I think we’ve reached the point where the novelty/weirdness of Having A Baby has worn off. Instead of a photo of a happy couple with an addition thumbtacked on, we are now a functional unit of three. (Perhaps “functional” is an exaggeration. We’re still working on the whole going-out-with-Natalie thing. But progress is progress.)
It may be Mommyvision, but I’m convinced that Natalie knows who we are; that she smiles and gurgles not only independently, but in response to us; and that she’s *this close* to gaining control of her wildly flailing hands. Once she does, we suspect that she will firmly and permanently reject the pacifier, of which she is no great fan in any event. I’m just excited to see how thrilled she’ll be, once she can stuff her hand into her mouth deliberately and keep it there.
Her hair is lightening. Her ears stick out comically. Her eyes are wide and alert, and she’s grown a set of brilliant dark eyelashes that are practically as long as mine. Developmentally, she’s on track. Physically, she’s still undersized. There are competing schools of thought on how to address this: the breastfeeding-is-enough school, which says that she’s doing fine with whatever she’s getting and would let us know if she weren’t, and the just-give-her-a-bottle-already school, which says that she’s not growing fast enough and we’re doing her a caloric disservice by restricting her to the paltry output of my underperforming mammaries.
I’m torn between the two. I’m still pumping and nursing her, but we have not yet achieved victory in The Campaign. Although she does a splendid job nursing at night, she still doesn’t always get it during the day, and my pumping output is more discouraging than not. My one prolific morning last week was apparently an odd outlier. Now we’re back to routine ~10ml-per-side sessions, with no more upward movement. This meant that, last night, when Natalie worked herself up from hungry fussing into a total hunger tantrum, we finally resigned ourselves to supplementing. And the world did not end when she took a bottle full of a foodstuff that I did not produce. (Although I did die a little when I saw those almost-dexterous hands fasten onto that bottle like a drowning man to a liferaft.)
Natalie’s two-month pediatrician appointment is this Friday, and I can’t say I’m looking forward to it. She shows no signs of being anything other than in perfect health — not so much as a spot of diaper rash — but she’s going to weigh in at a lower percentile than last month, I’m sure of it, and this makes me nervous. I can’t stand the thought of my baby in decline, this happy smiling cuddly baby who has brought us such consistent delight.
At one point this past month, while I was clipping her pacifier-on-a-tether onto her pajamas, I accidentally pinched her shoulder in the clip. Natalie yelped in surprise and started to cry. I instantly burst into tears at the thought of hurting her, and for the next ten minutes she and I bawled together, each of us picking up steam when the other would pause for breath. I love this baby so hard that I can physically feel it, the tug and tightness of being her mother. And while a week of torture at the pump has yet to show real results, maybe two or three or four weeks will. I’ll do whatever she needs me to do. And maybe by next month she’ll outgrow that newborn-sized Nats onesie.