I suppose I should consider myself among the fortunate few (in this country) who have been able to avoid returning to work full time until you’re 19 weeks old. You’re solidly into your fourth month, and you’re strong (and sometimes strong-willed), healthy and generally jubilantly happy. You eat hardily from both bottle and breast. You laugh and smile easily, making us melt into giant parent-shaped puddles every time you do. You sleep soundly (and, praise the lord and everything else holy, through the night since you were just a month old). So far, I think, I’ve done a decent job at mom-ing you. Sure, there are things I’d do differently and, I’m sure, better were I to do it all again, but I’ve kept you alive and thriving.
So turning over the reins this week to your Daddy, who is now taking paternity leave to be home with you part time (your Nonna and Mimi are providing care the remaining days), should be a cause for celebration. But I can’t help but feel that something’s being taken away from me, that I’ll inevitably miss out on key moments in your life that I should be there for. It’s something I’ll have to adjust to–and I’ve already begun brainstorming options that will allow me to spend more time with you once you start daycare in April. More on that once I run them by my bosses; I’m hopeful they’ll be as flexible as they have been with me up to this point. (And they really have been amazing; they both adore you, by the way.)
On Tuesday, your first full day home with Daddy, we woke up under a crisp, very cold blanket of snow. I got out to Southwestern Boulevard, skidding and fishtailing at every stop, before deciding to turn around and work from home. So Daddy wasn’t alone with you on Day One of paternity leave. It’s a good thing, too, as you were unusually fussy all day–so fussy that I called the pediatrician to ensure it might not be an ear infection. It was not, of course; it was digestive, which is usually the cause of your fussiness. As I have long suffered from digestive delicateness, I can completely commiserate with you, and I feel terrible because there’s not much we can do about it. We plied you with gripe water and gas drops, and Daddy worked so hard at distracting you. He was exhausted by the end of the day.
You very graciously stopped fussing long enough for us to bundle you, A Christmas Story-like, in your luxuriously warm snowsuit from Nonna (the one that matches Daddy’s and my new coats, also from Nonna) and stick you in the snow for some pictures. (It was your first major snowstorm, so it had to be documented.) Daddy even propped you up in the laundry basket like Mimi did with him when he was a baby. You tolerated it beautifully, especially given your tummy issues.
On Wednesday, when I went back to work, you and Daddy had a fantastic day. You were back to your usual cheerful self, but because it was so cold (winter has come!), you had to stay inside to play. When I got home in the evening and you spotted me coming in the door, your smiles could have lit up the darkest hours of the night. You seemed overjoyed and you actually reached for me (a first!), and all of a sudden, all of my concerns about not being with you vanished. You won’t forget who I am. You won’t not want to be with me or give up on me. And while I may miss an absolute first, I’ll get to witness those early milestones as soon as I’m home. (And like I said, I’ve been scheming about ensuring we have more time together.)
And I’m hopeful that our time together will be happy (and less fussy) now that we’ve figured out that we must keep you on soy formula. At your four-month pediatrician appointment last week, your doctor encouraged us to try weaning you back onto milk-based formula, so we started mixing in one part Gentlease to three parts Prosobee. On the fourth day (Daddy’s first day at home with you), it all fell apart. You were gassy and constipated and in so much pain. We actually thought you might be suffering from Grunting Baby Syndrome. So we cut out the Gentlease immediately, and you seem to be doing so much better. We suspect you may have a very sensitive GI tract and perhaps some reflux. But what we know is that you tolerate Prosobee well, and other formulas cause you problems. So Prosobee it is, at least for the foreseeable future. Soon (although not too soon), we’ll be introducing solids (although we haven’t quite settled yet on a method), and maybe that will be the turning point for you. Here’s to hoping!