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.
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.
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.