When Zoe was born, I took pride in her numbers. 39+5, 97th percentile head, able to sleep 4-5 hours at a stretch. She was growing wonderfully, gaining well, and really easy to take care of. Over and over my parents and in-laws commented on what a good baby she was, and it made me feel both grateful and proud.
As the weeks have gone by, she’s gotten less and less superlative, especially in the ways that affect my life the most. She cries a lot now, is not easy to take care of, sleeps less than she did at 6 weeks. The most remarkable number at the moment is also the one bleeding me of my time and emotional reserves: the length of her nursing strike, currently on day 17. With the exception of two days when she got better randomly and then regressed again, it seems that over time her refusal to nurse is just getting worse.
Part of me misses the younger, easier to care for version of her because it would make my life less tiring, but part of me also misses that sense of pride I used to feel. Now I feel a sense of disappointment and sadness that I have a fussy child, a difficult child, a child that family and caretakers alike will struggle with for who knows how long.
Honestly, I struggle to love her as I did in the beginning. Looking at photos of her from before make me sad, and contemplating a future of exclusively pumping for a year makes me feel even more dejected.
But there are things for which I’m grateful. A big one is that so many of my friends and family have been praying for me. Even though her nursing strike wasn’t better today, I felt better–less beaten down, less stressed and drained, less anxious. What I miss from not having a “good baby” has shown me what a good husband I have, who has supported us so so well even as he himself is exhausted from his job.
I’m looking for humor in the random superlatives she does have, like her spit. Seriously, how is this many bubbles even possible without falling apart?
And in addition to that superlative spit, she also has superlative spit- up at times.
And of course, I’m still amazed at how much “talking” she does, and how earnestly, at such a young age. Bill and I joke that once she gets some words we’ll never be able to shut her up, but I really can’t wait to be able to understand what she’s trying to say.
Anyway, hanging in there, and trying to learn what I can about unconditional love through this experience, even if–especially if–she’s no longer superlative.