You’re going to miss this- I don’t know if it is because he has been here for nearly 4 months now, or the fact that I care for him everyday, but somehow I keep forgetting that in terms of my son’s development, he is just barely 2 months old. I keep expecting to see some big gains every morning. I want to see him hold his head up completely on his own, reach for things, interact with toys, and try to roll and move. I guess what I really want is to know that what I am doing for him and how I am trying to do it is working. But like a good friend pointed out, I have more time with him as a newborn than most, so I must be patient in these hard, possible unrewarding times. People say “hold on to these moments” and “you’re going to miss this one day” all the time. “Treasure your time with him.” I’m not saying I don’t, but I definitely realized today I am seeking some sort of verification from my son, in terms of his development, that I am doing ok as a mom. And that is just crazy. I clean his toosh, feed him the boob, cuddle him, and yes make him do tummy time and work on his head control daily, so what else can I do with a 2 month old? Ok, there are more things that can be done, but he is asleep so much still. So I end up spending a lot of days working from home or watching another episode of the Gilmore Girls because he is sleeping in my arms and I can’t put him down or stop moving or he’ll scream. And every day I spend doing “nothing”, the closer and closer I get to feeling depressed. The days that I do not spend time connecting with someone, anyone really, are the days I start to doubt my skills as a parent.
This makes sense I guess. I mean, if you have read my past blogs, I have talked about this before. I know what helps make a good day. Shower. Go for a walk. Try to get to the gym. See friends. Interact with people. Socialize. See beyond your walls. When in said walls, read, or do something productive. Most of us know all of these things that can make our days better, yet some days we just feel awful anyway. We can blame it on the rain, the weather in general and say it’s “sleeping in” weather and that we just want to be in PJs and watch movies all day. Then we do it, and we feel awful. We, encompassing all you Type A people out there. To feel accomplished we need to do something. It can be anything. I guess as Admiral William H McRaven puts it, if I want to change the world, I should start by making my bed. He says that if we have discipline to make our beds every day, then at least if the rest of the day is horrible, we can feel good coming home to a nicely made bed and know that we had the discipline to start our day off right. I love his talk. My husband says the book is wonderful. I love books actually too. I’ve been dying to read lots of books to my son.
We actually read to Bekytt a lot in the early days. In the NICU, he rarely cried. He was a model NICU baby and came home the same way. He’d wake up to eat, be changed, and fall asleep slowly in our arms never fussing. We read to him after nearly every feeding. I loved it. Especially when my husband read the Way of the Warrior Kid to him. But somehow over the past month or so every time I read, Bekytt starts crying. Screaming rather. Maybe it’s a timing issue or maybe it’s my reading (especially since when my husband pulled out that book again the other night Bekytt was incredibly silent), but I miss reading to him. Reading is something I know is good for him. Along with talking to him, singing to him, holding and loving him. I know what my husband and I are doing for him right now is what he needs. Most of us parents are able to do what our kids need, but why do we always feel it isn’t enough?
We are taking him to the cardiologist again tomorrow for a repeat echo and I am nervous about it. Even though there is nothing I could have done or not done to help his physical heart, I know if things aren’t better I will still wonder if there was. Now don’t get all worried about me or anything (ok maybe send positive vibes Bekytt’s way), but I am going to handle whatever happens just fine and trust that his medical team will do what is best for him. I just have to admit that of course I am scared. I think it’s like a right of passage as a parent to feel guilty about any and everything we do or don’t do. I can laugh about it most days, but today I want to believe that something I am doing for him is helping him. I want to believe that his development is going to go along perfectly. I have to believe because for the very first time I now understand the parents who told me they believed their child would walk one day, even when I thought it wasn’t medically possible. I am now that parent. I am the parent who believes in miracles. I believe Bekytt’s heart can heal itself without surgery even if one day his doctor tells me otherwise. I believe he can do anything. I believe he is the toughest kid in the world because he is my son, not someone else’s. As parents, we see the capabilities of our children at a deeper level than any provider. We believe all of this while still doubting ourselves. If only I could believe in myself as much as I believe in my son, then I may get off my ass more during the day! If I believed I was doing “enough” for my son, I bet I would do more for myself. Ugh. You’re right mom. I so need to do more for myself so I can do more for him. I can see clearly now the rain has gone. Farmland, I miss you and I must return. This is what I need to do, Bekytt can be my weights or a friend can watch him. No matter what the day brings, I must workout in some way shape or form and not feel guilty that I am taking time away from my son. The days feel long lately, but I know one day I’ll want them back, and I know that if I want to change the world, I must start with making my bed.
–Kathryn Kraft, MPT