Dear James and Jackson:
I know you won’t remember it. Your first Halloween. I also hope you won’t remember the time I fell asleep at 4:00am holding your bottle of pumped breast milk. I woke up to you staring at me blankly because I had dropped the bottle, fortunately, not the baby. I am ashamed to say it has happened more than once and with both of you.
Please don’t remember that.
You both often get this look on your face as if to say, “Mama, we know you are trying, but honestly, get it together!”
I was never one of those completely put together people. Something was always a little askew. This fact is not lost on my children.
Today you are eight weeks old. You’ve been here 56 days and I can hardly remember the life I had 57 days ago, except I know I had more sleep.
I definitely had more sleep.
Now I think 120 minutes of uninterrupted sleep is a full night’s rest. I wish I could soak it all in, but the sleep deprivation.
About Halloween. Originally I wanted to dress up as a chicken and have you be the Dumplings, but it seemed anti-climactic since you can’t say Trick or Treat or eat candy. It would look like a 44-year old woman trying to get candy by trick or treating with 6.5 week old babies. Your Mama did not want to embarrass you before you were old enough to actually be embarrassed.
Given the fact that I have more to do than I have time for, I opted to save the Mommy Chicken n’ Dumpling costume idea for a more appropriate year.
In the meantime … we have 01 Dumpling and 02 Dumpling hats. It’s the most I could “make” between pumping, feeding, cleaning, rocking and even working. Your “I Rock” and “I Roll” onesies were a gift from your Great-Goddaddy, Bob.
Instead, you wore the costumes your Auntie Sharie bought for you because she knew I was going to be too tired to sew. She was right.
Clearly, both of you were too tired to trick or treat.
So much has happened since you came home. Each day I look at your little cooing faces and smile.
And yet, lately the main sentiment that pops into my head as I look into your eyes is …
Dear God, will they ever sleep through the night? Will I ever get more than two consecutive hours of sleep again? Would a little wine in their bottle really be such a bad idea? Tylenol PM? Whiskey? Whiskey with a wine chaser?
Instead, I have settled on a occasional dropper of Gripe Water — this, of course, does not make you sleep — it simply calms you down for a bit. It momentarily ends your bitching so I can figure out how to make you happy. If it helped you sleep, I am sure some mother would be in jail by now for a gripe water overdose.
Don’t get me wrong, you’re good babies. Very good babies. In fact, you went on your first “play date” with Moms from my birthing class and their babies last Friday. Some of the moms were impressed with how easy you were — considering I had two of you.
You made me look good. You always make us look good.
Daddy and I were not nearly this awesome until you came along. We also had fewer bags under our eyes. Getting out the door was a little faster. But life was not nearly this meaningful.
I try to remember that every time we meet at 4:22am.
James, you are a pisser. Literally. If there was ever a baby that went through more outfits in one day, I’d like to meet them. I can’t wash cloth diapers fast enough and the disposables from Honest Diapers are, in a word, TERRIBLE for you. Maybe all diapers are terrible for you. You need a diaper cover even when you wear a disposable diaper.
Who does that? James Philip Wilcox, that’s who.
Somehow you always seem to find a hole in the armor and aim there. Your Daddy and I know exactly when it happens because you wake yourself up with grunting followed by crying. I am thinking of swaddling your entire lower half in saran wrap — but someone would probably call CPS, or you would accidentally suffocate yourself after you performed a Houdini and escaped.
The nurses in the NICU used to call you Houdini, both of you, actually. Neither of you have ever liked swaddling or back sleeping — and honestly, you can take or leave the white noise. You seem just as at home with a Willie Nelson album … When you were in the NICU, they slept you on your stomach and then sent us home with you and told us to put you on your back. Do as we say not as we do … one nurse literally said that to me.
Finally, your father and I thought it over and decided millions of us made it through the 70’s on our stomachs … millions of us made it through the 70’s, period.
Jackson, you are quite a spitter. You are the child they were thinking about when they made infant outfits with matching bibs. I actually put the bibs that came with those outfits on you. You generally manage to go through fewer outfits than your brother, but the collar of your shirt is in a constant state of damp. Every time you have a bath, I clean milk from the rolls in your increasingly pudgy chin.
Speaking of baths … you hate them. I mean you would think someone was trying to remove your fingernails. I feel like I deserve this hatred of baths, since as a child I would go into the bathroom, splash water around and tell my Mom (KK) I had a bath.
Just know that if you try that when you are nine … I’ll know. Apparently, according to KK, nine-year old kids have a very distinct smell.
They tell me you might have acid reflux. Personally, I think you’re just a little pig and you eat too fast. Whenever we take the bottle (or the breast) out of your mouth you will often start head butting our shoulder.
I’m not sure what that is about. I’m told it’s normal, especially for boys.
As for your Mama, I am getting accustomed to smelling of sour milk, wearing stains on my clothes and driving slowly. However, I still play my music too loud. In my defense, I think you like the music because you never give me a bit of trouble in the car.
Of course, maybe I can’t hear you.
I am getting used to asking myself, Did I take a shower? Did I eat? Did I brush my teeth? Many days I cannot answer any of those questions. Not. One.
And yet, I think back to the days when I knew if I took a shower, ate and brushed my teeth — and know life was a lot emptier; and yet, more well-rested.
I hear rest is overrated. Unfortunately, I can remember rest. I can remember sleep. I don’t remember the overrated part. It’s a lie I tell myself as I get out of bed each night.
I love you more than anything, but if we can work on dropping that 4:22am feeding and sleeping for four hours — that would be awesome. At this point, I would take three hours. At the same time. Really. Can we start there? And soon?