It happened. I blinked my eyes and suddenly my tiny newborn isn’t tiny or a newborn anymore.
Lucy is four months old now. Multiple friends have had babies in the meantime, and they have taken over the newborn title. Lucy is rolling over, babbling, grasping objects with both hands, laughing out loud, holding her head up strong, and looking into our eyes with what everyone notes is an intense gaze.
And, most recently, on Saturday Lucy moved into her own room to sleep at night. I totally felt like the last holdout in this regard, at least in my Mommy & Me class. The other three women had moved their kids to their respective nurseries long ago, leaving me to mutter about how I was “getting to it…” We had started putting Lucy in her crib for naps a few weeks ago, and had started putting her to bed in the bassinet in our room a couple of hours before we went to sleep, but I just wasn’t there yet. Though she’s certainly not a newborn anymore, when I hold her and look into her eyes she is so young and so vulnerable. It was comforting to know that if I woke up and wanted to check on her, all I needed to do was peer down the end of the bed and make sure she was OK. (Speaking of that, I read an article the other day about how new moms demonstrate signs of OCD, such as repeatedly checking that the baby is breathing. Um, yeah!)
So I surprised Hubs and myself when I was the one who suggested last week that we should finally make the move. The bassinet Lucy has been using in our room is a mini version, and at 26 inches long and the 96th percentile for height, Lucy is definitely not mini. She is also a Houdini and, once she inevitably escapes her double-swaddle (which we need to stop using right about now — shudder), her fingernails would scratch against the mesh sides. Plus I suspected that Hubs and I were also potentially disrupting her sleep with our noises. (At least one of us snores. Out of respect to Hubs — ahem — I won’t mention which one…)
Hubs was actually hesitant about making the move (with the same “but she’s still so little!” rationale) but he was easily convinced. I, on the other hand, continued to waffle. I postponed making the move until the weekend, and then once Saturday night rolled around, I was still hedging: “But I really do love having her in the room with us…” Finally I decided we just needed to try it. She was going to outgrow the bassinet sooner rather than later, so either she was going to be sleeping in her crib or else we would have to figure something else out. We had a ginormous Pack n Play that wound up in the living room because I didn’t realize when I bought it that it would obstruct the path through our bedroom, but moving that to our bedroom and forcing us to squeeze through every time we needed to get in and out of bed was not appealing.
As seems to be the case with most things, Lucy handled this whole thing much less neurotically than me. We did the bedtime routine like normal, except instead of putting her into the bassinet, we put her into the crib. She barely fussed, and then she had the best night’s sleep she’d had in days: 7:30 pm to 6:00 am. Hubs also slept better since we weren’t having to listen so loudly to her every whimper and coo, not to mention her sounds when she flops around like a fish. (I still can’t make it through a night without waking up multiple times, and I’m still getting up in the middle of the night to pump, so my sleep is another issue. Baby steps!)
Also as seems to be the case with most things, this step is simultaneously wonderful and heartbreaking. Of course we are so blessed that she’s growing and thriving, which is as it should be. This is the first little step towards her being more independent, which is also as it should be. But it’s the official end of the era of her sharing our room. The era of her sleeping on our laps has also mostly ended, sooner than I would have liked. I know that she is only four months old, and so I should really rein in the thoughts of “Ohmygod, before I know it she’ll be in preschool and then she’ll be dating boys and driving and going off to college and ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod….” And admittedly there are some days where my constant exhaustion gets to me, or the fact that I hardly ever wear makeup anymore, or the fact that by the end of the day my shirt almost always has spit-up on it. In those moments I think I might be OK fastforwarding to a time when Lucy is more independent and I have more time for me.
But then I realize that like it or not, the days are whizzing by. In a month and a half I’ll be back at work, and these days spent with Lucy will begin to fade from memory. When I think about that, it seems impossible to let this phase go, and I want nothing more than to press pause.