He’s gotten better about feedings but sometimes he still eats like a total freak: sucking frantically, then pulling back to wail, then sucking openmouthed so that milk spills down his neck. He’ll eat about an ounce before we both give it a brief rest, then it’s back to the crappy feeding session that leaves him soaking wet and me thoroughly frustrated. In this manner we can pass hours out of the day, it takes all of my attention but provides little reward. He barfs less but is still unpredictable with his stomach contents: sometimes they stay inside his body, sometimes they end up all over whichever nearby household item is hardest to clean.

He wakes up from long naps seemingly filled with discomfort at his lengthy rest, he grouses and yells and turns bright red and rips enormous farts. He fusses for long, draining amounts of time, and has a knack for stepping up his complaints the instant I sit down to bolt my lunch or play a quick game with Riley. He wakes up at 3 AM and refuses to go back to sleep after he’s been fed, he kicks at his swaddle wrap and makes angry buzzing hornet sounds that escalate into full-scale howls. Most nights he’ll only go back down if I put him on my chest, then he spends half the night inching slowly up towards my neck, head-butting my jaw, scrabbling at me with his scratchy toenails.

He’s got zits on his tiny chin. His scalp and face is flaky. His hair is barely there on top but longer in the back, like an old man.

He gets big meaty hiccups that send little blorts of formula running out of his mouth. He poops four or five times a day, often while I’m in the middle of a diaper change. He grunts and grumbles and squeaks when he’s picked up, thrashes angrily when held, then yells with dismay when he’s put back down.

The only smiles I’ve seen have been in his sleep or as a prelude to a trumpeting emission from his rear end.

It isn’t entirely easy to love this little creature, is what I’m saying.

And still.

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Dylan is over a month old now, and there are some days when I think I’m adjusting as well as can be expected and others when I cry in the middle of the afternoon because I cannot believe how relentless this is, how frustrating and how hard. There are times when I take great pleasure in threading his noodly arms and legs in and out of little outfits because I love the feel of his skin and the wide-awake expression he gets, there are other times when doing so makes me feel mired on some dreary treadmill, irritated with him for spitting up on another clean onesie, flattened by the never-ending loads of laundry.

His charming qualities include briskly marching his legs up and down and waving his arms when he’s in that precarious awake-and-kind-of-hungry-but-not-yet-starving state, making sleepy contented “eh, eh, eh” sounds during a good feeding, sighing like a tired puppy when he’s falling asleep in my arms. He’s started making a noise that is not a cry, sort of a staccato call-for-attention that sounds like a cat’s meow. The tiny suctioning noises he makes with his pacifier tickle the insides of my ears and make me yawn and stretch.

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I thought I’d be better at things this time around and in some ways I am, but oh, it is a humbling task to become someone’s mother. I sometimes don’t know if I’m worthy of it, this massive honor and burden and joy, but here I am. Here we are.

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Comments

59 Responses to “Still (one month and counting)”

  1. Emily on March 12th, 2008 8:54 am

    The two of you are beautiful. And if it makes you feel any better — your arms look way toned, dude. Newborn-lifting totally agrees with your physique.

  2. Eric's Mommy on March 12th, 2008 8:55 am

    So sweet.

    The pictures are adorable and you look great!

  3. stephanie brown on March 12th, 2008 8:58 am

    I love your honesty, I love how capable you are of expressing both sides of motherhood. Your boys are so lucky to have you for their mom. Not because you are perfect, but because you try to be the best mom you can be, even in the midst of a terrible day.
    And my goodness is that kid so cute! I love that they don’t look much alike :)

  4. Swistle on March 12th, 2008 9:02 am

    I HEAR YOU.

  5. wordygirl on March 12th, 2008 9:05 am

    This is beautiful. All the more so because you let the ugliness all hang out. I love it. Thanks for sharing the Truthiness of motherhood!

  6. MEP on March 12th, 2008 9:05 am

    He looks just like JB.

  7. stan on March 12th, 2008 9:07 am

    Photos are great. Like the ducks you’re managing to keep things looking well on the surface despite all the furious paddling going on underneath. Hope things improve soon.

  8. Lisa on March 12th, 2008 9:11 am

    You just described my life with child #3. The only difference being that I nursed him and oh what a pain in the ass he was! I finally said enough about 6 weeks in, figuring that I gave him a good start with breast milk and that formula would be just as good from there on out. His cranky ass feeding symptoms lessened slightly by being bottle fed but did not go away…until about 2 months ago. (He’s 9 months old today!) At his 6 month check-up I was told that he probably had a slight case of reflux but not enough to be treated with meds. Could be the case with your wee-one?

    Who knows – but either way – hang in there. I always have to remind myself that the first year is the hardest. If we can get through that, things will become progressively better. Just remember that you’re in good company with these little PITA babies that we love with all our hearts and despise all at the same time!

  9. jen on March 12th, 2008 9:13 am

    i love that you can write what is on every moms mind but she fears saying. i’m the babysitter who doesn’t fear being bold. haha. keep on hanging in there. i cant believe its already been a month!

  10. kirsten on March 12th, 2008 9:15 am

    Oh that was so sweet – you just made me want to meet my baby like RIGHT NOW!

  11. Jessamyn on March 12th, 2008 9:27 am

    You know, it’s funny. I know a lot of what you’re talking about is not GOOD stuff, really. And yet, maybe because it is so real, and so much what I’m expecting and what I remember – it comforts me about the arrival of my own second child. I’m overjoyed for you and I sympathize at the same time.

  12. Kim on March 12th, 2008 9:27 am

    When my 2nd was born I couldn’t believe how unrelenting it was (they’re 18 months apart), and spent many days in tears thinking I’d made a horrible mistake.

    It gets better, it took about 2 months for me, we’re all different though, just want you to know you’re not alone. They’re 3 1/2 & 2 now and much easier.

    Kim

  13. Carrie on March 12th, 2008 9:47 am

    Adorable, funny, and honest. That’s why you are so adored. With me, anyways. I couldn’t help put click on the pigtail picture over there on the sidebar. I saw that it went to Sweetney’s unvarnished group. I am so proud of you. First of all, it is the most adorable picture. And, I said yes and joined but have been unable to take the picture for 3 days now. I am so very varnished. More varnished that a person should be varnished. You inspired me though so I am going to be brave and take the photo, and learn to like it. Mwah!

  14. Sarah Lena on March 12th, 2008 9:51 am

    Checkin’ in with the same comment I always feel compelled to give you: thank you so much for your honesty, and yes, it gets better in some ways but then truly sucks in others, and ohmygod, why was no one ever honest about the bad parts BEFORE I had the baby? He’s just beautiful, hon. So are you.

  15. victoria on March 12th, 2008 10:01 am

    I always love your funny, honest writing. I wish I could spell you for a few hours every day so that you could exercise, or visit a salon, or hang out with your girlfriends, or just read a freaking book.

  16. Lauren on March 12th, 2008 10:05 am

    I am so glad that I found your website, Linda. Your honest writing speaks to me on a level I can’t express in words.

    I was not very good at being a parent to my newborn. She was attached to my chest 24/7, cried all the time and I pretty much did the same. It is unbelievably difficult to take care of a baby, and I think it is something you can’t understand until you do it yourself.

    You are doing a wonderful job, with just the right amount of grace, humor and love.

  17. Gaby on March 12th, 2008 10:19 am

    I don’t have any children yet, but I appreciate your honest writing so very much, Linda. I’m a realist (perhaps to a fault), and I always questioned those that claim that motherhood is nothing but toothless grins and sunshine. I am entirely grateful to read your experiences and to know that when I inevitably face similar frustrations, I can turn to your writing for support. Thank you for writing.

  18. Christina on March 12th, 2008 10:24 am

    Nearly every post I have read of yours since Dylan arrived I fell like I wasnt very honest with my own blog and readers. Im thinking hard about why that is.. what is it that makes Moms keep the reality to themselfs, why we dont say dear god this sucks, or how you love this tiny thing more than life but you find yourself squeezing him tighter and harder at 3 am because if he doesnt sleep soon one of us is going to get hurt. I should have been more truthful about what sleep deprivation is really like, even when you are madly in love. Throw in the hormones and the body parts that are flapping in the wind and your a beautiful wreck, Thanks again, Linda.

  19. kalisah on March 12th, 2008 10:53 am

    I say you’re doing a helluva job.

  20. Kristin on March 12th, 2008 10:58 am

    I’ve been reading for a while, but had to chime in today. Your little one reminds me so much of mine. My older son was as easy-going as they come, but once baby #2 came around, it was like a roller coaster… feeding issues, hated the car seat, had to be held at ALL TIMES, sleep troubles (aka torture – held him until he screamed himself to sleep), wouldn’t take a pacifier, gas, gas, gas, constipation, and feeding issues ruled it all. He was a month early, so I tend to attribute it all to that, but the good news is… he is 16 mos old and we are as happy as can be (and have been for a while).

    I completely understand the frustration that you are going through — and the whole ‘trying to figure him out’, awful and disheartening every day. but, in the end, the beautiful blue eyes and adorable little face got me through. oh, and drugs — not the ‘bad’ kind, and for him, not for me. ;) He had GI issues, reflux and all that — once we got him on something to help his GI system move along, he stopped screaming in the car and was able to sleep and poop better. The feeding took a while, he just had a hard time. Speech therapy helped both of us! And now he is just as perfect as can be.

  21. Julie on March 12th, 2008 11:02 am

    I truly enjoy the way you’re able to articulate what you’re feeling and thinking. Dylan’s sweet face has really filled out and you look GREAT!

  22. Christina on March 12th, 2008 11:19 am

    good and bad… that is what parenting is all about is what I am seeing more and more day by day (as we deal with toddler uproar in our house…) I like the thought that I am not the only one out there going through this – there is always someone somewhere who feels the same way you do!

  23. Rachel on March 12th, 2008 11:22 am

    I don’t even remember how I got directed to your site, but I’m so glad I’ve found it. I have a three year old boy and am expecting #2 in October, so I’m drinking up your words like I would cheap beer were it not on the no-no list right now. Rock on with your honesty!

  24. Kate on March 12th, 2008 11:40 am

    Thank you Linda for sharing this. I appreciate your honesty and your strength.
    Not having children, I can’t speak to how hard it must really be but I can relate to the overwhelming sense of responsibility for a being that relies on you. There is something wonderful and awful in that. I guess you just ride it out and hope, when looking back, that the good outweighs the bad.

  25. Jennifer on March 12th, 2008 11:51 am

    You are totally worthy and those little boys are damn lucky to you have for their mama. Hang in there!

    Heart!

  26. sara on March 12th, 2008 12:25 pm

    Wow, you just took my heart. :*( You are perfect, you really are. Good mommy you.

  27. Nancy on March 12th, 2008 12:57 pm

    You rock, Linda — loving, honest, awesome!

    Here’s my unsolicited assvice: You might go back to the pedi (or find another one who listens to you) to help resolve Dylan’s issues with feeding/digestion. He might be sensitive to something you’re eating (dairy?) or the formula he eats. There has to be a better solution, doesn’t there?? You’re handling all this like a champ, but man oh man, is that kid stretching all reasonable limits of mama patience. You’re doing wonderfully despite it all!

  28. Elizabeth on March 12th, 2008 1:01 pm

    Oh, you made me cry. You really just put it perfectly – how incredibly hard it is, and yet. How some moments are just the most amazing.

  29. Melissa on March 12th, 2008 1:07 pm

    You are doing great, Momma. Thank you for your honest entries…I hope they relieve some of the stress. Keep it up the good work!

  30. Allie on March 12th, 2008 1:19 pm

    Years from now Dylan might come across this and read it and get to that last picture and be able to say, “Hey I might have been a pain in the ass but my Momma LOVES me.” You look so in love with him and this really is a beautiful post.

  31. Lori on March 12th, 2008 1:52 pm

    That just totally made me cry. (In a good way.)

  32. the goddess anna on March 12th, 2008 2:07 pm

    I wish I had met (or at least read) someone like you when I had my twins. The fact that I didn’t enjoy every nanosecond of my boys was looked on as wrong, shameful, even by my social worker. I slipped into deep, horrible depression, and it wasn’t until I realized it’s okay to hate aspects of parenting that I started to come out of it (it was more work than that, but it was important).

    I take what you’ve been writing into consideration when thinking about trying for a fourth. I’m afraid to be depressed again, even more than having twins again, but by writing what you’re really feeling (warts and all), it makes me feel that I can do it. Well, that, and your gorgeous baby is driving my ovaries insane with envy! : )

    Thank you! (((hugs for you)))

  33. Rumblelizard on March 12th, 2008 2:16 pm
  34. Sleepynita on March 12th, 2008 2:19 pm

    Must be something to do with the name Emmett – I had the exact same first month with my Emmett and it drove me bananas, filled me with doubt and left me in complete awe at the same time.

  35. Ally on March 12th, 2008 2:19 pm

    My little one is just a week younger than yours, so I can really relate. I remember it gets better, though. Thanks for capturing all the good while acknowledging the hard work.

    Just a thought…could Dylan have thrush?

  36. Naomi in Oz on March 12th, 2008 3:10 pm

    Just as in interesting sideline, according to the Dunstan Baby Language, http://www.dunstanbaby.com “eh” means “burp me”. There is a rather amateur and crappy video of her on Oprah at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8512755315956709496 but I was at a parenting conference last year where she was the guest speaker. 500 babies in the room and nearly all of them wree quiet by the end of the session. Good luck

  37. Danielle on March 12th, 2008 4:04 pm

    you poor thing. i appreciate your honesty. I know it has to be hard, frustrating, and not-so-rewarding, but I know you know it will get better. Btw, i love the picture of your dog-total sweetheart!

  38. Kelly on March 12th, 2008 4:08 pm

    Ah… Bless your heart. :) My son did nothing but fuss 24/7 for the first 3 months. Ah… the memories, the never ending cycle of trying to figure out what the heck was “wrong” with him and the constant feeling that it must be somthing wrong with ME and also wondering how in the world the human race has survived since babies were so hard! People would say… Oh, cherish him when he is this little because it goes by so quick and I was like.. Yeah right! everyday feels like a 100 years long! But ya know what? I think some babies are just downright fussy no matter what you do and it’s gonna last about 3 months no matter what you do so don’t beat yourself up, just think… You are over a 1/3 of the way there! :)

  39. Josh on March 12th, 2008 4:10 pm

    You know, this is the first time in my life I have looked forward to one day being a parent. (not this post, I mean recently in general, although this post was just fine) Don’t get me wrong, it still scares the living shit out of me in an I-can’t-possibly-handle-that-crap sort of way. But I think one day everything will be ready, and I’ll get thrown into it, and I don’t think I’ll fail at parenthood. I barely sleep anyway, and I know all sorts of jokes children under five would find hilarious. Plus I have a basic mastery of numbers and letters, which will come in handy in preschool, or whatever grade kids learn that shit. And I know how to use a toilet, which is I skill I hear you need eventually.

    My lady tells me if there’s a fair and just God, she’ll give me twin Bart Simpsons the first time around. Whatever the case, rest easy knowing you are probably handling things better than I will. As stressed as you are, just know there are people out there much more stressed with children much worse than yours. And even if it’s a cranky little thing, at least you didn’t get an ugly baby.

  40. Jezebel on March 12th, 2008 4:26 pm

    You’re lovely, and doing a lovely job.

    Not to be all, “let’s diagnose Dylan because he’s really probably just being baby (aka pain in the tuckus),” but has anyone in your family ever had ciliac disease? A friend of mine had a baby who had some of Dylan’s issues, and it was discovered that he had ciliac’s, and just needed to switch up his diet.

  41. wealhtheow on March 12th, 2008 5:08 pm

    Assvice to follow: This is EXACTLY what my Sam was like before we put him on meds for reflux. It was like flipping a switch when we started him on Zantac–we felt like we were finally meeting our son.

    Also, Dylan is adorable.

  42. Victoria on March 12th, 2008 5:17 pm

    A month already? How did that happen!!!!

  43. Kate on March 12th, 2008 5:52 pm

    This is so beautiful and I love the pictures of the two of you. Very sweet.

  44. superblondgirl on March 12th, 2008 5:59 pm

    That was so beautiful – I love how you tell it like it really is without all the sugarcoating so many moms do.

    I also wanted to say that I am seeing Suspicion in Dylan’s brow. Just mentioning, you know, in case you want to prepare.

  45. Joanne on March 12th, 2008 6:03 pm

    Sister, mine was two months yesterday and I’m here to tell you it gets better. Freaking baby steps it takes, but it does get better. Hang in there, he is beautiful and so are you all.

  46. clarabella on March 12th, 2008 6:04 pm

    I think I kinda want to nom-nom-nom on Dylan’s perfectly round little head, maybe starting with his dimple. Gah! Not helping my baby-fever (the pictures, that is; the content, um, yeah . . .).

  47. mixette on March 12th, 2008 6:20 pm

    It’ll be really interesting when you come back and read about this time a few years from now. And with everything else going on, you’re doing a beautiful job of documenting all of it.

    I’d totally come over and do laundry if I lived near you!

  48. Sara Moon on March 12th, 2008 7:12 pm

    Oh, Linda, I just love your writing. I was laughing out loud at your descriptions, while feeling your pain simultaneously. We’re all right there with you, supporting you from afar, feeling like we know you.
    Thanks so much for your writing.

  49. SJ on March 12th, 2008 7:46 pm

    Amazingly put Linda, amazingly put.

    My second born son was the same exact way as you’ve described Dylan and boy was it ever frustrating and tough. You are doing a wonderful job, and those photos – absolutely precious.

  50. Nicki on March 12th, 2008 9:04 pm

    You have beautiful little ones, which probably keeps them alive. *grin* Seriously, all 3 of my boys were world champion barfers with absolutely no rhyme nor reason, apparently they just felt like sharing. The oldest barfed the most quantity; the youngest barfed the most times. Sigh. Actually, come to think of it, he also took the longest to quit, darn near 9 months in. It does get better, for the most part, when they are older with regard to all of the overwhelming feelings of not doing it right, etc. If it makes you feel any better (which it probably doesn’t during a particularly hellacious day, I am sure) mine are 15, 5, and 1 and I still have many days where I feel like I am absolutely sucking at the whole motherhood thing and contemplating running away from home. They have great survival instinct, though, and one or all of them will do something wonderful at that point to ensure that I still love them. Sorry, the point of my book here was to say that you are completely normal in your feelings and I think you are a great mother to two very lucky little boys. Also, if the barfing worries you, haunt the pediatrician’s office until you feel comfortable that everything is normal.

  51. sweetcheese on March 12th, 2008 10:36 pm

    What a beautiful post! But in a gritty, mind-scraping, not fluffy bunny sort of way. Thank you for sharing the not-so-great along with the amazing. It makes my future motherhood seem more real. (And gives me plenty of warning!)
    -Tanya

  52. emily on March 13th, 2008 6:13 am

    You’re awesome!

  53. Andrea on March 13th, 2008 6:52 am

    You describe it all so perfectly, from the squeaks and farts and sounds and body movements to the juggling act of caring for a newborn while not forgetting about the toddler. I’m totally bogarting the word “blort” if you don’t mind. (Well, that sounds kind of like asking, so I guess it’s not really bogarting.)

    He’s adorable. Riley’s adorable. Thank you for sharing all this.

  54. Clueless But Hopeful Mama on March 13th, 2008 8:16 am

    As always, I just have to say: Thanks for this beautiful, honest post. You say it better than anyone else around.

  55. In the Trenches of Mommyhood on March 13th, 2008 8:30 am

    Lookit those feet of his!

    My secret: (shhhhhush)All 3 of my boyz were belly sleepers. At 2 weeks. They had great neck control and could lift their heads. There was no arm flailing to wake them and they just seemed so much more cozy.

  56. Leticia on March 13th, 2008 10:06 am

    You are so sweet for sharing all of this. Hang in there.

  57. Kay on March 13th, 2008 2:02 pm

    It does get better, then you will have an inevitably bad day and then you will get up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.
    Then one morning? You will wake up, and they are grown (or in my case,,,sob and GONE) And you will snuggle back down in bed, turn the alarm clock off and when you wake up, you will get on your computer and go read about someone that has two little ones and are frustrated and tired, and you will smile with understanding and even sigh with mixed emotion.

    Like I just did.

  58. MizzM on March 13th, 2008 10:39 pm

    Your new kid has freakishly-elongated feet, complete with elongated toes. You’re all impressed with him because you just KNOW he’s going to be an Olympic Gold Medalist Swimmer who is featured on a Wheaties Box, despite the Media’s insistence that he won his medals because of steroid use. You will confidently be able to pull out these pictures of his “highly-functional Flippers” from way back in 2008 to prove them wrong…

    HEH!

    It is good to be needed. Enjoy it while you can (even if it sucks sometimes to be so NEEDED…)

  59. Melissa on March 14th, 2008 4:51 am

    He is adorable!
    He sounds just like my son when he was newborn-the frustrating feedings, thrashing, throwing up, kicking, face red, and unbelievable amounts of gas. After trying 8 different formulas, he was a completely different baby with the soy formula. When he was able to drink milk at age 1, he was fine. Then 3 years later, I had my daughter and I immmediately put her on the soy formula-there was no way in hell I was going thru that again!! Have you tried different formulas? When you describe Dylan, I would swear you were talking about my son. Good Luck and hang in there.

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