Monday, August 3, 2009

And I am back... from maternity leave

Hi. Remember me? I almost feel like I should introduce myself again because it has been so long since I have actually posted here. My name is Stephanie and I now a full-time career mom, wife, and parent of TWO little children, Sophia and Tallen. Let me clear off the cobwebs on my keyboard, blow off the dust on my blog and bring you up to date with what is going on in the Suiresphere.

Tallen was born on May 24th so now he is just over two months old now. The last pictures I posted (in the slideshow) were taken when he was two weeks old and he weighed around 6 ½ pounds. He was long and thin when he was born, but check him out NOW…

He weighs over 11 pounds with his chubby cheeks, round little legs, and plump little arms.

The first two weeks after he was born were tiring, but fairly quiet. I was up every 2-3 hours to feed Tallen but he mostly slept between his feedings during the day and night. However, when he was about 2 ½ weeks old the screaming began… Trey described it best when he said that 95% of the time that Tallen was awake, he was screaming and crying. Nothing would soothe him and he would cry for hours at a time (up to about 7 hours a day). It was emotionally and physically exhausting for both of us to take care of him. I took Tallen to the doctor more than once and she prescribed some medicine for reflux and said he also probably had colic (for which there is no magic cure). Basically we had to endure the crying and hope that he would grow out of it in a few weeks, or a few months.

I remember holding Tallen and pacing in his room while trying to comfort his cries and repeatedly looking at the clock to see how long he had been screaming. Fifteen to twenty minutes would pass and it would feel like hours. Even when I managed to calm him down so he could fall asleep, he would wake up screaming again within five to ten minutes. This was a normal pattern each evening from about 8 PM to midnight for several weeks. I was frustrated, exhausted, and not really enjoying my “bonding” experience with my baby. Trey would usually take over late in the evenings (after he had given Sophia a bath and put her to bed) and let me rest for a few hours before I had to get up and nurse him again. I learned that some days, my goal was to just get by… to survive hour by hour until he was able to sleep again.

One day when Tallen was about 5-6 weeks old, I had just finished nursing him and put him on my shoulder to burp. As I turned my head to look at him, he locked eyes with mine and the corners of his mouth started to turn up. His little eyes were shining as he gave me his first, real smile. All of the frustration, anxiety and anger of the past few weeks just vanished as I started to laugh through my tears. The first few weeks of parenthood are a testament to the instinctive power of unconditional love that God weaves into the heart of a mother.

Now that Tallen is 10 weeks old, thing have improved enormously. The hours of screaming have been replaced by hours of awareness and discovery. He will lie on his play mat and smile at the toys that play music above him. If I talk to him, his eyes and mouth show his delight. He studies my face and concentrates on the movements my mouth makes. He tries to make sounds so that he can “talk” back to me. He stares at Sophia when she is playing next to him on the floor of the living room. He moves his mouth and kicks his legs in anticipation when it is time to nurse. In the past week or two he has found his hand and likes to suck on his thumb. He and I also survived his first week of daycare when I started back to work last week.

Sophia is also adjusting well to her new role as big sister. The day after Tallen was born, she walked into the hospital and demanded to see her baby brother. She excitedly sat on Trey’s lap so that she could hold him, kiss him, and touch his face over and over. (She even looked up at me and asked if I wanted to “pet” her baby brother). After we brought Tallen home from the hospital, her excitement did not fade. For the first few weeks she loved to hold him but now she seems content to just give him kisses. If he fusses, she brings me a pacifier or covers him with a blanket. She pats him and tells him in a high pitched voice, “It’s Ok brother. I’m your big sister. I can take care of you”.

There has been a definite shift of parental responsibilities around the house. Trey is now in charge of taking care of Sophia while I am busy with Tallen. He makes her breakfast, gets her dressed, takes her to the pool, pushes her on the swings, gives her a bath, and puts her to bed. I do make an effort to spend time with her too but she has naturally drifted to Trey to fulfill her needs. Surprisingly, I have not seen the jealously from Sophia that I expected to surface.

This past weekend, we celebrated Sophia’s third birthday. I took a minute to look at my beautiful daughter Saturday night as I was putting her to bed (a rare occurrence in the past few months). I held her on my lap and was amazed at how much she has grown. She still surprises me with her intelligence, her vocabulary, her appetite, her imagination, her personality, her innocence… Yesterday, as we were all in the car driving home from dinner, Sophia asked me a question.

“Mommy, will you teach me to fly so that I can touch the birdies in the sky?”

I choose to believe that this is just another way that Sophia lets me know that she believes her mommy would do anything for her… a true sign of my unconditional love.

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