Dear Jackson and James:
One year ago today I wrote — Yes, I Can Call You DumplingS. I know I say it all the time, but I still can’t believe what a difference a year makes. Especially this year. One year ago today I found out there were officially two. Two babies.
You are five and 1/2 months old and I am happy to report you are no longer eating anything after midnight. We put you in your sleep suits sometime between 7:30-8:00 and you do not eat again until around 7:00am.
Is it perfect? No. But Mama is finally getting sleep, and if she works it right, she gets more than enough. I am no longer running on empty. Sometimes it’s only 1/4 tank, but it seems far from empty.
James, before this week you were fussing sometime around 4:00am and since you are the Worst. Pacifier. Baby. EVER — rather than risk having you wake up Jackson — I would just bring you to bed with us and coax you back to sleep while holding the pacifier in your mouth. I have yet to pinpoint what your lack of pacifier skills means in the big picture, but in the little picture it means your Mama holds it in your mouth to keep you from sucking it so hard it flies across the room. But this week we added fruit and vegetables at lunch and suddenly I don’t hear from you until around 6:00am. You do not cry. You do not fuss. You wake up talking to your Where the Wild Things Are mobile and continue the conversation with the fan in the living room.
This is significant progress.
Jackson, you are a very easy pacifier baby — but this pacifier has to be on your terms. If you are not in the mood for a pacifier, no amount of trying to shove it in your mouth is going to help. You will let me put the pacifier in your mouth if you wake up between 3:30-5:00, but after that, you too come to bed with Mama and Daddy. While your brother is in the next room cooing at his mobile, you are sound asleep between us with the smirk on your face like you know you have won.
You have. At least for now. Regardless, I am enjoying the sleep.
Your KK was in town this week, and it was a wonderful visit. I love that you are starting to recognize names when I say them. Both of you are trying to do raspberries — KK fully admits planting that seed and now when I say her name and do a raspberry, you laugh. A useful skill, indeed.
Tonight your Daddy is in Las Vegas for business, so your Granny came over and helped me to feed and bathe you. It was another rousing course of multi-grain cereal, sweet potatoes and a bottle chaser.
Now I find myself sitting in the living room of my freshly cleaned, fairly organized house drinking a glass of wine and writing for the first time in what feels like weeks. Relaxing alone for the first time in months.
I feel like my old self, only better.
The first night we brought you home I was convinced you had chosen the wrong mama. I cried. I wondered how in the world I was ever going to manage two babies. Your Daddy tries, but in all honesty, if you had to rely on him full time to get fed and changed … I shudder at the thought. He shudders at the thought. This whole thing does not come naturally to very many men.
I think babies know this.
I am not sure if it is this way for all Mommies, but for me there was a definite shift into motherhood. I spent weeks and months questioning every little thing and then one day (earlier this week) I woke up and my Mommy-pants fit. They’re not very attractive pants, but they fit, nonetheless.
I finally understand what people are talking about when they say, “You’ll get to know your baby. Every baby is different.” Every baby is different. The two of you are vastly different. I promise I will never lose sight of that fact.
Tonight as I sit here sipping this glass of cabernet I can say without a doubt — I am Super Mom. I am your Super Mom. Seriously, I want to get myself a cape. There is a part of me so relieved to finally be in this place, I might actually wear the thing if I ever came across one.
After weeks of doubt and questioning, I finally speak Jackson and James. I don’t just speak it — I am fluent. I understand all the colloquialisms and nuances. I no longer feel like I am standing in the town center of a foreign city grasping for air — or the proper word for a fried egg arepa; not quail eggs covered in thousand island dressing … (long story for another time, your Mama once produced a circus in Caracas).
Now that we are getting into the swing of things with eating, my favorite part of meal time is our singing. You don’t sing yet, but you both love to watch Mama sing. For the first time, my voice can stop a dinnertime meltdown. Willie. Guy Clark. Lyle Lovett. Johnny Cash. Emmylou Harris. We’ve sung it all. I even ordered some new music. Johnny Cash has a children’s album. Nasty Dan is fast becoming one of our favorites at breakfast.