When is Charlie considered two months? Because for the past eleven months I have been living my life in weeks, and Charlie turned eight weeks on Monday, but the 4th isn't until Saturday. Either way, we have survived two months.
Let's just get this out of the way: I wouldn't consider Charlie an easy baby. This isn't indicative of how much I love her or a reflection of my parenting. And it's taken me almost two months to learn that. I'm embarrassed to admit that when I used to hear about babies being poor sleepers or crying frequently, I would contribute their behavior to whatever parenting style that parent was using. Because I thrive in structure and planning, obviously, my baby would be gloriously happy. I've had to learn that babies come out their own being, and despite that we are in charge of rearing them and instilling principles in them, they are still individuals. Around two weeks Charlie started crying, and it began to feel like with the exception of when we were nursing or we could coax her to sleep, she would cry. At night, when we'd get her to go to sleep, I'd close my eyes and still hear her crying. Around four or five weeks, we turned a corner and it felt a little better, and I felt like I had a better grasp on my sanity. But the situation could still improve, because feeling sane shouldn't be the standard of happiness a parent is experiencing.
At her six week check up, I told the doctor about some symptoms I had noticed and he did a stool sample test and it was confirmed that there is blood in Charlie's stool, resulting from protein intolerances. Basically, her little digestive system recognizes protein I eat passed through breastmilk as something it should attack. It kind of wrecks havoc on her digestive system, resulting in pain and subsequently the relentless crying. Luckily, I had already been off dairy for a month but I hadn't been off soy, which half of babies with dairy intolerances also have soy. There's other allergens that she seems sensitive to, but it feels like a guessing game. We just went to the doctor again for a weight check because of the allergies and her stool sample revealed that things are improving! Anyways, if anyone is looking for MSPI (milk soy protein intolerance) recipes I've gotten pretty good at cooking things that don't feel like I'm missing out. (Just kidding, pass the cheese please.) But in all seriousness, giving up certain foods to make your baby happier has been very easy.
Charlie is happiest in the morning. The process of her waking up is worse than Nik. This week, I unswaddled her and laid her on my knees just to see how long it would take for her to fully wake up on her own. TEN MINUTES. Ten full minutes of groaning and stretching until she was alert. (And yet, during afternoon naps if I so much as open the fridge her eyes pop open.) But once she's up she is so happy to be alive! She grins at everything and everyone. While she nurses she'll get a goofy smile on her face and look up at me as if to say, 'This is awesome!'.
Charlie is also happiest in the bath or shower. I took long showers every night of my pregnancy because it was one of the only places I felt comfortable, and it seems to have translated outside of the womb. We have one of those PUJ tubs you put in the sink, but it always seems like a very elaborate process for a subpar bathing experience in our wimpy sink. So we just scoop her into the shower or tub at night with one of us. The other night, as the water poured over her she tilted her head back, closed her eyes and her whole face lit up into a smile. It was so sweet, because it wasn't a smile that was in response to someone smiling at her, but a smile just for herself enjoying a moment.
Our Ergo is probably my favorite baby item we own. I love it so much, I double check the doors are locked in the car if I leave it in there. Because, you know, it is such a miracle product that obviously people would want to steal it. If Charlie can't nap, most of the time, if I pop her in the Ergo and bounce like a mad woman I can get her to snooze. The only downside is then I can't sit down because somehow she senses when I am comfortable and wakes up? My first couple of times using it I was so paranoid that she couldn't breathe because with the infant insert she was smooshed right against me. But with time, this fear has gone away. It is still a safety concern of old women in public, who always worriedly ask me if she can breathe. Yes, people, she can breathe.
Charlie's personality is starting to come through as her newbornishness seems to shed. She is dear, and likes to snuggle up with her face in our necks when she is content. She seems like a little observer, and loves being held facing out so she can take it all in. She likes going out and doing things that she can see. We've been putting her stroller, buckled up facing out, and when we first get walking she lets out sighs of joy and coos to herself.
I'm excited to move onto the next phase of babyhood with Charlie. As we've figured out her health problems, she seems happier, and it feels good to be on the brink of phasing out of the constant crying and restlessness. I love watching her personality develop, and seeing her discover new things. She seems to grasp that Nik and I love her, and as she's learning to give feedback with smiles and coos it's making it all the more worth it.