Wednesday, September 30, 2009

On the eve of Jack's first birthday

the last quiet moment for many months

Tonight I was rocking Jack to sleep, singing a very bad version of "The Second Star to the Right," and as he drifted off, I thought back on this past year.

One year ago tomorrow Jack screamed his way into existence. It was my first c-section, due to placenta previa, and Jack was not happy about being displaced so abruptly from his nice, cozy home. He hollered his head off for a good twenty minutes straight, pooped on the doctor's shoes, whizzed on the nurse, and pooped again on a different nurse. Can you blame him? Anyway, that was my first clue that this was a feisty boy.

Jack was not an easy baby. The first six months seriously almost killed me. You have to understand that coupled with his temperment was the fact that I was jumping back into the baby saddle after a five year break. During my pregnancy I had all under control, I even said to Gary, "This baby is not going to change my life, I can just do everything I do and tote him along." I will pause here for a minute while you finish laughing at me.

Two months later he was waking up every two hours, and screaming for 45 minutes each time. Nothing I could do would appease him. I nursed him, rocked, walked, tried a swing, white noise, binkys, begging, pleading, etc, and nothing seemed to help. He was not an easy baby to feel close to. He did not seem to take comfort in me. He did not snuggle, he would not sleep next to me, he did not even put his head on my shoulder once until he was ten months old. He would always hold his body away from mine. I wondered if I had failed somewhere. I didn't feel like he loved me, I felt like a means to an end. I wondered if it was those few Dr. Peppers I drank when I was pregant. Seriously, I remember Sundays when I spent the morning walking along the sidewalks with tears running down my face as he screamed, with head back and arms flailing. He could not sleep unless he was at home, so an hour into church and into his usual naptime, and he was done.
His Blessing Day
Any outing was miserable. At Christmas I tried to do some shopping for my kids, so I ventured to Target with Jack. Let's just say that after twenty minutes of trying everything to keep him from screaming (including nursing in the dressing room and buying three different kinds of binkys to see if that would help), and getting tired of all the dagger stares, I left my cart in the middle of the store, and walked out. If you saw pictures of me from this was kind of like death after six years warmed over. You have no idea how many pictures I have of him screaming.

yes, he is screaming his bloody head off
By three months he would sleep for a few hours if he was completely swaddled, his "ocean" white noise was on, and he was in his swing on the highest setting. Don't ask. It worked.

But time goes by as it always does, and finally, at six months there seemed to be a break in the clouds. He became a happier boy. He began to be able to soothe himself. He smiled and interacted more, he only woke up twice in the night. He didn't scream as much. This is when I began to rock him. As I wrote earlier, he wasn't a super snuggly kid, but I noticed that when I rocked him, he would rest his head against my chest and kind of conform to me. And this is why I began to rock him every night. It was our one time to physically bond and feel close. We both began to need this time.

At ten months he became fun. He crawled all over, smiled when I entered the room, lost some crankiness, and began to really interact with me and show more affection. He loved to explore all over the house, he loved to play "chase," and peek-a-boo, and every night, we still rocked.

Today, on his last day of being my infant, we had a wonderful day. We ran errands together, he would say his version of "hiiiiiiiiiii" whenever I opened the door to get him out of his chair. He laughs hard at things that crack him up, claps, kisses, gets excited when he sees Daddy or his sisters come home, downs food, smiles and seems to enjoy life. He's a good sleeper who loves to sleep in his own bed. This afternoon he gave me a really gross kiss after I shared my apple with him, and laughed when I screamed after he bit me on the shoulder. I think we've grown on each other. He's still not super snuggly, but I have learned to adore him for who he is.

When I rocked him tonight he curled up against me, wrapping his arms around mine. For Jack, this is as snuggly as he gets. And I cherish it. We made it through this very rough but wonderful year.

Tonight I stayed up late to make THE BEST LASAGNE EVER for his birthday dinner tomorrow night. Tomorrow I will make a chocolate cake. And we will celebrate this big milestone in both of our lives. We made it.

The pictures say it all.


  1. You are such a good momma! Happy Birthday Jack! And congratulations, you made it, Amy!

  2. What a kid! I hope you guys have lots of fun celebrating Jack's first birthday. Post lots of pictures of the party for us.

  3. Oh, Amy, what a year! I was showing Carter your blog and he said, "Hey, the baby that knocked his mom's contact out with pizza crust!" I guess that 'bout says it all. Happy Birthday, Jack!

  4. Oh my gosh, I totally forgot about the pizza crust!!! How funny!

  5. Oh Amy... loved this post. I feel like I watched this transformation and I hope we helped in a small bit. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEET little buddy - here he was having a fantastic first birthday and I had to be sleeping away in the hospital. I wish I had been there helping you both to celebrate such a wonderful milestone! CONGRATS!!! What a wonderful inspiring post Ame! xoxo


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