By the time Judah was four months old I had come to my breaking point with exhaustion/going back to work and so we finally sleep trained him to sleep all night in his crib in his room. We trained Layla at 3 months and never looked back.
Between months four (with Judah) and five (with Layla), my milk supply was on its way out (due to night sleeping + long workdays away from them) and I wasn't terribly upset to be done with it and independent of a little human needing my body constantly (and I was excited to lose the nursing weight).
Last night Noa was asleep in her real crib, and before Jesse and I turned in, I asked him if we should just let her stay in the other room rather than bringing her into her mini bassinet next to me, where she has been her entire life. At the exact same time we were both like, "no way."
It feels like I've been breastfeeding her for maybe a week, and if you told me I had to wean anytime soon, I might jump off a bridge. She has never had a particle of formula (both my other kids had had plenty at this point!), and she is awful at bottles (J and L were pros) because I am simply too stingy with her!
My body is beyond weird; it's softer and bigger than ever before, but the temptation to wean (which usually drops 10-15 lbs off me with no effort) to lose some weight is nonexistent.
Because I cannot let this baby go.
She is magical and I am finally the mom who can just drown in the babydom. Judah and Layla were truly excellent and very easy babies, but somehow this one is completely different.
With them every milestone was greeted with a "finally!" but with her it's, "already?!?"
If I could rewind back to October 6th and relive these 4 months, I would do it instantly: nipples so sore I would cry, sleeping 2 hours at a time, postpartum crotch nightmare...all of it again, just to get more of her babyness all over again.
Is this what nice, loving, naturally maternal women feel like from the get-go? How do you ever get anything done?!?! The love is too much!
Maybe it's the thought that this could very well be my last baby. So with every ounce Noa grows I'm thinking, "is this baby in my arms the smallest of my babies I'll ever hold from here on?"
GOOD GRIEF! How does any mom stop having babies, ever?!?! Because knowing I could be saying goodbye to that possibility of a tinier one--FOREVER? I'm tearing up just thinking about it.
Don't get me wrong, it's hard and mind-numbing and stressful and I could happily take 20 years off before wanting to go through another pregnancy if mother nature wasn't so strict, but to decide to permanently close that woman who grows babies chapter is too emotional for me to really swallow.
Is this what the rest of grown up life is like? Sad and final goodbyes to stages and seasons? 32 NO WONDER every mother of older kids constantly tells me "enjoy this; it goes by so fast."
I've spent literally my entire life planning ahead for new adventures: get my license, graduate, go to college, get married, get a job, have kids, have more kids. This is really the first time I've come up against a "this may be my last...." situation where a door could be permanently closing.
14 week old Noa next to hours-old Grady. Seriously, I have a older model of baby!!! They become obsolete (in terms of teensy) so fast.
So instead of dreading that this may be the last of something, or trying to figure out a way where our life makes any kind of financial/spatial/mental-health sense with even MORE kids, I have decided to just for once listen to my elders and just BE HERE. To enjoy it while it lasts (even if it isn't really the last).
And man does this baby make being right here fun. She is so utterly captivating that she brings me up short about 10 times a day, and my one foot in front of the other, just passing the hours mentality jerks to a halt, and I'm just diving down into the moment of her smile, her sleeping face, her perfect little hands while she is eating (aaaaaand now I'm leaking).
knuckle hair is love
She's just so totally who she is, and man is she perfect for us, and how did we ever go without this tiny little girly-sister?!
And with no poetic syntax or transition, here come a bunch of not extremely well-edited or lit photos and some factoids for posterity. (I always feel like no one cares about these MYBABYMYBABYMYBABY posts, and I hesitate to do them, but I love readings other peoples' baby updates and simply have to record these moments somewhere or I will forget them utterly).
I now work from home on Mondays and Wednesdays (in comparison to just Mondays when J & L were babies) and am with Noa all those days.
Noa does not go to 4-hour preschool at all the way the bigs did all 5 days from the time they were 3 months on (because our beloved school had to stop doing baby classes!).
On Fridays Jesse is off so he is with her and brings her to me for one feeding and I pump for one (versus pumping 3 times in a row Tuesday through Friday with the other two).
Tuesdays and Thursdays God decided to be insane and give us the most wonderful homeschooling family who watches Noa from 9-4 who lives so close to my work that I am able to feed her once and pump just once on those days too.
Nursing visit at the office! Lucky mama.
*That was probably confusing but I wanted it written down so I dont forget how we managed this!
The most I ever have to pump now is one session at a time--always preceded and followed by nursing her directly. I am a terrible pumper and just do not produce well when I am away from my baby for more than one meal. When I have the baby with me, I am lactationally abundant, so this new schedule has me brimming with milk AND confidence that we will make it farther than ever before.
The smiley-while-eating phase is beyond adorable, and spills so much milk from that gaping grin! (I can't make this pc not-green for some reason).
Despite all our efforts, Noa resists the paci! She will absolutely not take it from me, and only selectively from Jesse. The nanny-fam, the Denny's, have better luck with this than we do, but it's nowhere near the silver bullet of peace that it was for Layla.
She's not totally impressed.
Noa also is not swaddle-dependent like the other two were. I was losing my mind the first few months because she would not nap unless in her carseat or on me. She would do great at night in her rocking sleeper bassinet thing, but naps were awful.
Right now she sleeps about 11 or midnight to 7 am. About 50% of the time she wakes up for a 3/4am feeding and the rest of the time she goes straight through. She might not even need the meal, but I am on autopilot in that as soon as I hear noise, I am zombie grabbing her in my sleep and shoving a boob in her mouth. She'd probably just go back to sleep in her own room, but I dont mind because I know it is keeping my supply up, and --super strange--I am just not exhausted at all with this baby and genuinely enjoy seeing her in the middle of the night.
I don't even know who I am anymore.
I finally did away with the swaddle and let her sleep on her side and/or belly for naps--always with me in the same room. I realize this makes me a naughty SIDS rule breaker and it terrified me at first but since Jesse or I was always present, we went ahead with it because it changed everything. We are now at the point where she can flip over anyway (using her head to propel her over...with a raging bald spot to prove it) in addition to being supervised when she's not on her back. She is weirdly content on her back at night still.
Her star blanket and other bamboo ones like it are her everything. she will lie for an hour just cuddling, chewing on and hiding herself under these soft-as-liquid dream boats.
Jesse disagrees, but I think Noa is in the middle between Judah McSerious and Layla SmilerPants (he thinks Noa is most smiley). She does NOT mind giving you a blank stare while you act like a fool to try to make her laugh, but she also breaks into smiles for giant portions of the day as well. Her face looks like it is cracking open wide the way her adorable smile transforms it completely. She has two tiny dimples very close to the corners of her mouth whose appearance we live for.
She laughs a lot and it is just hit and miss to what gets her going, and--just like the smile--it kinda comes out of nowhere-from zero to sixty facially!
She has started cooing and babble/squeaking a TON! Every morning I wake up thinking a tiny puppy is loose in our room when it's just her in her bed happily chirruping away. She also growl/yells in an alarming way that seems like she angry, but apparently is not? Yeah.
She may be teething already. She is pretty drooly and loves chewing on her fists. recently she started sticking her index/middle fingers in and chewing on them (NOT SUCKING...I will resist finger/thumb sucking for life!). It's getting hard to grab pictures of her without her hands in her mouth.
Tools of the teething trade. Bib and Sophie the giraffe! (Hippie amber necklace coming soon once I can coax it off Layla, who has been wearing it for 4 years). Neither is as effective as her hands.
Her favorite things are: riding in the car, taking baths, looking at any iPhone screen anywhere all the time (oh, brother...), being worn. She hates shots more than any child of mine so far and FREAKED out after her first round of vaccines (I think because I didn't rub her legs afterward and she got super sore).
Being worn by Godmommy Stephie at Girls Group! Cue ovulation from the DINK girly!
Bath time is happy time.
Noa blows out every single poop no matter what size diaper it is. She poops almost exclusively sitting up while in her carseat or while being burped (I'm considering putting her on the toilet) and I think the poop has nowhere to go in this position but up the back or out the side. Many of her outfits have a permanent poop stain in the tramp-stamp vicinity. I don't mind a bit because I seriously love the smell of breastmilk poop. (She did have one most epic of blowouts while we were on vacation in Florida that deserves it's own tribute).
She is a chunky monkey with a sweet belly and yummy rolls like her sister had, but who never got baby acne (like her sister VERRRRRRY much did. yikes). She is super chill and have infinite patience--until she just doesn't. There is happy and there is enraged, with not much fussy-warning stage in between.
speaking of Layla vs Noa at 4 months. (Jesse is an undiagnosed jaundice survivor?)
Her siblings are still beyond obsessed with her and our main parenting task is keeping Layla from hurting her while trying to give her love.
One day Noa will annoy her...that's what little siblings do. But that's really hard to believe since Layla is pretty much Noa's full time stalker right now.
Judah is the gentle papa already and rushes to her at the first sign of distress to rock her, kiss her and say, "it's okay, it's okay." If things escalate he goes, "Okay! It is NOT okay anymore!"
I posted this on Instagram and it's just one in a hundred of these moments:
caption: I told Judah to buckle up while I got Layla from her teacher at carpool line today, and was frustrated when I turned back and he wasn't yet buckled and asked why and what has he been doing? He said, "I tried to buckle, but the love power was so strong it pulled me out of my chair." I asked him to show me what he was talking about.... Apparently his love for Noa sucked him right out of obedience and over the seat! #Understandable #FullPardon #ThatsThePowerOfLove#BestBigBrother #BroMagnet
Joining us on a date. There is no third wheel on this perfectly-oiled tricycle!
Barring advancements in time travel, you can find me from here on firmly in the moment with this baby and our bigger babies too. If the door is closing forever, Imma get as much emotional baggage through it as I can first!
elbow patch PJs? ALL DAY YES
UPDATED ONE HOUR AFTER POSTING: I got home and saw a chance to grab a pic of something I wrote about above that didn't have photo evidence:
Awwww the hand gnawing!
I went to scoop and cuddle her up and felt something strange.
Awwww she provided a photo op for another topic I wrote about! Thanks, Noa-pie.
Those sheets had been clean and on the bed for 30 minutes when this occurred.
Ask me if I plan to change them again.