategizing, too, including using one hand to push the other toward the mouth. All that's missing is the coordination to get the hand uncurled and the fingers at the mouth and the mouth open all at the same time, which when you spell it out that way really is an awful lot to ask of a tiny baby.
I'm practicing saying "You're working hard at sucking your fingers! You're getting closer every day! I'm so impressed!" (all true) instead of "You can do it!" (not yet true). X also pointed out that J and I were saying "You're not hungry" when the baby mistakes acid reflux for empty stomach, so now we say "I'm not going to give you more food right now" or "I think more food would be a bad idea" instead. Obviously the baby doesn't understand words yet, but we're building important habits for ourselves: being honest, owning our actions and opinions, not invalidating Kit's feelings and experiences.
Colic continues to be a real beast, especially on days when Kit's left the house, met someone new, or worked up a lot of frustration over not being able to manage finger-sucking yet. I've perfected a hold that I call "the human swaddle" that seems to help--hold the baby in the cross-cradle breastfeeding hold but with their face turned slightly upward so they can breathe easily, and gently hold both their arms to their chest--but even short bouts are exhausting and awful for everyone. We all fight over who gets to hold the baby during colic bouts, because it's so much easier to bear when you're at least trying to help than when you're in another room listening to the distant shrieking and feeling utterly helpless and miserable.
This culture has a lot of hangups around crying--who gets to do it, where and when it's okay to do it, how to do it, even how you're supposed to look after you do it--and has entirely lost sight of the idea of crying as a legitimate way of blowing off tension. But crying doesn't always have to be about anything. Sometimes you just have big feelings and you cry. I wasn't colicky as a baby, but when I was an older kid, I'd have a monthly cry as a stress relief valve. I'd be lying in bed at night and feel the urge to cry, and then I'd sob into my pillow, and then I'd feel better and go to sleep. I'm drawing a lot on that memory right now. Whenever Kit is screaming I want to say "Poor sad baby" but I actually have no idea whether Kit's sad, or whether those feelings even have names or shapes at all by the time they turn into colic. So instead I become a sort of one-person Baptist congregation: "Yeah. Uh-huh. That's right. You said it." Or I repeat their sounds, or tell them I love them, or just hold them and rock them gently. And then they feel better and they go to sleep, and I seriously consider having a drink. This parenting shit is hard work.
miriamreads visited for the long weekend, which was wonderful. We got some good hanging out and catching up time, though not as much as I would have liked (but that's always the case). Miriam also very kindly babysat so X and J and I could get some three-of-us time, which we sorely miss. Even just casual conversations about doing a quarterly purge of kitchen equipment we don't use are so much easier and nicer when no one's having to keep one eye on the baby monitor. We use my room as the guest room and J and I timeshare his room (since I go to bed when he gets up), and my sheets still have a whiff of Miriam's scent and it makes me very happy.
On Saturday J and I brought Kit to the 1st birthday party for a baby we know, and on Sunday that baby woke up with a fever of 104. Now she and another kid in her house are both very unwell. Fortunately the three of us seem to have dodged the virus, but I've been taking Kit's temperature daily to help fend off my anxiety. I'm going to be a total wreck the first time they actually get sick. They're getting vaccinations on Tuesday, and then I will take a lot of taurine so as not to freak out about the inevitable lethargy and temperature spike.
We're starting to have the nanny vs. daycare conversation. We all kind of want to take a few years off from work and stay home with Kit, but that's not feasible for any of us for several reasons. Obviously income is kind of useful. Also, we enjoy our jobs and feel satisfied by them, and--more importantly at the moment--they get us out of the house. (At the moment I wish mine got me out of the house more than it does. February's weather has been not at all conducive to going outside unless one has to, and I don't have to most of the time, so I don't. Then I get wicked cabin fever.) So X and J are going to tour the local Montessori-esque daycare, which I toured a few months ago and really liked, and ideally our landlord will let us know whether he plans to increase our rent when we renew our lease in April, and J's late February paycheck will reflect his recent raise, and then we can consider our budget and our options. I'm leaning strongly toward daycare for several reasons--which is not what I would have expected back before the baby was born--but that might be a whole separate post.