I mean, obviously I’m biased. I fell in love with her on the first day, and I’ve been fascinated by her ever since. Still, you’d think that after taking care of 3-month-olds before, I’d find her pretty boring. What does a 3-month-old baby do all day anyway?
Well, she starts by waking up around 5-ish, hungry. I take her in bed with me (she has her own cot in our room in which she sleeps most of the night) and fall asleep breastfeeding her, because I wasn’t a morning person before and although becoming a mother has made me somewhat friendlier in the morning, 5am is just too early.
Sated, she falls back to sleep in my loving arms.
Or she does a massive poo and then I have to change her. Sometimes entirely. Not naming names (PAMPERS) but one of the things parenthood has taught us is that just because a brand of nappies is expensive doesn’t mean it’s any good. In fact, so far the brand that keeps her dry and happy and not covered in poo longest is the second cheapest local supermarket brand. Unfortunately we discovered this AFTER my unsuspecting sweetheart bought three boxes of Pampers in different sizes (there was a discount), which we now have to use up before we can go back to the store brand. Long story short, many of my baby’s clothes are now some shade of yellow.
Many mornings, though, she just falls asleep. And so do I, boob out, and sometimes we wake up a few hours later in a sticky patch of breastmilk. Which is how you learn to put a towel under both of you beforehand.
Ah, the joys of motherhood!
About three hours later she’s hungry again. The doctor tells me she should be eating every four hours now during the day and waiting eight hours at night, to which I nod gravely in agreement, yes, she probably should be, but she isn’t, so.
Once she’s eaten this time, she’ll usually be wide awake, smiling and talking at the ceiling. Her definition of “talking” has changed over the past month or so. In the beginning it was these cute little coos that we couldn’t get enough of, but then she learned to make this growling noise in the back of her throat. This amuses her so much that it is now her default way of speaking. Then, just before we went on holiday to see my family, she started making this horrible screeching noise. It’s the sort of high, piercing banshee noise that goes through you and makes you grit your teeth, and – this is most unfortunate – it seems to be a primitive sort of laughter.
I have hope, though, because she has actually laughed properly. Twice. On the same day, about a week ago, and never since, despite our best efforts. The second time was in her sleep (IT WAS ADORABLE OMG). But still, there is hope.
So I dress myself and her and head downstairs to hand her to my partner, who has usually been up for a couple of hours by this time (he *is* a morning person), while I eat my breakfast. She sits in her baby chair and growls at her books – she has many books, the ones she plays with are made of fabric – trying her best to stuff them into her mouth. She discovered she had hands about a month ago and has been learning to control them ever since. She can now more or less open and close them at will, and she can bat things with her arms, but she still hasn’t mastered the art of reaching for something with her arm and grasping it when her hand gets into the optimal position.
If she’s on form, we put her on her back on the play mat, where she tries to catch all the mobiles hanging over her head, and put them in her mouth. When she manages, there is drool everywhere, and she is happy, until she gets tired, or frustrated, or bored, or – again – hungry.
It may cheer you to read that breastfeeding no longer hurts like hell once you’ve learned to reposition your child correctly and said child has learned to latch on properly and regulate her suckling etc. and all your crevasses have healed up and her oral thrush – and, likewise, your boob thrush – has been treated and everything that ever goes into her mouth sterilised several times so there are no relapses. I mean it takes time, but after a while the sensation goes from light torture to light tickling, which you can easily ignore, and in fact not notice when the baby latches off and milk spurts out everywhere, but that’s a minor problem.
Most days she has one short nap in the morning, one long nap in the early afternoon, and another short nap in the evening. She sleeps in her baby chair, downstairs with us. The doctor says she should sleep in a cot in her own room, in order to get used to it, but we tried that the other day and she had no long naps at all, so maybe we’ll just put her there for some naps and not others, for now.
When we go out, or when people come over, she is usually happy. She likes people. She lost no time discovering that smiling got a positive reaction, so she smiles at strangers a lot, and in this way has effortlessly seduced all the family and friends we’ve introduced her to. In fact, if we stay indoors too much, she will get irritable and stare longingly at the windows like a cat. Have I mentioned that I think she might be an extrovert?
She likes playing Row The Boat, and Stand Up Sit Down (which is basically me holding her up and exclaiming “stand up!” or “siddown!” whenever she pushes on her legs to stand, or relaxes them to sit). I’ve read that I really shouldn’t be doing this, or helping her into any position she can’t get herself into, because it’ll discourage her from learning on her own – but then I’ve also read that “tummy time” is a thing, which apparently contradicts the former argument, so I’ve decided to ignore both and follow her cues.
She’s an easy baby. Really easy. My mother tells me the only baby she’s ever seen who was easier was my littlest sister, who is now 16, and who I remember being the sweetest, most compassionate child I’ve ever met. Her cues are easy to read. When she isn’t smiling or looking at you, she’s tired and needs to be left alone. She’s independant – when something’s wrong, she tries to fix it herself (putting the dodie back in her mouth when she loses it, for instance) before crying for help, but she likes cuddles, especially when she’s tired. On the rare occasions when she screams, she’s usually been hungry for a long time and we haven’t figured it out yet, or else she’ll have a sore tummy – but that rarely happens. She clutches our clothes and rubs her face against us when she’s tired, stares avidly when she wants something, and when we figure it out and meet her needs, she smiles at us as though saying “thank you”.
She’s also gorgeous. I’m actually considering putting her up for baby modelling (which is the kind of competitive environment I usually avoid like the plague) because I’m not sure how else we’re going to get her a college fund. They can probably photoshop the cradle cap, right?
Where was I?
She starts getting tired around 8pm-ish. We give her a bath every other day (she LOVES baths), and if she’s still too agitated, I give her a massage. She particularly likes having her feet massaged, it calms her right down.
Is she’s hungry I feed her then, otherwise I take her into our darkened bedroom, close the curtains and tell her it’s nighttime now and she needs to go to sleep. Then I sing her a song, and rock her while patting her bum in a heartbeat pattern, and before she’s quite asleep (usually), I put her to bed with a lovey over her eyes and a pink elephant I call Delirium (after the beer) in her hands, and she falls asleep.