James is just over four months old. The past nineteen weeks have been both a blur and an eternity. While some days are hard (for instance, Tuesday, when he barely napped), this is one of those rare times in life when I’m able to recognize, right in the thick of it, that these are the “good old days,” the ones I’ll look back on when I’m old and remember with aching fondness. I remind myself of this often. Yet despite trying to appreciate each day, I’m already finding it hard to remember the details of the early days…back when James was “little,” ha. I’m hoping that periodically recording a “day in the life,” just a normal, mundane day, will help me remember once the fog of sleeplessness has lifted and these sweet days have slipped away.
As is currently typical for him, James woke up once in the middle of the night (2:40 AM) and once in the early morning (5:07 AM). I always get up after this early morning wakeup while he sleeps a little longer. Thankfully, this has shifted from the four o’clock hour to the five o’clock hour recently. I find I have a much better day if I have a little time to myself (and a lot of coffee), before being “Mom”. I ate breakfast and watched an episode of the West Wing – it was a good one.
He continued dozing and quietly entertaining himself for quite a while, so I completed this 40 minute strength workout before going to get him. He was still calmly playing when I went in, but was clearly wide awake at this point. Going in to get him in the morning is one of my favorite things. He always looks at me blankly for a couple of seconds before registering that it’s me and giving me a big smile. I pick him up and cuddle with him for a few minutes in the glider. He is such a busy baby, always on the move, and doesn’t like to be held for long unless he’s just woken up, or is getting sleepy, so I cherish these times. I changed his diaper, got him dressed, and he played for a little while in front of his mirror, looking at himself and his mobile, and practicing rolling, while I straightened up his room.
We then went in to have cuddle time with his Dad before he went to work – another one of my favorite parts of the day. We do this most mornings and it is so nice to have some time all together before the day gets going. Before too long, the little guy was getting restless, so I fed him, changed his diaper again, and he had some more play time in front of the mirror (this time with his crocheted rattle), before going down for his first nap at 8:45. He fell asleep independently (something he’s been working on) within five minutes.
While he napped, I unloaded the dishwasher, showered, and got dressed for the day. His naps have been a bit unpredictable since he started rolling. He always wakes up after thirty-five minutes, but sometimes goes back to sleep for two hours or so. Once it was clear he had fallen back asleep, I made another cup of coffee (obsessed with the Nespresso I got for Christmas) and got to work on this post.
At 10:15, I turned off the white noise app that helps James sleep. I don’t usually do this, but I wanted to take him to story time at the library later, and knew if he kept sleeping, he’d be ready for his next nap right when it was time to leave. He woke up within a couple of minutes and I went and snuggled with him and fed him.
After feeding him and changing his diaper, we went for a walk. We normally do this in the afternoon, but it was ridiculously nice and sunny out. When we got home, James had some play time. We usually move to a new room in the house for each different play time, just to mix up the environment a bit. This time, he was in front of a window in my room. I like to give him a chance to play independently at the start of each play time. I set him up in front of a mirror or window and put one or two toys, or a book propped open to look at, nearby. He looks out the window, practices rolling, tries desperately to crawl, and reaches for the toys. I either sit by him while he does this or do some type of house work in the same room. He eventually asks for attention, or gets frustrated by his crawling attempts, and then we play together. I sing him songs, which he loves lately, read him books, help him grab a toy, or talk to him about what we see out the window. After singing lots of songs, he eventually got sleepy eyes, and went down for another nap at around 12:30. He needed a little help falling asleep this time, so I rubbed his back, avoiding eye contact so as not to stimulate him. His afternoon naps are usually short (35 minutes…on the dot), so this timing worked out perfectly for making it to story time at the library…woohoo! While he slept, I made a smoothie and got everything ready to go.
He woke up just in time and we went to a nearby library that has a story time for babies under one year old. They sing songs and read a short book and then the librarian puts out toys and blows bubbles. James sits in my lap, stunned, looking around at the other babies (“I’m not the only one!” I imagine him thinking.) I go mostly for selfish reasons, to get a chance to talk to other moms, but I do think he gets something out of seeing other babies sit and crawl and walk. He fell asleep in the car on the way home…and I drove around for thirty minutes to let him get a decent nap. He used to keep sleeping if I brought him in from the car, but this is no longer the case. The day before, he fell asleep for five minutes and was utterly convinced that counted as his nap. I was listening to an audio book (The Happiness Project, one of my favorites) so I did not mind the extra time in the car.
When we got home, I fed him and changed his diaper again and then we had some more play time. Nick got home a little while later and joined us. James started getting a little grumpy, so we started bath time, which always cheers him up. I then fed him and Nick did the bedtime routine, which we take turns with. For bedtime, we give him a massage with lavender lotion, read him a book, sing him a song, and place him in his bed. Sometimes he goes to sleep on his own and sometimes he cries, in which case one of us stays with him and pats his back / rubs his tummy until he is calm or asleep.
It was a completely ordinary, extraordinary day.