Thursday, July 1, 2021

Five Months: Just in the Moment

Our Zoe is five months old.  It's hit me that I only have one more month left to be with her 24/7 before I go back to work.  I have spent a lot of the past five months ranting about how much of an adjustment it has been, becoming her mom.  I have spent a lot of time feeling tired, rushed, and overwhelmed.  I have complained and acted ungrateful.  But through all of the unpredictable hours of the day and the enormous feelings of not being enough, I have beheld such beauty, such inspiration, and such connection, unlike anything I've ever felt.  I still live for every one of those sweet everyday moments, like when Zoe plays peacefully on the floor while I sip my tea, when Zoe looks up at waving leaves in sheer wonder, when Zoe discovers a new way to move her body, when Zoe locks eyes with us.  I have to thank her for slowing me down, for teaching me to appreciate life for the sake of being alive.  There are still times aplenty when I just am impatient for a hard moment to pass, but seeing Zoe grow so rapidly, watching how nothing seems to bother her innocent mind, and knowing that I've only got limited time to be always with her before I go back to work helps me to snap back into the present.  

Zoe has been smiling a lot this month.  Recently, there was a moment when I was so pissed that she did not fall asleep after almost half an hour of rocking.  I laid her back down with a huff, and she just looked up at me and smiled her innocent, cheeky smile.  It wrenched me back to the reality of how special this time is.  Some of my favorite moments with her have been the ones where we are just lying down looking at each other, or when I prop her facing me on the Boppy pillow for a little dialogue after she eats, or when I hold her in my arms and we look at our reflection in the mirror together.  I do find myself trying to fill our time with books, music, tummy time, walks, and toys, but I think this next month I will be spending more time lounging with her face pressed up to mine, with no other objects in sight.  I will not be focusing on naps or sleep or rolling or sitting.  I've been up and down the rollercoaster of caring and not caring about trying to get her to nap "properly" because her naps have all been so short.  I'm going to just ride the wave this month, now that I've built something like a bare bones foundation there.  It's honestly only a big deal when I compare her to other babies who sleep longer and give their mamas a break.  But maybe starting now, I can see her short naps as a blessing in disguise—it means that I get to spend more time interacting with my baby.  When I head back to work next month, I would do anything for just another hour together, so if that nap never hits sixty minutes, I'll still count it as a win. 

Also, I've been talking about getting her on a bottle since she was three weeks old, but no matter how hard we tried, Zoe refused to have anything but my nipple in her mouth. There were countless nights of waking up every two hours to feed her insatiable appetite. Now that she's almost sleeping through the nights and just about putting anything and everything that she can get her hands on into her mouth, she's finally showing some potential with using a bottle for milk. While I was celebrating, I was surprised by pangs of sadness. It hit me that she would not need me in that way anymore. And that is both the beautiful and heartbreaking part of motherhood—they grow more and more independent every day. There was another day where I was just watching her play on the floor, and I guess that heartfelt Classical background music didn't help either, because I suddenly felt all of those sappy newborn feels again. She has already come so far from those days of total dependency, and she doesn't know it yet, but she will not be accessing me as much anymore. She can't understand it (or maybe she can), but I was crying tears all over the top of her head yet again. Her grandma will be here to watch her, but I've already started to put together a spreadsheet of daycares nearby in case we need to use them. I went about it in a businesslike fashion, not allowing my brain to get emotional. There won't be time to do this later when I go back to my job, so I'm just getting ahead, it's not real yet. But just the fact that we have initiated this process is a sign of what's imminent—Zoe's going to grow up and leave this house on her own. It's too much for my heart to handle!

Though I have been craving some separation and a "break" by returning to work, I still feel completely honored and blessed to be Zoe’s mom, and the identity is starting to suit me more and more. I don’t know if it’ll get any easier, but I think the harder it is, the more humbled I am as a human, the more empathetic I can be to other moms, the more appreciative I am of the easygoing times. Zoe, thank you for choosing me, trusting me, and believing in me.

Some things that Zoe has been up to this month are: 
  • Visiting my childhood home for the first time
  • Celebrating her first Dragon Boat Festival by playing with a zong zi 
  • Hair is falling down slowly but surely (we already miss her shark fin)
  • Saying new sounds, including t-, th-, d-, p- (lots of spit bubbles)
  • Rubbing her eyes like an adult (all of that wrist movement!)
  • Transitioning out of the swaddle for good
  • Riding in the stroller forward-facing
  • Overcoming the sleep regression
  • Meeting neighbors without masks 
  • Showing a little bit of stranger danger
  • Picking toys up off the ground around her
  • Putting whatever she can get her hands on into her mouth
  • Experiencing hot weather for the first time (we don't get out on walks as much anymore, but she's lucky to have a yard with shade!)
  • Reaching, grabbing, and sucking on toys while lying on her belly
  • So many smiles for Mommy and Daddy all day
  • Big giant poo-poo's (why does she hold it in for a whole week?)
  • Healing quickly from an accidental fall (Mommy's fault)
  • Starting to sit with support
  • Belly button is officially no longer an outie

1 comment:

  1. I'm going to just ride the wave this month... yayyay 我要乘風破浪!