Declan hasn’t been sleeping well because of some gnarly teething and a wicked bad bug, and I’ve been sick, too, so nights have been a little rough. A little reminiscent, in fact, of those early weeks and months when a four hour stretch of sleep was considered luxurious. I wrote down a few observations of those early months and figured it would interesting to revisit them.

WEEK 1:
Sitting in a rocking chair, holding a sleeping baby in my left arm, rubbing the dog with my left foot, and trying to eat folded up, leftover pizza with my right hand, hoping not to drop hot cheese or toppings onto Declan’s head.

Doing essentially the same thing, only the going-to-the-bathroom version.

Walking around the house in circles, humming Beatles songs, being shocked as he stopped crying and just stared at me.

Laughing in bed with Colleen at 3 a.m. as she nursed and I read a new parent’s question from What to Expect When You’re Expecting about ugly babies with droopy eyes, pointy heads, and bent ear flaps.

Getting emotional after Declan’s first pediatrician appointment after learning his bilirubin levels were high and he was at risk of jaundice. It might have been the sleep deprivation. Yeah, let’s go with that.

WEEK 2:

Milk drunk. The stoned look Deck got after feeding, sometimes involving milk running down his chin.

The sleep sack being a savior. Until it wasn’t.

Saying the following: “I’m glad I don’t poop on my balls. Because it’s basically impossible to get off.”

First night with Declan in his bed and us alone in ours. It felt almost naughty…just to lie there and cuddle. It lasted exactly an hour and a half.

Car seat as sleep inducement.

Colleen putting in earplugs to deal with the screaming.

WEEK 3

Returning to work…and a whole new level of exhaustion.

Excruciating pain and frustration associated with breastfeeding. Feeling helpless.

My job as the “pit crew,” filling up tea, getting burp clothes, changing diapers.

Declan’s bicycle kicking on the changing pad. Spazz hands!

WEEK 4

Spit up. Lots of spit up.

A night of 5 straight hours of sleep. The overconfidence that followed.

Declan kicking his way out of the sleep sack.

The alien boy finally tracking me with his eyes.

Trying to give Colleen a sip from a water bottle as she fed Declan at 3 a.m. Tipping the bottle too high and accidentally pouring the frigid water over both of them. She laughed. He cried.

Pictures from those months seem surreal now. Most of the challenges from that time have been replaced with new ones. Looking back is a reminder of the impermanence of everything. Every night, I’m going home to a different house, a different child. And I’m different, too.

I don’t want to time travel back to those early months except maybe as a fly on the wall. But it’s all part of the fabric of whatever it is we are as a family and whatever it is we are becoming. Removed by time, but not exactly separate. A ripped page from, hopefully, a very long book.

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